Libaran Island is an idyllic island 40mins off the coast of Sandakan. White sand beaches are fringed with mangrove forest and it’s here that preserving the sea turtle population is the main mission. We stay overnight in glamping style tents and assist with the conservation work as part of the 10 day Borneo Explorer tour.
Population: 450 people at a nearby village on the island
Vibe: Chilled as! It’s the perfect place to disconnect, get back to nature, swim and laze on a sun lounger.
Known As: One of the ‘Turtle Islands’ due to the important conservation work being done in this area.
Must Do: Visit the hatchery, and if any eggs have hatched, you’ll be able to take the baby turtles and release them into the sea!
Things to see and do
Visit the hatchery
A short 5 min stroll down the beach from our camp will lead you to the hatchery. The hatchery is a fenced off, secure area, where turtle eggs are buried in a sandpit and carefully marked and dated. Turtle eggs take between 55-70 days to hatch, depending on the type of turtle, so the eggs are kept safe in the hatchery from poachers and predators during this time. Early evening, the rangers give a short and informative presentation at the hatchery and if some eggs have hatched you’ll have the chance to take the baby turtles down to the ocean and release them.
Stay up late and look out for turtles a’laying
Sea turtles have an excellent sense of direction. They can detect the earth’s magnetic field and use it like a compass to return to the exact beach they hatched on to lay their own eggs, around 15 years later! The mama turtle will come up the beach at night and dig a nest in the sand to lay her eggs in. The process takes 1-3 hours. The rangers on the island patrol the beach to watch for turtles coming up to nest and you’re welcome to help keep watch. Once the mama turtle has laid her eggs and returned into the sea, they’ll transport the eggs to the hatchery to keep them safe.
Kayak around the mangroves
The sea around Libaran Island is generally calm which makes it perfect for sea kayaking. Kayaks are free to use and you can paddle off around the mangroves and see what you discover!
Play beach volleyball
There’s a beach volleyball net set up on the beach. Rally a team and get a game going!
Sunbathe with a cold beer
You’re at the beach, this is your holiday, you just relax. There are sun loungers dotted around the camp and the restaurant has a supply of cold beers available for sale.
Explore the island on foot
There are tracks on the island and at low tide you can also walk around on the beach. About 20mins walk from the main camp is a little village.
Ready to save some turtles?