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Cape Rhino Camp: Historical, adventurous, breathtaking river camp

18th November, 2015


KOTA KINABALU: Not many people know of the existence of a camp in Tanjung Badak, Tuaran. However, if one is a nature lover, Cape Rhino Camp at Tanjung Badak is a place that should make one’s bucket list.

It is located next to the Mengkabong River estuary and it has 20 separate toilets, showers, a camping ground that can fit more than 150 people, a roofed area, dining area, rooms with fans, a jetty, traditional sea gypsy homes and a bon fire pit. It also has a private beach and island.

The camp is managed by Sea Gypsy Mangrove Village (SGMV), an outdoor activities company specialising in watersports, horse riding, nature cruises, mangrove related activities and teambuilding programs.

Speaking to the owner cum operating manager of SGMC, Ahmad Nahri Mohd Noh, or more fondly known as Matt, he said that the company strives to provide the best outdoor experience.

“At the same time, we want to educate our guests about nature and its importance. The camp is surrounded by the lush Mengkabong mangroves. The place is also alive with sea gypsy (Bajau Laut) culture so what we do is literally naturally exciting,” said Matt.

He said that the main type of accommodation is camping. Matt also said that safety wise; there had been no major issues before.

“Even in the water, it is safe. Even if it is jellyfish season, there is not much jellyfish and we will usually be warned about jellyfish by local fishermen,” he said, adding that the water in the camp is about 5 metres deep without waves.

Matt said that the company began its operations about a year ago and focusing on the local market and believes in only employing local people.

Many activities can be conducted there such as fishing, barbeques, and team building activities, sunset cruises, firefly cruises or even river cruises.

“One can opt for the river cruise where we would bring people upstream the Mengkabong river and introduce them to the local sea gypsy culture.”

“They (Bajau Laut) are different than the Bajaus in the East Coast. These Bajaus are localised towards land and they live in stilted houses.”

“Even the dead are buried on land. During the river cruises, guests will have the opportunity to visit the Bajau community in their houses and talk to the people there,” he added.

Matt also said that his company has a program called the Nature School Program which caters student groups of ages below 17.

“This program aims at educating youngsters on rubbish disposal’s responsibility, which is a serious issue,” he said, adding that he and his staff has been cleaning the beach everyday ever since they began operations.

He said that despite cleaning the beach every day, a lot of trashes are still seen on the shores due to its close proximity to the camp and nearby villages.

“That is why we want students to join in our efforts of cleaning up the rubbish because we want to educate them on the responsibility of proper rubbish disposal,” he added.

Students who participate in the Nature School Program will have the chance to experience many activities such as making arts and crafts from recycled products, jungle trekking, riding on banana boats, and enjoying the sunset and firefly cruises.

“They will also be involved in talks about nature and have group activities of which winners will be announced on the final day,” he said, adding that the Nature School Program is a two-day programme.

Meanwhile, during this writer’s visit to the camp, a group of students from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) were also at the camp for a course activity.

Led by their lecturer, Jakaria Dasan, a lecturer for the corporate communications course at UMS, he said that his students were student leaders of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) module of the course.

One of the students, a Penangite by the name of Boo Aik Ming, who is also the president of UMS hotel management club said that their outing was a celebration for the committee members of the CSR module of the corporate communication course.

“I am impressed with the camp and the water villages along the Mengkabong river. I have never seen a place like this in Penang,” Boo said.

Another student, Nurnaemi Muhammad Nasir said that as a business student, visiting Cape Rhino Camp provides her with insights as a business student.

“This is a new place and as such, we can look at it as a business model for instance. Now, we know how to venture into a business like this and what packages to customise for our customers,” she said.

Jannie Liew, a Sarawakian said that activities held at the camp should be uploaded on Facebook or other social media platforms so that a beautiful place like that can be promoted to the public.

“In other words, guests who have come here should become agents to help in boosting the business of the camp,” Jannie said.

Wan Ismail Bardin from Sandakan said that people do not have to go far to experience nature as the campsite is very near to Kota Kinabalu.

“One can just simply come to Tuaran to get the best of nature,” he said.

Additional information about the camp can be obtained by contacting their office at 088-787539 or Matt at 014-3511700 or visit their Facebook or Instagram Page @ SEAGYPSYMANGROVEVILLAGE.

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