Malaysia: Borneo, Sabah – Mt Kinabalu the riches of rain forest
The mountain still grows, 5 mm a year. Mt Kinabalu is biological gem of Borneo. Here we can see obvious climate zones with different variations of soil. This makes Mt Kinabalu one of the most fertile places for plants. There are over 5 thousand plant species (more than Europe and North America combined) and some of those species are endemic to Borneo.
Kinabalu national park is listed on UNESCO world heritage list and it features original biotop. Apart form UNESCO protected area, most of the forest is artificially re-planted. A walk through the park offers you a way to rain forests and up to alpine meadows. This is a challenge to be overcome and also an event of privilege to see one of the last wonders of nature.
Lower parts of the mountain offer trek svahy hory nabízejí treky hlubokým deštným pralesem s vysokými dřevinami, palmami, bambusem a kapradinami. Zem je pokryta obrovskými mechy a nachází se zde více než 608 druhů kapradin. Když budete pozorně sledovat, můžete vidět květy raflézie, kvetou však pouze tři až pět dní v roce, měří až jeden metr v průměru a voní po zkaženém mase. Můžete slyšet hlasité nosorožce, vidět skotačící gibbony a velmi zřídka i orangutany.
As the road climbs up, lowland primaveal forests make room for pine forests (at 1300 to 2100 m). On this side of the mountain, you may easily spot ifferent species of different vegetation zones. There are rhododendrons from the Himalaya zone, Chinese-European oaks and chetnut trees, eucalyptus, tea trees typical for Australia.
By getting at higher altitude we enter the carnivorous plant zone. Their leaves are modified to capture and poison insects. Five species of this plant are unique including th huge Nepenthes rajah – the largest of carnivorous plants. This extraordinary plant uses the smell of its nectar to lure insects which it then devours and absorbs. Some plants are so huge that they can capture mice or rats even.
If you look for accommodation which would allow you to reach the top of the mountain early in the morning for the sunrise, seek in Laban Rata (3 272 m). From here, tourists usually set out as early as at 3 a.m..
Visitors wishing for climbing up the mountain should book a term even six months in advance. This can seem too much yet only 130 people are allowed to climb the summit a day.
One day for Mt Kinabalu could be enough. Should you wish to enjoy the nature, explore nature trails, or visit beautiful mountain garden near visitor's center, be sure to make more time for Mt Kinabalu.
Text and photos: Monika Fuchsová
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