Deramakot question

Dear All,
I suddenly discovered that I’m taking my family to Sabah for a week in early May. I’m trying to include Deramakot, but I’ve never been there and it’s difficult to figure out if it’s a good place to bring a child to. My daughter is 4, she is an experienced traveler and is already familiar with minor inconveniences such as pit vipers and terrestrial leeches, but we try not to use DEET on her (we use less toxic stuff called Cactus Juice, but it’s not 100% effective), and she’s not a big fan of spicy food (we consider bringing a camping stove and some provisions). Thank you for advice.
Vladimir Dinets


  • Tom Hewitt

    There are no extra inherent risks to Deramakot for a child in over any other location in Sabah except boredom perhaps. There are limited walking trails still and most activities are done in 4*4 vehicles in the hours of darkness and early morning. Middle of the days are very hot and usually not a lot happening except resting.

    Most companies that operate in the reserve are happy to cook food that suits the guests so although you pay for this service its a lot less hassle.

  • mikehoit

    I’d echo what Tom said – If your daughter is happy for long hours in the back of the pickup, she’ll be fine. Deramakot is pretty comfortable and the cooking staff were extremely helpful & willing to be flexible on our visit. Bugs weren’t any sort of issue – there are some quite nasty nocturnal wasps, but we didn’t get stung in five days despite a few bouncing off me!

  • Natalia

    I normaly use mosiguard ( it is natural) for the leeches and mosquitoes. It is quite effective and with th lechees socks and salt close to use it should not be a problem. In fact I wore the socks with the mosiguard and shorts in order to see the leeches going up. And with the salt they are wiped easily.
    Most of the roads don’t have leeches. Just avoid doing a lot of trials through the jungle.

  • Philip Telfer

    I’ve spent 2 weeks in Deramakot over the last 3 years and i’d say mossies were very few but as Mike said we did get bugged by many large nocturnal wasps on one particular night although nobody got stung. Also i’ve never had any problem with Leeches at Deramakot although i’m sure in season they’ll be there.The Deramakot staff can prepare food for you but its expensive and not very good. Much better if you can arrange to use the cafe area where AA Borneo are based and their food is excellent and very good value. You may need to be travelling with them though i’m not sure. If you go independently you’ll need to take a supply of spare fuel as you won’t be able to get any on site. It’s over a 2 hour drive out to re-fuel otherwise. I sometimes travel with my granddaughter ( 7 ) and there wouldn’t be much to do during daytime. Please feel free to email if you want any further info. Phil.

  • Laurent Morin

    I’m glad to see that you will most probably complete your cat list!

    I went in September and found absolutely no inconvenience with insects, although we spent 80% of the time in the jeep. When we did night walks, leeches were annoying, but mosquitoes seemed quite absent.

  • sjefo

    Agree with the others. The camp is both child-proof and safe for children. Did wear leech socks in the forest and long-sleeved T-shirts tucked in one-piece trousers (i.e, no buttons on shirt or zip pants) to fend off leeches very effectively. I never used DEET (or anything else) and bugs usually love me. Trails are quite steep in places but nothing too shocking and usually more of an issue for the 50+ or 60+ year olds. She should probably walk and not run/bounce down the road the first 20 metres from the chalets (very steep) but that’s about it.

  • Alan Dahl

    I don’t have much to add Vladimir since the advice above is spot on in my experience. In our two trips, AA Borneo did a great job with food and handled my wife’s dietary restrictions with no problems. Bugs were not an issue for us either for the most part. If she’s OK with leeches then she should do fine. The worst thing for your daughter is probably the mid-day heat and humidity and the occasional “torrential rain”. Note that the chalet rooms do have air conditioning which is rare in Sabah in our experience so that is nice when it’s super hot out.


  • Chris Charles

    Having lived in Borneo for 5 years in the 80’s we packed plenty of mosquito repellant for our Sabah trip last July. I was amazed & pleased that we didnt use any or see any mosquitos on our KK, Sandakan, Kinabatagan, Mulu, Miri, Brunei circuit. In retrospect it is a bit of a worry that there seems to be this gap in the food cha
    In emerging.

  • Tom Hewitt

    Primary or good secondary forest, hilly forest, in my experience never has many mosquitoes, maybe few places for them to breed. Pop down the road to the flat swampy Kinabatangan flood plain or Sebangau in Kalimantan and its another mosquito game altogether.
    Mulu is predominantly limestone so I guess the water dissipates fast.

    Horse flies or whatever the Borneo equivalent is can be very annoying at times and in plague like proportions in some locations – hopefully the sign of a animal rich forest at least!

  • Karen

    This is fabulous! Can you adopt me?

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Thanks everybody! It looks like there are no vacancies with tour companies for these dates. Is it possible to go there independently?
    We live in Okinawa so heat is not a problem. It will be much worse here in summer anyway.
    Laurent: The chances of me seeing both the Sunda clouded leopard and the marbled cat in such a short time are slim, so for anyone who wants to be the first to have seen all cat species there’s still plenty of opportunity 🙂
    Karen: sorry, my daughter is keeping me so busy that I can’t consider adoption requests 🙁

  • Yeye

    I have spent quite many days at Deramakot looking for clouded leopards and if I had a you child I wouldn´t hesitat to bring her along. But I would stay at chalets close to the kitchen and not the ones on the hill because there is a lot of walking but nothing to do up there except to sleep.
    There are both plteny of mosquitoes and leeches in the forest so bring repellant. I got malaria last time that hit me pretty bad and I had to stay in hospital for four days and it took quite some time to get back on my feet again.
    There is not much to do for a kid but to walk to the pond looking for dragon flies, go behind the water tank and look at the Orang Utan or even nicer to wait behind the chalets for the civet that search for food at dawn.
    It is possible to see both a clouded leopard and marbled cat in a week. If you are very lucky.
    I am heading down to Deramakot for my fourth time to try to see a clouded leopard.

  • Tom Hewitt

    Have you tried contacting AA Borneo Vladamir, quite often bookings change and space becomes available?

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Tom: yes, I am in contact with them.


    There are no mosquitoes at Deramakot. You don’t need insect repellent there. Leeches are not on the road where we look for mammals by night. Leeches are only in dense forest (along the two trails) and sometimes on the grass very close to the border of the forest (so not a problem). You don’t need to cook. If you ask for unspicy food (makan tidak pedas) the food will be and always good (I also can’t eat spicy food). But explain that the day of your arrival.

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