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Sabah's Lower Kinabatangan River Wildlife Sanctuary


Kinabatangan River  & Sukau:

Stretching 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 orang utan 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 hornbill 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. The most memorable safaris are done by boats along the Menanggol River which is particularly rich of wildlife.

Menanggol Safari River Cruise

Female Proboscis Monkey

Pygmy Elephants Kinabatangan River

Most times, travellers to the Kinabatangan and Sukau make the effort to visit because it simply is the only place in Sabah or even Borneo for that matter, that the wildlife is so accessible. The Sukau & Lower Kinabatangan area is a zoo safari and night safari all rolled into one. The kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary is only 26,103 hectares in size and within this tiny area (hemmed in by palm oil plantations from all sides), is a great variety of animals and flora, some endemic to Borneo and some endemic to the area itself. The diversity of this area is unimaginable. There are a recorded 1000 plant species, 250 bird species, 90 fish species and reptilia and 50 mammal species cramped into the area.

For the drier periods, visitors have a higher chance of animal sightings and animals like the pygmy borneon elephants, the orang utan , probocis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys or langurs, macaques, civet cats, snakes, estuarine crocodiles, otters, wildboars, birdlife such as the oriental darters or snakeheads they are called, herons, Wallace's Hawk-Eagle, Jerdon's Baza, Violet Cuckoo, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Grey-headed Fish-Eagle, hornbills and  can be ‘found’, if your nature guide and boatman is experienced.

Getting there: 

There are two ways to reach Sukau area from Sandakan Town, one is by boat all the way which may take 2 hours cruising up the Kinabatangan River or the other is to take a 2hrs van or coach ride on asphalt road to the Sukau - Kinabatangan area.


Safari River Cruise |  Birdwatching | Photography 

For further information about Kinabatangan River click here

Pig-Tailed Macaque

Orangutan Abai Kinabatang

Recommended Tour Packages: