Vast expanse of forested plains in Botum Sakor National Park, with a river meandering among the trees

Botum Sakor National Park

Asiatic black bears, Malayan tapirs, pileated gibbons and perhaps even the elusive Indochinese tiger: Botum Sakor National Park is a haven for Cambodia's endangered mammals.

In a nation that’s over 50% forested and contains some of the most unspoilt jungle in Southeast Asia, Botum Sakor National Park is one of our favourite places to immerse yourself in Cambodian wilderness — if for no other reason than its sheer isolation. Covering more than 1,700 square kilometres, 80% of which is evergreen forest, the park reaches all the way from the Cardamom Mountains to the melaleuca and mangrove swamps of the coastal flood plains, and it provides shelter for some of Asia’s most critically endangered mammals. Some of these are the Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant, Malayan tapir, pileated gibbon and Sunda pangolin – and perhaps even the Indochinese tiger, though none have been spotted in Cambodia since 2007.

Though Botum Sakor is one of the largest and most biodiverse tracts of rainforest left in Southeast Asia, it has suffered more environmental damage than some, which means that wild mammal sightings are rare. Nevertheless, local conservationists are working hard to rebuild the forest and reinstate local wildlife, and your stay can even contribute to the fight against deforestation. The Cardamom Camp isn’t just one of Cambodia’s most successful conservation projects, it’s a chance to sleep in safari-style tents surrounded by the sounds of the jungle, nine kilometres from the nearest town. Stay here and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to actively engage with their projects, heading out to check wildlife camera traps with the park rangers, kayaking on the rivers, and taking treks through the forest to spot porcupine, peafowl and giant squirrels.

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