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If you included Malaysia in your holiday agenda make sure you get to Semenggoh (at about 30 minutes by bus from Kuching). It is a reservation for orangutans and also a rehabilitation centre for the apes. The centre was established in 1975 and is the temporary residence of orangutans rescued from captivity.
The younger animals are trained to live again in the wilderness, but the older ones who could not survive outside the centre are held in the reservation. During the rehabilitation process, orangutans are taken into the forest by wards and are taught to climb trees and forage for food.
As a visitor you may walk through the reservation and observe the behaviour of these Southern Asia’s great apes. You can get to the centre by following the nature trails or one of the 5 plank walks: Jalan Utara, Jalan Selatan (which is the longest – 30 minutes’ walk), Bawah, Menara and Tengah.
Near the Rehabilitation Centre you can explore an Arboretum, which covers 14 hectares and has more than 2,500 tree species. The Botanical Research Centre has a Wild Orchid Garden, Wild Fruit Garden and more.
The best times to visit the rehabilitation centre are either in the morning or in the afternoon, when feeding takes place. It’s the ideal time to observe the apes from a short distance and to take good pictures. Some of the apes will also observe you: they will leave the feeding area to simply look at the visitors.
The hours spent in Semenggoh Nature Reserve will prove to be the experience of your life so if you plan to travel to Malaysia, write Semenggoh down into your calendar and visit the place.