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16

THE CALL OF THE JUNGLE

After four days of splendour, we long for the purity of the jungle. For this we fly to

East Malaysia with Royal Brunei Air. For our jungle experience we could perfectly well

have stayed in Brunei. Two-thirds of that, after all, consists of tropical rainforest.

Completely untouched as well, because Brunei does not have to fell trees to make

money. But just because of that, the jungle of Brunei is virtually inaccessible and

- however ironic - it is more appropriate to cross the border to Malaysian Borneo.

Tourism plays a limited role here and the facilities for trips in the jungle - read: hiking

trails and accommodation options - are better. We fly to Sandakan, an excellent start-

ing point for adventures in the wilderness.

THE PRIDE OF THE BORNEAN JUNGLE

Of course, we are keen to see the orangutan - the pride of the jungle - as quickly as

possible. Although there is nothing better than a meeting in the wild, the animals

are shy and do not show themselves often, so we err on the side of caution and first

visit the famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. Here wounded, displaced or orphaned

orangutans are taken care of and prepared for their return to the jungle. We are there

just before dinner time and can hear their arrival from the noise in the trees. Red-

brown tufts of fur on long, supple arms move in an agile way through the branches.

The animals are beautiful. They eagerly gobble up the fruit and the nuts that have