at home in borneo’s jungle

butterfly jungle borneoWith its collection of exotic animals, ancient traditions, hot springs, tribal villages, loveable orangutans and incredible views, Borneo has something for everyone. There are also many hidden gems and on Intrepid’s Sabah Adventure we include a special Malay village visit that is a win-win experience for our groups as well as the locals…

Mescot is a locally run organization that works with the local communities in the Kinabatangan River area on a number of sustainable tourism projects. Their main aim is to educate the local community about the value of their environment and culture and help them to realize that the jungle is truly a valuable resource worth protecting. They do this by involving the local community in tourism-based activities and projects as a means to earn a regular income and instill a sense of pride in their surroundings.

In the past, illegal logging in the area was a major practice and source of income for the local community. Intrepid’s regular support over the years bringing tourists to the Kinabatangan River area has no doubt helped to increase the feeling of protectiveness and pride towards the local community’s environment.

Main activities/training that involve Intrepid groups:
* Tourist guides for activities such as jungle trekking and camping, wildlife spotting (knowledge of local wildlife, bird life, and medicinal plants).
* Boat drivers for river cruises
* Culture performances (traditional dance and music)
* Cooking lessons
* Homestay

Mescot’s Homestay Project
Through hosting travellers in their homes the local people have an opportunity to earn a side income as well as a valuable cultural exchange for the local and the visitor. It’s a unique opportunity for the Intrepid traveller to see and experience the local culture and way of life, plus a great opportunity for local interaction.

Mescot’s Reforestation Project
The Sabah Forestry Department has allowed Mescot a portion of land along the Kinabatangan River which was previously cleared by loggers. On this land, Mescot have an ongoing reforestation project. Mescot are replanting seedlings of various species of trees found in this area of the Kinabatangan River – especially important to the wildlife of the area, such as the ficus tree, the fruit of which is especially liked by the wild orangutan.

Lake Restoration
There is an introduced weed called Salvinia that spreads rapidly and chokes up the waterways. Mescot have an ongoing project to clear this weed from the waterways to sustain the life of animals, fish and other plants.

Intrepid Travel’s involvement with Mescot is indicative of our responsible travel philosophy that applies to all of our trips. We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please refer to our website at for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

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* photo by Johannah Aldred – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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We absolutely loved Borneo – the people, the scenery, the homestays and the wonderful work of Mescot- highly recommend it – best trip we’ve done.

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