One of just four orangutan sanctuaries worldwide, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) was founded in 1964 with the aim of rehabilitating baby orangutans and those saved from captivity. Arguably the best known in the world for its groundbreaking work in protecting these much-loved primates, it remains Sabah’s premier attraction for wildlife enthusiasts and travellers looking to explore Borneo’s natural wonders. Sepilok offers the best opportunity to witness the ‘man of the forest’ in a beautiful setting, occupying 15 square miles of virgin rainforest within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve – the only habitat in which the loveable primates are able to exist so comfortably.
A visit here is often cited as one of the highlights of our Borneo holidays.
Located just 25 kilometres north of Sandakan, the primary goal of Sepilok may be orangutan rehabilitation, but it also focuses on public education, conservation projects and exercises as well as research and information on other endangered animals like the rhinoceros, making it an important centre for wildlife and ecology. During the tour, a boardwalk will take you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the orangutan are fed milk and bananas twice daily at both 10.00am and 3.00pm by the rangers that work within the park. They are deliberately fed bland foods in the hope that they will start to forage for themselves and become more independent, hopefully being released back into the wild. We would advise that you visit at one of the feeding times suggested to ensure that you get to see the orangutans during the height of their daily activity. Also attracted by the food during feeding hours, long-tailed macaques are known to frequent the centre’s grounds.
One of the biggest trappings when visiting Sepilok and the Sabah region of Borneo is to concentrate on Orangutans and Orangutans alone; this sanctuary offers the traveller an opportunity to truly appreciate the great biodiversity of this island in all its various forms. We recommend you spend more than one day taking advantage of the birding, trekking and trips along the river in the neighbouring areas of Sepilok to fully appreciate the other natural and wildlife attractions.
Sepilok Nature Resort is a uniquely positioned lodge, set in the heart of the tropical rainforest and bordering a lake that lies in the dense jungle. Offering comfortable timber chalets with hot and cold running water as well as air conditioning, we recommend our clients stay here to make the most of their time here, with all the creature comforts required after a long day in the jungle!
Fascinating and exciting to watch, these orange giant apes are also endearingly gentle, surprisingly flexible, intelligent creatures and will gaze at you with almost disconcerting frankness!