Deramakot Forest Reserve is rich in wildlife with 75% of Sabah’s mammal species found within its 55,507 hectares of mixed dipterocarp forest. Wildlife found at the reserve includes iconic species such as orangutan, pygmy elephants, Banteng (wild cattle), proboscis monkeys and clouded leopards. With such rich wildlife it may a come as a surprise to note that Deramakot is logging concession. However, Deramakot is one of Sabah Forestry’s Department’s flagship projects where ‘reduced impact logging’ is practiced. This forest reserve is also the longest Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified tropical forest in the world, having been first certified in 1997. 49,711 hectares are set aside for logging with 5,778 hectares for conservation and 18 hectares for community forests.
Deramakot is one of Sabah’s best wildlife watching destinations. It is particularly good for seeing the various cats of Borneo. All five species of Bornean cats – Sunda Clouded Leopard, Marbled Cat, Bornean Bay Cat, Flat Headed Cat and Leopard Cat – are found in Deramakot.
A combination of trekking and ‘spot lighting’ in 4×4 vehicles offers the best opportunities to see a range of wildlife. The 4WD night safari is the real highlight of a trip to Deramakot. On a typical night safari visitors might spot sambar deer, mouse deer, Thomas’ flying squirrel, red giant flying squirrels, leopard cats, various species of civet cat, pygmy elephants, slow loris, owls and other birdlife. Each night drive is different. You are almost guaranteed to see some species of wildlife (e.g. leopard cats). On some night drives very special guests turn up; including clouded leopard, marbled cat, stink badger and otter civet but you need a bit of luck to see these rare animals. During the day it is quite common to see orangutan, elephants, long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques, gibbons, hornbills and more.
Deramakot Forest Reserve is located 240 km from Kota Kinabalu and 190 km from Sandakan. The Reserve is only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles. Considering its relatively isolated location, the accommodation at Deramakot is pretty good. At the HQ area there are park-style chalets each with three guest rooms and a living room. Rooms have fan and air-con and sheets, blankets, pillows and a towel are provided. Each room has an attached bathroom with a hot shower. There are also hostel rooms with 4 beds per room. Each hostel room has an attached bathroom.
Deramakot appeals to adventurous travellers with a love of nature and wildlife. It offers unique wildlife watching experiences and is one of the best places in Borneo to go on a night safari.