A Tranquil Oasis of Green...
The Tawau Hills National Park was
established in 1979, primarily as a protection for the water
catchment area of Tawau town. It is located some 24 kilometres from
Tawau, and comprises 279.72 km˛ of lowland dipterocarp rainforest,
surrounded by oil palm and cacao plantations.
The park is one of the least frequented by travellers to Sabah, but
the locals flock there by the thousands over week-ends. Near the
entrance there are picnic areas with river bathing facilities at the
Table Waterfall with its natural swimming pool, changing/toilet
facilities, camping sites, and chalets. Despite the enormous influx
of local visitors the park is always kept spotlessly clean and
foreign visitors like to explore the park’s rugged volcanic
landscapes including a hot spring and spectacular waterfalls.
The highest point in the park is Gunung
Magdalena (1310 meters), which is quite some trekking. Somewhat
closer is Bombalai Hill (530 m, ca half an hour's trekking) and
during good weather conditions one is rewarded with a panoramic view
over cacao and palm oil plantations, Tawau Town and at the horizon
the Sulawesi Sea! Even on week-ends those trails will not be
frequented by local visitors...
Bombalai Hill is a relatively young
volcanic cone and the remains of the central crater, which can still
be seen on the summit. Vegetation to see are the lowland Dipterocarp
forest. Flora and fauna, such as orchids are in abundance. Wildlife
is common but luck and patience is needed, as animals are shy and
are not easy to see. Occasional sightings of of Red Leaf Monkeys and
long-tailed Macaques, and the less common but the beautiful Giant
Tree Squirrel, and the Forest Tortoise.
How to Get to the Tawau Hills National Park & Accommodation
Chartered van, taxi, tour operator, ca 1 hour by road (24 km); the
chalets in the park are nice and clean, with equipped kitchens and
bbq pits for those who do not wish to make use of the canteen (which
closes early). There are also designated camping areas with
toilet/shower facilities. Not many people stay overnight and you can
simply go there and book on the spot.
photos to be added soon