Bukit Senambung (Senambung Hill) is the highest point of Pulau Banggi (Banggi Island). This pyramid-shape hill is covered with dense forest and its top offers an irresistible aerial view of whole Pulau Banggi, so you will get both climbing + jungle trekking experiences.
Bukit Senambung is located in Kalangkaman, about an hour drive from Karakit. It is advisable to use 4-wheel to run on this bumpy gravel path full of mud.
You know you enter a very remote area when you see many Dusun Bonggi huts, which are made of wood and dry leaves, along the way. These are probably one of the few places you can see such primitive houses in Sabah. My car is probably the only vehicle on the road, and my camera caught a lot of dust while shooting. There are hundreds of coconut trees that seem like the primary crop of the locals.
Senambung Hill is a class II forest reserve (commercial logging) managed by forestry department. The hill doesn’t look tall and steep, but this is a wrong impression. As we moved closer, we felt that we were so small. My expectation of a leisure and easy hiking was definitely too much.
After registered with the ranger at the foothill, we started the climb. I was warned that the slope was quite steep and I should proceed cautiously and don’t try anything uncertain. The guide said we needed only 30 minutes to reach the top but we took over 2 hours!
Most of the time we were climbing the slope with a steep of about 40 to 70 degree. Though tired, there were cool breezes that made me felt much better. I saw only one small leech on the way. Well, it will be very minor problem to bother with, when you feel so exhausted. Only one person was bitten.
The trail was slippery, muddy and not tourist-friendly. Forget about your hundred dollar branded shoes such as Timberland and Camel, as they are not as good as a pair of RM7 (USD$2) “Kampung Addidas” (Village Addidas), a local made rubber shoe. The expensive hiking shoe is prone to catching mud, and it will become a “skiing shoe” in such trail condition. The worst thing was – I brought a fragile camera, so I had to walk like a pregnant woman. A walking stick can make a difference too.
Most already started to feel the body stress after 500 Meters, and we didn’t know how long was the trail ahead. To maintain my determination, I didn’t dare to look up. I only focused on the part in front, walked and climbed slowly. I thought the trail was only 1KM and it was a 1.8KM. I could see the beautiful blue sea through the trees. That motivated me to move on.
“Why still hasn’t arrived? How far are we?” we kept on asking the guides. I brought two small bottles of water and one 100Plus (which helped a lot!), and a few energy bar. I finished all of them. Finally, I was so glad I made it to the top. “Is it the top?” I asked the guide, as if it was hard to believe that the hardship was over. I was rewarded a nice view from the top.
^dGJ$82^%&2XYZ…!!! Why they call Bukit Senambung a “Hill”? Senambung Hill is 529 Meters high so it needs another 71 Meters to qualify as a Mountain (600M), in UK standard. However, it is considered as a Mountain under USA standard (1,000 feet). Whatever, I am happy to reach the top of it.
Photos taken in Banggi Island of Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo