Biodiversity along the Kinabatangan River is exceptional, even by Borneo’s standards. Boat journeys down this river and its tributaries, are part and parcel of the Borneo nature-based tourism experience and afford visitors the opportunity to encounter primates, marvellous birds and fascinating herpetofauna and invertebrates up close. The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary consists of ten protected, but highly fragmented parcels of riverside lowland rainforest, which hold high densities of wildlife, forced to find sanctuary in these forest tracts by the palm oil industry: the palm plantations fill much of the landscape where rainforests have been cleared. 
 
It is an excellent area in which to seek a number of primate species, notably Orangutan, Proboscis monkey and Long-tailed and Pig-tailed macaques, all of which can be spotted during easy-going boat trips. By night, Bornean slow loris and Western tarsiers can be sought by their eye-shine. Also in the darkness, Felids found every so often are the fairly common Sunda leopard cat and the nationally scarce, Endangered Flat-headed cat, which usually is found very close to water. 
 
Many visitors encounter the Bornean pygmy elephant (Endangered) and while out in the boat, huge Saltwater crocs and Asian river monitors (the world's second biggest lizards), are often seen too. 
 
Discretely located lodges blend into the surroundings and offer an excellent base from where to explore the river or the surrounding rainforests. (We recommend being based near the village of Sukau). 
 
Some wonderful birdlife frequents the riverside forests, including a variety of hornbills - keep a lookout for Wrinkled and Wreathed hornblls; Bushy-crested hornbill and White-crowned hornbills and Oriental pied and Black hornbills. The endangered endemic Storm's stork is best sought here. Raptors include Grey-headed and Lesser fish eagles. Colourful kingfishers, notably Oriental dwarf and Stork-billed kingfisher add splashes of colour to their surrounds, as do various Broadbills and Sunbirds. During night excursions,the likes of Buffy fish owl can be seen.
 
An interesting afternoon excursion from the Kinabantang River is to Gomantang Cave, a large limestone cave which is home to millions of bats and 3 species of echo-locating cave-nesting swiftlets. The swiftlets use echo-location to navigate their way around the dark caves. At dusk, as clouds of bats emerge from the caves, raptors such as Bat hawk can be seen capturing the bats for their dinner. 
 

Sarah Frankish

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.
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