Spanning 560km from the Crocker Range in the southwest of Sabah to the Sulu Sea in the east, the Kinabatangan River sustains one of the world’s richest ecosystems. The surrounding areas along the river consist of five distinct habitats — dipterocarp or dry, waterlogged and limestone forests, and freshwater and saline swamps. The lower basin of the river itself is the largest forest covered floodplain in Malaysia and has the largest concentration of wildlife in the South East Asian region.
Other than being home to Borneo’s indigenous orangutan and proboscis monkey, the surrounding forest is also one of only two known places in the world where 10 species of primates are found. All the eight species of hornbills found in Borneo make the area their home.
A trip up the river at dawn or dusk is the best opportunity to see the wildlife. You might even sight an Asian elephant or a Sumatran rhinoceros wandering through the trees. Optional tours can be arranged for night safaris as well to spot crocodiles, birds, and nocturnal animals.
You can find many lodges along the Sukau and Bilit area offering packages that include accommodation, transportation, meals, and guided tours. Alternatively, you may want to experience the homestay programme which is available at surrounding villages and which provides a good opportunity to truly experience the life of the Orang Sungai. Join in their cultural activities or even try your hand at the local way of farming!