Wildlife locations

9 recommended locations. Species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Bako National Park

Bako offers an intoxicating mix of coastal scenery, teeming rainforest and abundant wildlife. It is one of the best places in Borneo to see proboscis monkey, which are regularly encountered, often right beside the raised boardwalk. With such a variety of habitats, the park’s flora is correspondingly rich and diverse.

  • Where: Sarawak State
  • Ideal for viewing: Long-tailed macaque, Mouse deer, Proboscis monkey, Silvered langur, Slow loris
  • Excellent for: Wildlife festivals

Danum Valley

Danum Valley is arguably Borneo’s premier wildlife location and boasts all ten of Sabah’s primate species. Early morning is the best time to enjoy the canopy walkway through the surrounding lowland rainforest and view the stunning birdlife. It also offers maybe the best chance to see orangutan in the wild.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Asian elephant, Malayan sun bear, Banteng, Sumatran rhino, orangutan
  • Excellent for: Wildlife festivals, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Orangutan watching, Birdwatching

Gomantong Caves & Forest Reserve

Sabah’s largest cave system is set in the heartland of a beautiful Rainforest reserve and home to many thousands of bats and cave swiftlets, whose nests are harvested for the Chinese soup trade. Simud Hitam (Black Cave) soars 90 meters and a boardwalk allows you to explore and watch the harvesters work.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Asian fairy bluebird, Cave swiftlet, Crested serpent eagle, Forest macaque, orangutan
  • Excellent for: Orangutan watching

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park in remote northeastern Sarawak, has an exceptional level of biological diversity with over 3,500 species of plants recorded in the park, including highly specialized orchids. Its 300 kilometres of caves provide a spectacular sight and home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats.

  • Where: Sarawak State
  • Ideal for viewing: Bearded pig, Bornean tarsier, Malayan sun bear, Rhinoceros hornbill, Wrinkle-lipped bat

Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park is dominated by the peak of Mount Kinabalu, and is probably one of the most important biological sites in the world. It harbours a remarkable botanical diversity with as many as 6,000 species of flora and fauna, over 600 species of butterflies, 320 species of birds and 100 species of mammal.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Bornean ferret badger, Oriental small-clawed otter, Rhinoceros hornbill, Serpent eagle, Sun bear
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Birdwatching

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

The Kinabatangan River snakes through Sabah’s lowlands for 560kms to reach the Sulu Sea. Along its length, a river safari will reveal a mosaic of riparian forest, oxbow lakes, nipah swamp and mangroves which supports a wide variety of mammal and birdlife who have grown surprisingly tolerant of human presence.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Wallace’s hawk eagle, orangutan, Proboscis monkey, Pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino
  • Excellent for: Wildlife festivals, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Orangutan watching, Birdwatching

Sepilok Forest Reserve & Orangutan Sanctuary

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is renowned for its work in rehabilitating orphaned orangutans, However, set in primary lowland rainforest, the reserve has much more to offer. The forest boardwalks make exploring easy, the birdwatching is superb and there is a tremendous variety of snakes and frogs to see.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Bornean pygmy elephant, Mouse deer, orangutan, Slow loris, Western tarsier
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Orangutan watching

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

This reserve occupies more than 122,500 hectares of a peninsula, surrounded by oil-palm plantations. The lowland forest contains many animals, some of which are highly endangered, as well as over 250 bird species. The mineral-rich mud volcanoes attract wildlife and there are many trails to explore.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Clouded leopard, orangutan, Proboscis monkey, Pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino
  • Excellent for: Orangutan watching, Birdwatching

Turtle Islands Marine Park

The tiny island of Selingan in the Sulu sea becomes a major turtle breeding site when large numbers of green-turtles (and to a lesser extent hawksbills) come ashore. If you stay overnight, you can watch them excavating their nests and laying a clutch of eggs, and see hatchlings being released into the sea.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Flying fox, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Collared kingfisher, Brown-throated sunbird

Wildlife trips

Borneo is one of the world’s great biodiversity hotspots. The area boasts a remarkable diversity of habitat that supports an intriguing array of species including; frogs that ‘fly’, fish that ‘walk’, monkeys that ‘dive’, plants that eat insects, lizards, snakes and, of course, orangutans and many other mammals.

8 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Sarawak - Walk on the Wild Side

This itinerary includes Bako National Park, where a network of trails allows you to explore the forest at dawn and dusk to view its proboscis monkeys and varied birdlife. The highlight, however, is a three-day jungle trek in search of wild orangutan, and a visit to a traditional Iban longhouse.

  • When to go: Apr-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,545 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Festival of Wildlife

Join the Wildlife Worldwide team plus expert naturalists and wildlife presenters Nick Baker and Nigel Marven, acclaimed photographers Nick Garbutt and Alex Hyde, and award-winning sculptor Nick Mackman in Borneo’s Danum Valley for this event in one of the world’s finest rainforests.

  • When to go: Jun
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,195 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Festival of Wildlife: Iban & National Parks Extension

This 7-day extension to Sarawak includes excursions to Bako and Talang-Satang National Parks to see orangutan, proboscis monkey and the rare Irawaddy dolphin. Head to a remote jungle lodge in the interior for more wildlife encounters and a chance to meet the local Iban community.

  • When to go: Jun
  • Duration exc. flights: 7 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £1,495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Festival of Wildlife: Bali & Komodo Dragons extension

This 7-day extension heads to the Indonesian archipelago of the Lesser Sunda Islands for an adventure in Komodo National Park, home to the infamous Komodo dragons. Continuing to West Bali National Park, spend a couple of days enjoying the prolific birdlife and coral reefs by boat and on foot.

  • When to go: May-Jun
  • Duration exc. flights: 7 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £1,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Festival of Wildlife: Sepilok & Kinabatangan Extension

This 6-day extension to Sabah travels to the Kinabatangan River, a wildlife sanctuary of immense significance. Stay at a wonderful lodge on the river and enjoy a full programme of jungle boat trips and excursions, before continuing to Sepilok, with visits to orangutan, sun bear and proboscis monkey sanctuaries.

  • When to go: Jun
  • Duration exc. flights: 6 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £1,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Sabah Wildlife Special

Travel to Borneo on a two-week trip that visits the best places to see Sabah’s wildlife. Enjoy boat trips to discover the extraordinary wildlife of Kinabatangan, including proboscis monkey, orangutan, Asian elephant and Sumatran rhino, and four nights at one of our favourite lodges in the Danum Valley.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,895 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Sabah & Sarawak Adventure

Search for the wildlife of the interiors amongst the dense jungle and remote rivers of Sabah & Sarawak. Designed to introduce you to the area's top eco-destinations, highlights include a visit to a headhunter tribe, watching orangutans in Sepilok, and Tabin Reserve, home to some of Borneo’s unique species.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,195 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Rainforests & Rivers

Join this small group tour with acclaimed photographer Nick Garbutt to explore Borneo's stunning landscapes and spectacular forests. Sabah’s premier wildlife locations are home to a tremendous array of wildlife from the fabled orangutan and the improbable proboscis monkey to hornbills and singing tree frogs.

  • When to go: Apr-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

When to go

Sabah is a year round destination, though its rainfall is often higher in December and January. The best time for Sarawak, however, is from March to August and October to November.

Seasons

  • Dry season

    Mar to Sep: While Borneo’s tropical rainforests receive rainfall year-round, March to September are the drier months
  • Green season

    Oct to Feb: The wet season brings more rainfall, but higher river levels allow for closer encounters with wildlife

Wildlife events

  • Apr to Oct: Green turtles come ashore to lay eggs

Accommodation

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