Enjoy Nature at its best

Terence pointing out the river
Terence Dolinting

Taking  time out from the hustle and bustle of life is not that difficult, especially when you are in Sabah. In this Land below the Wind, nature abounds so anybody who wish too commune with nature can easily do so. It can be just a few minutes out into the county or several kilometres away.

This is especially true where the Natai Adventure Cultural Village is concerned. It is just about an hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. This site is in a valley where two rivers meet, in Kampung Natai, Telipok.

Driving to this destination is an adventure by itself. The winding road meandering on the hills and going round villages is really a sight to behold. The houses nestled on the hills look so pretty and cosy that one think of staying there a while and enjoying the cool mountain air. In the morning, the area can be misty as it will be in the evening.

The attractive site is of course in Natai, where a lush 100 acres of land is developed as a nature tourism site. The spots are Kasalagan Park, Tamaza and Lamin Paganakan.

Abseiling at the waterfall

The  Natai Adventure Cultural Village, Director Terence Dolinting shares that the area has been developed through the years with adventurous people in mind. Nature in itself is just as it is, a presentation of its stark beauty. However, Terence has carved out an itinerary that suits adventurous and environmentally conscious people. The 100 acres area boasts two rivers that meet and a waterfall that thunders down 45 feet into a pool. That is like a three storey building. These beauty of nature are tapped for Terence’s  itinerary.

The beauty of nature includes the two rivers that meet there, where picnic spots are sited. There are barbecue pits by the flowing rivers and seats of rocks around a rock table. This ensures that guests can enjoy the crystal clear flowing river, frolic in it and just have a good time. Later they can sit around the barbecue and have an ‘al-fresco’ meal.

Bathing at the waterfall

Actually, Terence has various package deals for guests. Guests can choose to go for the jungle trekking and waterfall visit, or stay in the house and just enjoy the ambiance of the waterfall and village community.

He used to work for the Outbound School and acquired his knowledge of jungle trekking and survival through his tenure. The track therefore may be reminiscent of the school.  An itinerary that includes the waterfall is usually accessed through a track that range from the ‘easy’ to the ‘challenging’.

According to him, they are taken on the trek along the river where they can enjoy the cool water, the scenery and the natural environment. The trek takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the guests’ pace.

When they reach the waterfall they will make camp and start cooking their lunch. This is the time when they will learn how the people cook their meal in the olden days. They will cook their meal in bamboo joints, heated over fire. When the food are done, the bamboo are then split in half, and the lunch for the day is served. Guests can then enjoy the waterfall, just swimming around or taking photographs. The day ends with Terence or other guides bringing their guests out through another route which maybe a little more challenging than the initial trek.

For those who wish to stay over for the night or are in a package deal accommodation is available. Usually this is for visitors who wish to enjoy the village ambiance, nature and outdoor activities.

Terence’s family house sited on top of a hill just a few meters off the river has six bedrooms and twenty beds. The living room can accommodate 30 people at any one time, he says.

He has hosted a large group of people too but he set them up in tents at the camping ground. It was quite an adventure, he shared as they had a bonfire burning the whole night so the guests were warm. This are can be quite cold during the night.

“The largest  group we have hosted thus far is 555 people comprising of youth from church groups,” he said.

He said they also carry out team building activities for up to 100 people. The programmes in the package usually include interactive activities such as treasure hunts and traditional sports such as tug of war. Participants will also enjoy sports such as crawling in mud in rice field as well as catch fish, prawns, crabs and frogs in the river.

“We believe that such activities build rapport, friendship and teamwork among the participants as well as enhance family bond.”

A one week programme is also available for those who are interested in interacting with the locals around the village. Going on the village hop, the guests will have the opportunity to taste local food and the local alcoholic drinks. After that they will lend assistance to the village, applying teamwork in the gotong royong concept. They usually held to clean up the village surroundings and at times help paint the houses. After that they can test their courage with the flying fox or by abseiling at the waterfall.

Terence shared that they have various packages to suit groups and invites guests to visit him at the Natai Adventure Cultural Village. This village can be reached via the hilly and winding road to Kokol Hill, Manggatal. Or they can just call him for more information at