Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. William Pryer, the first British resident of Sandakan and its creator, visited the Kinabatangan River in 1881. His notebook entries indicated that he had also seen hornbills and dazzling blue kingfishers. During the much sought-after morning or evening river trip, one may still frequently spot kingfishers and hornbills even after more than a century has passed.

One of the richest ecosystems on Earth is maintained by the powerful Lower Kinabatangan River. It is also acknowledged as Malaysia’s largest RAMSAR facility and the first in Sabah. The surrounding forest is home to 10 species of primates, making it one of only two known locations in the world, in addition to being home to Borneo’s native orang utan and proboscis monkey.

With a staggering 560 km from its source in Southwest Sabah to its outflow at the Sulu Sea on the East Coast, this river is the second longest in Malaysia. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary was gazetted on 26,000 hectares overall under the State’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

The greatest times to observe the animals are on a river trip at dawn or dusk. It’s possible to see Bornean pygmy elephants munching on the banks of the river, see Proboscis performing tricks like hopping from tree to tree, or perhaps spot a wild orangutan. Rodents? Yes, you can usually see saltwater crocs lurking along riverbanks. What’s even more exciting is when you can see their eyeballs sticking out of the water a little bit. Either way, be careful.

Cool Fact This region is home to all eight of the species of hornbills found in Borneo. The Oriental Pied Hornbill and the Rhinoceros Hornbill are the two hornbill species that are most frequently spotted. The Lower Kinabatangan is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because to the variety of bird species that can be seen here. Travel agents who specialize in birdwatching tours were frequently contacted by bird enthusiasts from far and wide to arrange for a meticulously planned birding excursion.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

Numerous well-known local tour operators operate lodges in the Sukau, Bilit, and Abai regions. Their packages often include lodging (from budget hostels to opulent river lodges), transportation, food, and guided excursions. It is also possible to arrange additional trips, such as night walks or night boats, to see crocodiles, birds, and other nocturnal wildlife. How can I go there? Some tour companies give you the option of going on a 1.5–2-hour boat voyage from Sandakan, or you can usually travel overland, which takes approximately the same amount of time. If you decide to take the bus, you will stop in Kota Kinabatangan and arrange to be picked up.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

For tourists of all stripes, the Kinabatangan offers fantastic wildlife and educational escapes that are also family-friendly.

While a three-day stay in the Kinabatangan is advised, an overnight journey is possible. You will have a higher chance of seeing this fauna if you remain longer.

A reputable homestay program called MESCOT KOPEL, which offers guests a genuine chance to experience Orang Sungai life, may also be of interest to you. It is offered in nearby villages. Participate in their cultural events or perhaps give the local farming a try!

Google Reviews

Absolutely amazing experience – we took several boat trips down this river and loved every minute. We saw orangutans, crocodiles, lots of different types of monkeys including proboscis monkeys – lots of them. So many different types of birds, the kingfishers are exquisite. It is a huge river and really a very beautiful place to come and visit. – Sonya

Amazing experience – stayed for 3 days 2 nights and went on the river twice each day. We saw proboscis monkeys, and watched an orangutan building its nest at the side of the river for the night – apparently they do this each day in a different nest. Saw many pairs of Hornbill birds, gangs of kingfishers, giant lizards and various types of monkeys. – Sarah

We had a nice time there. The river is massive and gorgeous. Did three boat cruises(afternoon, evening, morning), and saw the rare Borneo Pygmy Elephant, wild Bornean orangutan and so many Proboscis monkeys. The gorgeous Rhinoceros hornbills and the Blue kingfishers were a delight to see and this place is paradise for it. The only concern was that the guides from all lodges who operate the boat cruises there were trying too much to spot the birds during the dark time, and disturbing them and the other animals quite often and for too long, which was very awkward and uncomfortable to experience. Would have avoided the evening cruise if knew about so before. So, hopefully, the concerned authorities can do something about it in the future. – Sagar Kshetri

More Singapore Blogs

Let us know your thoughts

Leave a reply

Finest Services