Highlights of Borneo wildlife and orangutan holidays

Borneo is an area of unrivalled biodiversity, where perpetually humid and steamy rainforests that straddle the equator are filled with interesting flora and fauna. Our local experts demonstrate genuine commitment to sharing the diverse natural and cultural history of their beautiful corner of the world and its wild inhabitants, making it one of the world’s most rewarding and educating destinations. The wildlife sanctuaries of Sepilok are renowned for their conservation and rehabilitation work. Read more about the work of our Natural World Hero Wong Siew Te who founded the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah.

Borneo is synonymous with wildlife and is the best destination for orangutan holidays

Orangutans and the Danum Valley

Orangutan holidays in Borneo are a major draw for visitors to the Sabah region. At one time only found in the jungles between southern China and Java, this loveable primate can either be tracked in the wild or visited in one of the rehabilitation centres such as Sepilok. It is said that up to 80% of the natural habitat of the orangutans has been deforested, which makes spotting them in the wild much more challenging. 

Borneo’s pygmy elephants are far more diminutive and less aggressive in nature than other Asian elephants, and by comparison very little is known about them. It is estimated that there are around 1000 to 1500 in existence with the most likely places to spot them being Danum Valley and the Kinabatangan River, where they roam the forests along with the rare Sumatran rhino, sun bears and clouded leopards, whilst crocodiles ply through the river’s waters. 

By visiting the orangutans in their sanctuaries you will be contributing to their survival, whilst witnessing their uncannily human-like movements.

The Kinabatangan River and Borneo Islands

Endemic to Borneo, the unusual and shy proboscis monkey is usually heard before it is seen and is easily detected by its goose-like honking sound. More visible on boat tours of the Kinabatangan River, they can be seen foraging for leaves which is their sole dietary intake. If you manage to locate a group of the monkeys, look out for the dominant male leader who has an enormous red nose which, surprisingly, they use to attract mates. These primates are also unique in that their webbed feet allow them to out-swim predators and they often enter the water with a comical belly flop, fantastic to witness - a true highlight of anyone's Borneo wildlife holiday! The Bornean gibbon is another loud and proud primate, and the protective early morning call of this long-armed ape can often be heard, even a kilometre away!

Finally, the marine life of the coral islands of Borneo such as Lankayan and Mataking cannot be overlooked. Home to endangered green and hawksbill turtles, several shark species, barracuda and countless tropical fish such as cuttlefish, you will find some of the world’s best diving right here, as well as some of the most elusive aquamarine wonders, such as ghost pipefish and mandarin fish.

The culmination of all of the above make for the pinnacle of all Borneo holidays, with tropical rainforests, river safaris, pristine beaches and weird and wonderful wildlife.

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