First of all if you are looking at this thinking about venturing into the wilderness there are a few things you need to note
One is uncle tans is not a luxury resort but instead offers a great real experience at excellent rates.
Saying that the accommodation is fine, open huts, good food, mosquito nets but if you don't follow there advise on food you will get jungle rates and there are bound to be snakes close by or in the camp (appreciate this is not everyone's wish)
Second is you are not guaranteed to see anything - wildlife is wild and the beauty of it is is that it's unpredictable, if you can tell yourself this before you go it will help you cherish any sightings you see more so when they occur. If you want close up encounters with bored pets then go to the zoo, but if the thought of seeing just a glowing orange reflection of a crocodiles eye in the midnight river sends your heart racing with excitement then this is for you.
(I had prepared myself this way and to be honest there were still times, such as the night jungle track and the final days desperate but unsuccessful search for orangutang, you will still feel a touch disappointed, but all the other experiences quickly help you appreciate where you are again)
Finally the location gives you a stark reminder of the battle these animals face in order to fight against extinction. The river bank is around 25m deep in habitable environment, at times only two to three trees deep, and the sight of Palm oil farms are clearly visible everywhere you turn. The unintended consequence of this is that the river itself is therefore a great (but also quite sad) place from which to view the animals.
The guides were great, passionate about what they did and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and I wish them well for the future and there influence in helping wildlife in the region. Not all of them spoke great English which was a problem when our guide Akin didn't join us for one trip and the replacement could not answer our questions on the boat
Ways to make the experience better I'd say
1) more information at the briefing, or indeed a mini brief, before each outing to refresh what animals we might see and under what circumstance we might find them (ie what type of trees orangutans nest in verses other monkeys).
Would really help to know if should be looking up at the trees trying to spot monkeys or down in the water for crocs. I guess the guides know a lot better and you are reliant mainly on their expertise, but in the night excursions in particular it would make you feel a lot more involved (even if you more than likely fail to spot anything on your own!)
2) quieter engines - was clear the animals were scared off by the load boats
3) longer time out on the boat maybe an earlier start before sunrise if can position early to see those animals who rise early
For those thinking of going would advise
-take plenty of mosquito repellant (better with deet but they don't sell in Malaysia so bring from home if possible)
- use the mosquito coils around the dinner room and bunks also
- take long breathable clothing, you will quickly want socks not flip flops and trousers not shorts as you get bitten straight away, our jackets and waterproof pants were far too hot in the night time treks.
- there are no activities in the afternoon as most animals sleep, so take something to do or you can partake in the fishing for 30RM which was quite fun for someone who has never fished before
- Also Known As:
- Uncle Tan Wildlife Camp Hotel Sabah