Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah - Official Website

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Guided Walk Trail
Duration : 30 minutes

This trail may be taken without a guide. Starting from Bishop's Head Hostel, the trail leads into the lush oak-chestnut forest of Mesilau's sheltered valley. Trees are taller and more mossy than at Park Headquarters. Mosses and epiphytes, notably the long leafed Bird's Nest Fern, are abundant. Fallen acorns and chestnuts cover a path flanked by thick growths of wild gingers. Large conifers Dacrydium are an interesting feature. The path crosses a little stream that flows under the restaurant before entering Mesilau River.

Large species of the mountain ginger Alpinia Havilandii and pink blossomed Kinabalu Balsam thrive by the stream. Liverworts and mosses clad trees on the other side of the stream.Ginger flowers attract several species of bees including the Mountain Honey-bee, Apis Nuluensis. Borneo has 5 of the world's 8 known species of honey bees, more than anywhere else on earth. As the trails open out, climbing bamboo of the species Bambusa Gibbsaii can be seen draping the trees. The walk concludes as the path re-enters the oak-chestnut forest near the restaurant complex.

Nepenthes Rajah Nature Trail

Duration : 20 minutes

This trail involves a 10 minute trek to West Mesilau River and another 10 to reach the top of the trail. From Crocker Range Lodge, the trail passes the Mesilau cave down a low ridge above a stream. The landscape is lush with ferns, liverworts and orchids amidst mossy rocks and boulders. After crossing a suspension bridge over Mesilau River, the trail rises steeply on the opposite bank. Shrubby grasses, rhododendrons and orchids are in abundance. Many are unique to the ultramafic soil.

Mesilau is known for the easy access to its carnivorous pitcher plants that trap insects for food. Attracted to the plant's nectar, insects fall into pitchers which are formed from leaves. An enzyme-rich digestive fluid drowns the victims which are digested and absorbed. Pitchers found in Mesilau include the rare Nepenthes Rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world. Thriving in ultramafic soil, this has a large magenta coloured pitcher with up to 2 litre capacity. Frogs, centipedes and even rats have been found in its pitchers. Some pitchers are mini ecosystems supporting lifeforms immune to the enzymes. These include spiders, crab ants, tadpoles, larvae and others forming a food chain.

Reaching the top, the trail enters lush vegetation with small trees and a range of outstanding pitcher plants including the giant Nepenthes Rajah, the tall Nepenthes Lowii and tiny Nepenthes Tentaculata. The return journey offers spectacular views of the montane forest canopy along Mesilau River, jagged rock faces, cascading waterfalls and the Mesilau Pinnacles.

To protect the rare pitcher species and to prevent illegal collecting, visitors are not allowed in unless accompanied by an official guide.

Sutera Sanctuary Lodges

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