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Sabah Islands > Mantanani Islands

Mantanani Islands
Mantanani Islands

Mantanani Islands is a group of three isolated islands northwest of Kota Belud (06-42.8N / 116-18.3E), or about an hour's drive from the state capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. Although only approximately an hour's boat-ride by speedboat from the mainland, the islands are a reminder of an earlier and simpler place and era. Time slows down here amidst the crystal clear blue waters lapping on white sandy beaches.
Until recently, the islands were only known to a few locals. The surrounding waters offer splendid fishing and scuba diving adventures.

Sailfish and marlin are the main quarry of sport fishermen in these waters. Scuba divers come here for the underwater wrecks, which still hold plenty of the secrets from the day they first settled on the sea floor.

These wrecks are now home to a menagerie of marine creatures and an unrivaled marine photo studio. For the novice scuba diver, the coral reefs of these islands offer some of the best scuba diving this side of Sabah. The largest island houses the only dive resort, Mantanani Resort which is situated at the western end on the edge of a white sandy bay. Nestled amongst the tall coconut palms are beach cabins scattered around the main plantation styled house.

Three wrecks have been discovered which still hold plenty of secrets and are now home to a menagerie of marine creatures such as Lionfish, Scorpion fish, octopus, glassfish and the coral reefs surrounding the islands have plenty to offer, both the novice and experienced diver. Many species of rays can be found. Marbled stingray. Blue spotted ray and large schools of eagle rays.

For macro photographers the "muck diving" is amazing, seahorses, imperial shrimps, pink-eye gobies, jaw fish, blue ringed octopus, ribbon eels and many nudibranch you will not be able to find in the books! There are now 16 dive sites identified by Mantanani Resort with many more still to be explored.

Eco PursesMaking "Eco Purses" out of plastic wrappers

12 July 2012 The New Straits Times Press
Islanders taught how to turn trash into cash

KOTA KINABALU: Making "Eco Purses" out of plastic wrappers was what Universiti Malaysia Sabah students imparted to the residents of Mantanani Island, off Kota Belud, recently as a way to generate income.
The university's Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE UMS) organization came up with this solution as part of a poverty-eradication programme, while reducing the amount of trash scattered around the island.

A workshop was held at the island recently by a group of 10 students, led by project manager Amanda Teo Peh Lee, to share their knowledge of this environmentally friendly product with the islanders, especially single mothers, housewives and children.

Located about 80km from here and accessible by speedboat from Kuala Rampayan Laut river jetty, Mantanani Island is famous among tourists for fishing and scuba diving adventures.
"This island was once famous for its dugong.
"However, in the island, we find oceans of plastic garbage swirling around and lining the beaches.
"Recognizing this problem, SIFE UMS once again creates opportunities for the locals, by providing them with new skills to generate income, while empowering them to carry out their part in protecting the environment," the organization said in a statement.

The organization added that it believed that with the existing skills of the island women in sewing, they have an interest to make more of the products to sell.

Project Eradicating Poverty in Mantanani Island was initiated by the organization in 2009, where the non-profit organization mobilizes university students to make a difference in their communities, while developing their skills to become socially responsible business leaders.

They also developed outreach projects to improve the standard of living for people in need.

dead turtles with their shells removed
Lodge employees removing a dead hawksbill turtle found on Pulau Mantanani Kecil in Kota Belud.
New Straits Times
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012

THREE dead turtles with their shells removed were found on the shores of Pulau Mantanani Kecil in Kota Belud recently. The shells could have been cut by poachers.

The hawksbill turtles were found by employees of a backpackers' lodge on the island between 22nd and 23rd April 2012 (Sunday and Monday) . An employee said that apart from the shells, which appeared to have been uniformly cut, the eyes of the turtles were also poked.

The shell of hawksbill turtles, known as tortoiseshell, is used to make combs, guitar picks, knitting needles and ornaments.
Tortoiseshell is preferred because of its durability.

Hawksbill turtles are protected reptiles in Malaysia

Since 1973, the trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
In 1996, Malaysia and the Philippines had set up an area to protect turtles in Sulu Sea. The Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area covers three islands in Malaysia and six in the Philippines.

3 dead turtles with shells cut off found on island :
Cruelty to hawksbill turtles :


Mantanani Islands

Diving Packages
available in Mantanani Island


Snorkeling RM 400.00 per person (minimum 2 person)
Discover Scuba Diving RM 600.00 per person (minimum 2 person} (Non-licensed) ~ / dive
Leisure Dive RM 600.00 per person (minimum 2 person) (Certified diver) ~ 2 dives


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