Camp Borneo Community & Marine 1 Month
Arrive by boat on to your paradise island home in the South China Sea, Camp Mantanani. Blue skies, towering palm trees, crystal blue waters and ancient drift wood decorate the white sands. Behind the idyllic surface lies a number of environmental and socio-economic challenges facing this isolated island community. You’ll make a difference to the community that our camp is based alongside, working on projects to combat waste management, inadequate school facilities and overfishing. Help teach conversational English to the local children and arrange games and sports sessions to keep them active and engaged in their education. You’ll have time to relax and soak in island life on Mantanani. Snorkel, kayak, swim and get yourself up early to walk to the tip of the island for the most beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen.
The second two weeks of your programme will be spent back on the mainland at Camp Bongkud, under the watchful eye of mighty Mount Kinabalu. We’re building a kindergarten here, so you’ll be involved in improving the local education infrastructure. The area is rich in culture, history and natural diversity; we’ll take you to visit tea plantations (see where your cuppa started life), and visit the world’s only Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You’ll become part of the community during your month in Borneo, truly immersed in the local culture and inspired by the warmth of the people you meet.
The impact you will make
Developing Community Amenities (Mantanani)
The small isolated community of Mantanani remains one of the poorest in the region with high levels of unemployment. Many families have set up homestay initiatives to generate income for their families. You’ll help by continuing the development of a purpose built office & reception to welcome guests and expand this initiative.
- Digging foundations & laying bricks
- Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
- Installing bathroom facilities for visitor toilets
- Making furniture
Kindergarten Development (Bongkud)
Bongkud village has a small kindergarten that uses a small church building. However, the population of young children in the village is growing fast and the current kindergarten is becoming overcrowded. You’ll help by continuing the development of a purpose built kindergarten, providing a stimulating and safe environment where these young children can learn and play.
- Digging classroom foundations & laying bricks
- Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
- Making classroom furniture
- Creating a play area & landscaping
- Installing water storage tanks & associated piping
What people say
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: 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
Phone Signal: Intermittent
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, pancakes, oats for breakfast; rice, beef stew/fish with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Stewed beef in soy sauce & pumpkin in coconut milk
If you’re feeling brave: Try Sambal Bellman (shrimp paste) or Kuih Tahai
Social: Beach, campfire, snorkelling, kayak, volleyball
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: 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
Phone Signal: Yes
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, pancakes, rice/noodles for breakfast; rice, chicken curry with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Banana fritters & steamed banana cake
If you’re feeling brave: Try Tuhau (wild ginger), Tuntul (river snails) or Butod (sago worm)!
Social: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games
Manager at Camp Bongkud, she might be small, but Eve is a force to be reckoned with. Super organised and tons of fun, she’ll get you addicted to coconut jam and dancing in true Sabahan style.
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.
PACOS Trust Day
Today will be spent with PACOS Trust, a local community-based organisation dedicated towards supporting indigenous communities in Sabah. 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 paradise island of Mantanani by boat. Meet the Camp Mantanani team, including your Camp Manager, who will give you a tour of the island. You will also have an overview of what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new beach style longhouse home.
Project work begins
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 at Mantanani.
What better place to spend a relaxing weekend. Kayak, snorkel, sunbathe, watch the most amazing sunrise and sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Spend the next few days volunteering alongside the island communities. This is your chance to get stuck in to some valuable initiatives such as helping to build community ablutions, teaching basic English to primary age children, working on our marine conservation & awareness programme and running fun activities and sports sessions with the local children.
Spend the whole weekend relaxing at the beach around the island. Watch the sunrise at the tip of the island and watch the amazing sunset view from the beach.
Last day at project work
Spend your last day helping the community at the island before transfer to Kota Kinabalu.
Transfer to KK
Say your goodbyes to the community in the morning then depart by boat back to the main land and on to the vibrant city of Kota Kinabalu (Known locally as KK). You’ll spend a night in a hostel here before transfer to Camp Bongkud.
Welcome to Camp Bongkud
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Camp Bongkud which located just next to the Poring Hot Spring in Ranau. Meet the Camp Bongkud team, including your Camp Manager, who will give you the arrival orientation. You also have an overview of what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your traditional style longhouse home.
Project work begins
Enjoy waking up in your new longhouse home before we get stuck into a project orientation where we will explain the work you will be getting involved with at Camp Bongkud.
The weekend is the perfect time to relax and experience some of the beautiful sights that Ranau has to offer.
Continue working on projects at Bongkud, working alongside the local community to improve facilities in the area.
Explore more of the incredible Sabah region with the visit to Ranau town and experience the tree top canopy walk at Poring Hot Spring also to visit Kundasang War Memorial in Kundasang.
Back to Kota Kinabalu
You’ll be transferred back to Kota Kinabalu for last night farewell dinner with your Camp Borneo team
We’ll say our goodbyes and get you to the airport for your flight.
Top up your trip
Add some extra adventure to your time in Borneo. All of our top ups are bookable through our friendly travel advisers.
Jungle Trek Borneo
Experience a true jungle adventure and get back to nature by spending a few days trekking in the beautiful and ancient rainforests of Borneo, away from civilization. Spend your days trekking through dense forests and...Find Out More
PADI Scuba Borneo
Borneo is surrounded by beautiful beaches, blue tropical ocean and abundant coral reefs, so why not take the opportunity to explore this underwater paradise! Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced diver, there...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.