Filming and photography trip to Maliau Basin


As part of the production of an educational film about a new Ramsar site on the East coast of Sabah for the Sabah Biodiversity Centre, Scubazoo cameraman Roger Munns and Scubazoo photographer Jason Isley traveled to Maliau Basin on July 19th 2010 to film and photograph the environment and wildlife.

The trip began with an aerial film and photo shoot from SabahAir’s Sandakan base. Jason and Roger flew over the Kinabatangan river, shooting aerial HD footage of the river as it winds its way through forest and oil palm plantations. The Bell jetranger helicopter then continued on up the river towards the Maliau Basin.

Known as ‘Sabah’s Lost World’, Maliau Basin is one of Borneo’s most pristine jungle ecosystems. In 1981 it was designated as a Conservation Area by Yayasan Sabah, for the purposes of research, education and training. It includes montane and heath forest as well as primary lowland dipterocarp forest with some trees over 500 years old. Guarded by towering cliffs on its Northern side the area remained undiscovered until very recently and it is still relatively unexplored. The 390Km2 basin acts as the primary catchment area for rainfall for the Kuamut river which feeds the Kinabatangan river further downstream. The Basin is punctuated with stunning waterfalls including the spectacular seven tier Maliau falls.

The camera crew filmed aerial footage of Maliau Basin before being dropped at Ginseng camp, 10km inside the perimeter. From there Jason and Roger proceeded on foot with two forest rangers to the base of the impressive Maliau falls to shoot the beautiful coffee coloured, mineral-rich water. Following a further 10km jungle trek to Agathis camp the next morning, the Scubazoo team settled in the Maliau Basin Study Centre for the remainder of the shoot. As well as capturing scenics of the rainforest there were some great opportunities for wildlife filming during early morning treks and night walks. Insect and bird life was abundant and on the final evening the boys even had a chance to film and photograph a deadly, but beautiful, pit viper.

Update: Scubazoo’s filming trip to Maliau basin was featured on The Location Guide. Read about it here

The shoot was a complete success and Jason and Roger returned home with some excellent high definition footage and quality photos from the five day expedition. Thanks to Yayasan Sabah, Sabah Air Aviation, the staff of MBSC and our extremely helpful rangers, Welly and Jeff for their assistance during the shoot. Scubazoo are experienced local fixers and can assist with filming permits, visas, guides and logistical support for productions wishing to visit Maliau Basin. If you need local assistance with your film or TV production in Maliau Basin please contact us.

Take a look at some of the High Definition footage of Maliau Basin in our short video below: