Borneo Community & Island Conservation
– Duration: 1 month –
Experience true island living on this 1 month programme as you become immersed in the rich culture and stunning natural landscapes of this beautiful part of Borneo.
Spend your time living in the heart of two unique communities as you help to support them through sustainable project initiatives that improve local infrastructure and help protect the local environment. Soak up the laid back way of life in your traditional longhouse home and kayak and snorkel in the surrounding clear blue waters.
You’ll truly become part of the community during your time in Borneo and you’ll be inspired by the warmth of the people you meet.
This programme is designed to impact the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:
The impact that you'll make
Developing Community Ammenities & Marine Conservation (Mantanani)
The community of Mantanani is now struggling with sudden influx of foreign tourists and development that comes with it. Like most coastal villages, Mantanani faces challenges in trash accumulating on the beaches, threatening the marine life and environment. You’ll help through beach clean-ups and sustainable waste management solutions alongside an NGO, as well as working to improve buildings in the village using up-cycled materials. We are also helping the school to build a block to accommodate 2 classrooms and a row of stalls in front of the school to encourage entrepreneurship.
Community Infrastructure Improvements & Food Security (Bongkud)
Bongkud village has been established for over 90 years and its population is rapidly increasing. Projects here help to improve community facilities and include building a youth centre, improving the drainage system to ensure cleaner and healthier living and establishing a community farming programme that will re-introduce native trees, improving the air temperature and water quality in the area.
For those who love white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and their own remote tropical island (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), Mantanani might just be the perfect location.
The island lies about 80km north of Kota Kinabalu and is home to around 800 permanent residents. The surrounding coral reef and lagoon are home to juvenile turtles, rays, a variety of tropical fish and even the occasional dolphin passes by.
The camp itself is set right on the beach a little way from the main village where many of our community projects are based, allowing you to feel part of this amazing community for the time that you’re here.
Location: 80 km north of Kota Kinabalu. (around 1.5 hrs drive from KK to Kuala Abai Jetty, then 1 hr boat ride to Mantanani Island)
Accommodation style: Beautiful open sided driftwood bunk houses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Asian style toilets, cold water showers & sinks
Power: Generator (between 18:00 – 06:00). British 3 pin power sockets
Social area: Beach, campfire, volleyball courts
Signature dish: Stewed beef in soy sauce & pumpkin in coconut milk
Set in the shadows of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, Camp Bongkud is surrounded on all sides by lush picturesque scenery. It’s hillside location gives it a pleasant breezy climate which makes it the ideal hillside retreat after a hard day’s project work.
Being in the heart of the village also has its advantages; all your project sites are only a short walk away and you can challenge the locals to a friendly game of volleyball on the community court during your downtime.
Location: 140 km (3-4 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 30 km from Kudat
Accommodation style: Traditional longhouses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Flushing toilets, cold water showers & sinks
Power: Mains electricity backed up by generator (between 18:00 – 22:00). British 3 pin power sockets
Social area: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games
Signature dish: Banana fritters & steamed banana cake
Day to Day
Welcome to Borneo
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu, where you will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Borneo team and transferred to your accommodation in the city. Here you will meet our Country Manager who will run an arrival briefing for you and your group before your welcome dinner.
Environmental work with PACOS Trust
Today will be spent with PACOS Trust, a local community-based organisation dedicated to supporting indigenous communities in the Sabah region of Borneo. Here we’ll have a cultural orientation and get involved in some volunteering at the Kivatu Nature Farm, before transferring back to KK for the night.
Welcome to Camp Mantanani
After a much-needed sleep and a good breakfast, you will be transferred to the beautiful island of Mantanani by boat. Meet the Camp Mantanani team, including your Camp Manager, who will give you a tour of the island and a briefing on what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new beach longhouse home.
Marine conservation and community projects
Enjoy waking up in your new island home before we get stuck into a project orientation where we will explain the work you will be getting involved with. Underneath its picture-perfect surface, Mantanani faces challenges with poor waste management and trash accumulating on the beaches, which threatens marine life. The local people also struggle with a lack of funding for community and education facilities. You will be helping to support them on these key issues throughout your time here.
Soak up island living
What better place to spend a relaxing weekend? Kayak, snorkel or sunbathe on the beaches and watch the most amazing sunrise and sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Project work begins
Spend the next few days volunteering alongside the island communities and a local NGO on valuable initiatives such as beach clean ups, sustainable waste management solutions and constructing new buildings for the school.
Chill weekend at the beach
Enjoy some well-earned free time this weekend as you make the most of your amazing surroundings.
Last day at project work
Spend your last day helping the community on the island before your transfer to Kota Kinabalu.
Transfer to KK
Say your goodbyes to the community in the morning then depart by boat back to the mainland and on to the vibrant city of Kota Kinabalu (known locally as KK). You’ll spend a night in a hostel here before we head to our next camp in the morning.
Head to Camp Bongkud
After breakfast, we’ll hit the road and travel to Camp Bongkud, a traditional longhouse camp located just next to the Poring Hot Spring in Ranau. You’ll be greeted by your Camp Manager who will show you around your new home before you settle into your accommodation for the night.
Community project work begins
Today you’ll meet the local community and gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which we are helping to support them. You’ll be helping to improve the infrastructure for the rapidly increasing population here, providing much-needed community facilities.
The weekend is the perfect time to relax and experience some of the beautiful sights that Ranau has to offer.
Continue community projects
Continue working on projects at Bongkud, working alongside the local community to improve facilities in the area.
Explore more of the incredible Sabah region on your final few days in Borneo. Take a trip to Ranau town, visit Kundasang War Memorial to learn more about the local history and experience the tree top canopy walk at Poring Hot Springs.
Say goodbye to the community at Bongkud before we head to the airport in time for your flight home.
Top up your trip
If you’d like to add in some extra adventure, we offer the opportunity to book some exciting add-ons which can be included within your trip duration or added on to the start or end of your journey. Speak to our team to find out more about how to add these awesome adventures to your programme.
Tropical PADI Scuba
If you’re interested in exploring life under the water and gaining your PADI dive qualification, why not consider adding one of our diving add-ons to your programme? Run through our awesome dive partners at PADI...Find Out More
Trek Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu (or Mt K as the locals call it) stands at an impressive 4096 metres above sea level and is the highest point in South East Asia. The views from the summit are utterly...Find Out More
Don’t forget… flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations. Please note, you must be over 18 years old at time of departure.