Described by WWF as "the best managed edible birds' nest cave
in the world", Gomantong Caves has been the focus for birds'
nests for centuries. Historical records have traced it as a source
of this precious delicacy to the Chinese Emperor centuries ago.Two
cave complexes are found in this intricate cave system. Simud Hitam
is a five-minute walk from the Registration Centre and a picnic
area. It is a more accessible cave with its roof soaring up to 90
meters high. A well-maintained boardwalk makes it easys to explore
this dramatic cave with its specialised ecology. Simud Puteh is
where the more valuable "white" saliva nests of the swiflets
Twice a year, licensed collectors risk their lives climbing to the
roof of these cave complexes in a dangerous operation that involves
only rattan ladders, ropes and poles precariously attached together.
These caves are protected by the Wildlife Department which only
allows the collection twice yearly. Catch the collectors in action
between February and April, when the nests are first harvested just
after the birds have built them. The next harvest is between July
and September, when the new rebuilt nests, are abandoned after eggs
have been laid and hatched.The Gomantong Caves is home to a rich
range of birds with crested serpent eagles, kingfishers, asian fairy
bluebirds and leafbirds. Don't be surprised if the magical sight
of colourful butterflies suddenly surround you!