Borneo’s Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary: A Gem for Wildlife Lovers! – Be On The Road


Sunset colors in the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary, Sabah, Malaysia

Pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, lengthy tailed macaques, pig tailed macaques, western tarsier, silver langurs, about eight varieties of hornbills which includes the magnificent rhinoceros hornbill, gorgeously colorful butterflies, crocodiles, frogs and so lots of other wonderful animal, bird and insect species can be spotted in this piece of wild paradise. This is that type of spot exactly where you will kick your self for not carrying a pair of binoculars or zoom lenses as there is so a lot incredible nature to see right here. And that is precisely what I did for carrying just my landscape lens throughout my vacation to Borneo.

Group of long tailed macaques at Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Borneo, Malaysia

The rainforests of Borneo hold a fifth of the world’s green cover and therefore it should really be of no surprise that it homes so lots of special species. This spot that I am speaking about is the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary and it is situated in the Sabah state of Malaysian Borneo. And all its action is packed about the Kinabatangan river that lends its name to this pristine forest.

Watching sunset on the Kinabatangan river, Borneo

Traversing for more than 500 kilometers via the Sabah lowlands, Kinabatangan river is a mosaic of equatorial rainforests, riverine forests, forest islands, limestone caves, mangroves, swamps and lakes. And it is close to this water physique exactly where all the action unfolds.

Western Tarsier at Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, Malaysia

The only way in and out of this forest is by boat and the finest way to sight wildlife right here is also on boat. The only factors you will need throughout such a boat ride are a life jacket, a pair of binoculars and a keen sense of sight and smell. And when employed nicely, you can see some of the rarest wildlife species of the planet.

Remain is normally in the middle of the forest in a forest guest residence that is situated on a riparian forest stretch or on an island. Like with any wildlife sanctuary, the day begins just before sunrise and as your boat begins chugging along the river, the dense mist that had settled on the river overnight disappears to present some of the densest forest you would have ever laid your eyes on. And as your eyes get adjusted to this wonderful sight, your ears are treated to a cacophony of primate and bird sounds.

Proboscis monkey at Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Borneo, Malaysia

From the middle of the river, you could not be in a position to see a lot of wild action, but as you head closer to the river banks, you are treated to some thoughts blowing primate action. Right after all, the Kinabatngan wildlife sanctuary is 1 of only two regions in the planet inhabited by ten species of primate, 4 of which are endemic to Borneo. The 1st ones you normally see are the Proboscis monkeys that are popular for their pot bellies and huge noses. They normally remain in groups and mornings are a heightened feeding frenzy for them. Their leaps involving trees are also pretty a sight. You also see pig tailed and lengthy tailed macaques, even though orangutans and other primates will need a lot patience and luck when it comes to spotting them.

Young crocodile seen by the banks of the Kinabatangan river, Borneo, Malaysia

Mornings are also a wonderful time to see the crocodiles as they come out of the water to bask in the morning sun. So are the hornbills that jump from tree to tree in search of fruits. Hornbills are fruit consuming birds that act as seed dispersers and as a result safeguard the ecology of the forest. All eight of the hornbill species observed in Borneo are observed in this forest. The sight of the wonderful rhinoceros hornbill flying more than the Kinabatangan river with its huge wings was a specific highlight for me. As most of the forest is tall right here, do assure to carry a fantastic pair of binoculars or large prime lenses if you want to appreciate the beauty of the hornbills as they normally stick to the prime tier of the forests, specifically the fig trees.

Silhouette of the Giant Wood Spider as seen at Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary, Malaysia

The pygmy elephants have been also a highlight for me, even though it took lots of attempts and the sighting was brief due to the thick forest cover. There are other species such as the Sumatran Rhino, Bornean clouded leopard, marbled cat, leopard cat, , Malay Sun Bear, Monitor Lizard, Otter, Freshwater Terrapin and Slow Loris, even though they are not effortlessly spotted and 1 has to go deep inside the forest and invest longer amounts of time to get fortunate.

Lush rainforests by the Kinabatangan river, Borneo, Malaysia

In addition to the boat safari, Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary is popular for its evening walks, exactly where you get to see a distinctive side of its wild nature. It is throughout this evening stroll that you get to see the Western Tarsier, a cute searching tree hugging animal with large eyes and that can rotate its head practically 360 degrees. If fortunate, you can see the slow loris as well on such evening walks. These evening walks are also a wonderful time to see the wealthy insect and amphibian life. Do assure that you carry your macro lens with you in case you are interested in these subjects. You can also spot birds such as the stork billed kingfisher that roosts on tree branches. You will discover mosquitoes, leeches and other bugs in a lot. So go ready for that.

Stork billed kingfisher roosting in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Malaysia

You can also go on day walks throughout the morning and evening boat safari rides. Typically, it is really hard to spot any animals and birds due to the heat, but it is a fantastic way to see the riverine forest method up close.

Tree frog from Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary seen during a night trek

Whether or not you go on boat rides, evening walks or day walks, you are bound to fall in really like with this forest. Each aspect of its wild riches are bound to astound you. This ecosystem is excellent for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, wildlife photographers, bird watchers and just common travelers. Do try to remember to pack your sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant, walking footwear, hat, binoculars, and so forth. for the close to excellent expertise. And do strategy to remain for longer durations to let your self sufficient time to soak in the true beauty of this spot.

Black and white butterfly, Borneo, Malaysia

Right after all, it is not normally that WWF refers to a spot as “Gift to the Earth’. And this is in spite of the all the illegal tree logging, money crop agriculture and hunting that has usurped Borneo in the current previous. Such is the aura of arguably the final forest alluvial floodplain of Asia.

Baby Pig tailed Macaque, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Malaysia

Greatest season to pay a visit to:

Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary is open all through the year, even though the river gets swollen throughout the rainy months of December and January. Personally, I feel every single season enables you to see the forest in new light.

Kinabatangan river, Borneo, Malaysia

How to get there:

Kota Kinabalu in the Sabah state of Malaysia would be your nearest international airport, even though Sandakan and Tawau are fantastic domestic airport selections. If you are flying into Kota Kinabalu, you can drive from Kota Kinabalu to Sukau. If you are traveling by bus, you will 1st have to go to Sandakan and then head to Sukau. From Sukau, a boat will take you to your spot of remain.

Boatman at Kinabatangan Wildlife sanctuary, Borneo, Malaysia

Exactly where to remain:

You can either remain at the lodges in Sukau or in the standard lodges or homestays run by the neighborhood Orang Sungai individuals in the villages deep inside the forest. Bookings for these homestays Miso Walai web-site or via the Sabah tourism web-site.

Evening skyscape from Kinabatangan river, Malaysia

Nearby tourist attractions:

1) Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak of Sabah. This is a fabulous trek.

two) The Orangutan rehabilitation center at Sepilok.

three) El Nido, Puerto Princesa underground river and other attractions of Philippines’s Palawan island that shares a comparable atmosphere.

four) Pulau Sipadan, a wonderful spot for scuba diving and 1 of the most wonderful islands of Malaysia.

five) Rock Pinnacles at Gunung Mulu, 1 of the prime adventure experiences of Malaysian Borneo.

six) Danum valley conservation region for a luxurious rainforest vacation expertise.


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