Another treasure of the Sabah’s East Coast is the Madai Baturong Forest Reserve Nature Centre. This 3,436.5 hectares large area is located about 50 kilometers from Lahad Datu, 15 kilometers from Kunak.
The Madai – Baturong Forest Reserve Nature Centre has been classified as a Class 1 forest reserve and is an excellent place for a day of cave exploration trip. Outdoor lovers will delight at the opportunity to familiarize themselves with various aspects of tree species, caves, and the endemic flora and fauna in the area.
In addition to its canopy walkway, visitors to this forest reserve should not miss the chance to take a dip in the cool crystal clear stream of its scenic waterfalls.
Within the Madai Baturong-Forest Reserve area, about 8 kilometer from the centre, is the Madai Cave. It is a huge limestone cave with important archaeological background history. The cave is the habitat for a large number of swiftlets birds, popularly known for its expensive bird nest delicacy. The bird nests are harvested 3 times in a year – April, August and December by the Ida’an communities. During the harvesting period, you will often see a very crowded Madai Cave with collectors carrying their long ladders and headtorch going in and out of the caves.
Ida’an ancestors was the first to discover this cave centuries ago and thus have the right to harvest the nests under the supervision of the Sabah Wildlife Department. As guardian of the cave, the Ida’an community live just right outside of the caves and the atmosphere can be so lively, especially during the harvesting period when people throng the caves for this event.
The Madai cave is also marked as an important historical site since traces of human inhabitation and ancient coffins can be found inside the cave. However, a visit to Madai Cave must be followed by a guide. Visitor can contact the village chief to arrange and hire local guide. Alternatively, this visit can be pre-arranged with your ground handler – travel agent.
About 16 kilometeres from Madai cave is the Baturong. Another huge cave with large chambers with a more eminent archaeological presence of human inhabitant dated over 5000 years ago. However, unlike Madai Cave, Baturong is further and not accessible to public.
If you are visiting the Madai Cave, it is advisable to wear approriate shoes as the cave floor can be slippery with birds and bats droppings. Other than that, it is normal to see thousands of cockroaches and insects infesting the cave.
- Parking Space
Kunak Regional Forestry office,
P.O.Box No 2,
Madai Village Chief
En. Mohd Azlie (012-3888733)