Tailor-Made

Sabah Wildlife Adventure

This safari takes in the best that Borneo has to offer for wildlife encounters, including an orangutan rehabilitation centre, proboscis monkeys leaping through the trees, pygmy elephants in the rainforest and the world’s best location to see the elusive clouded leopard.

Duration 14 Days
Price From $7,945
When Apr - Oct
Destination Borneo

Safari Overview

As the third-largest island in the world and a hub of biodiversity, Borneo is home to no shortage of fantastic wildlife destinations. The island is split between three countries – Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia – but it is the Malaysian state of Sabah that provides perhaps the finest safari experiences that Borneo has to offer. Wild orangutans are an undoubted highlight, while primeval forests protect elusive and endangered species like the banteng, binturong, clouded leopard, bearded pig and Sumatran rhino. This two-week journey through Sabah allows travellers to experience the fullness and richness of this intoxicating corner of Southeast Asia, taking in plenty of wildlife and wilderness as well as mountain ascents, animal sanctuary visits and beachside relaxation.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Witness the feeding of orangutans up close at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Get off the beaten track in Deramakot Forest Reserve, the best place in the world to spot clouded leopards.
  • Explore the forests where orangutans live in the wild, as well as gibbons, proboscis monkeys and leaf monkeys as they swing through the trees of their natural habitat.
  • Embark on river safaris along the wildlife oasis of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Stay deep in primal rainforest at Danum Valley, some of the oldest jungle in the world and home to 10 species of primate, as well as pygmy elephants, sun bears and clouded leopards.
  • Discover the rich vegetation of Tabin Wildlife Reserve, where the mineral-rich mud volcanoes attract many animals such as gibbons, bantengs, clouded leopards and an incredible array of tropical birds and reptiles.
  • Walk down forest trails, view the jungle from a towering canopy walkway and go on guided night walks to spot nocturnal creatures.
  • Visit the Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about the great work being done to preserve these endangered species.
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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Sepilok

On arrival at Sandakan Airport, you will be met and transferred to Sepilok, a haven for nature and the perfect base to visit the nearby animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres.

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort D

Day 2

Sepilok - Deramakot Forest Reserve

This morning is yours to spend at leisure, relaxing and recuperating after your flight. However, if you wish to go to the morning feeding at the orangutan centre, this is an easy walk away. You'll then enjoy an early lunch at a nearby resort before setting off into the heart of Sabah to the Deramakot Forest Reserve in the early afternoon (the drive takes 4-5 hours). After a sobering and thought-provoking drive through palm oil plantations, you will enter the gate of the reserve and be welcomed by the sounds of the rainforest. Upon arrival at the lodge you will have a brief introduction to the facilities, before checking into your room. After dinner, head out on a night drive in search of the clouded leopard. Deremakot offers the best possible chance of seeing a clouded leopard in the wild, so keep your fingers crossed and your eyes peeled!

Day 3

Deramakot Forest Reserve

Deramakot Forest Reserve is a great example of conservation through sustainable tourism. Spend today exploring the reserve, one of the best wildlife locations in Borneo, home to rare species like the clouded leopard, binturong, slow loris, flat-headed cat, pygmy elephant, colugo, Bornean gibbon and otter civet. It is also home to over 250 different species of bird. Wake up with the forest at dawn and head out on an early-morning drive with your expert guide. Return back to the lodge for breakfast before a 2.5km guided walk. Just be careful of the leeches! Return back to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon you'll head to Balat on the other side of the Kinabatangan River to search for orangutans (amongst other wildlife). Enjoy a simple dinner on the banks of the river, then head back to the lodge, spotting nocturnal creatures as they begin to emerge. Return to the lodge at around 9pm for a shower and a good night's sleep!

Day 4

Deramakot Forest Reserve

Another day to explore this rich rainforest with your naturalist guides. Enjoy an early-morning safari before returning back to the lodge for breakfast. Head out again on a jungle walk to learn more about this fragile ecosystem. Lunch is served back at the lodge and the rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure, either relaxing or doing some birdwatching from your room. In the evening, head out on another game drive in search of the clouded leopard.

Day 5

Deramakot Forest Reserve - Sandakan

Your final early-morning wake-up to enjoy an excursion through the forest. Return back to the lodge for breakfast and check out. At 9am you'll head back to Sandakan to arrive at around 2pm. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort B, L, D

Day 6

Sepilok - Lower Kinabatangan

This morning you will head back to the Orangutan Sanctuary to visit the nursery platform, where you can watch the young and juvenile orangutans play. You also will catch the morning feeding of the older apes at the main viewing platform. After your visit, you will be transferred to the Sim Sim Jetty to make your shared boat across the bay and into the mouth of the Kinabatangan River. Along with the 80-minute transfer, you will witness small local communities at the river's edge, as well as a variety of wildlife. In the evening, join a sunset river cruise to see the fireflies light up the foliage like a Christmas tree; this area has the highest number of fireflies in Malaysia!

Overnight: Abai Jungle Lodge B, L, D

Day 7

Kinabatangan River

Wake up to the calls of nature and take an early-morning river trip to Pitas Lake to observe wildlife. After breakfast, you are invited to join our tree planting project with the locals and enjoy a simple lunch arranged by the villagers at Abai Village. After lunch, join a shared boat transfer to continue up the river to Sukau Village in search of primates, especially wild orangutans, birds and pygmy elephants. Late afternoon, enjoy a cruise to Menanggul River, a small tributary of the Kinabatangan which forms a narrow jungle corridor rich in wildlife.

Overnight: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge B, L, D

Day 8

Kinabatangan River with Gomantong Caves

Rise early and head out on a shared morning river safari to discover a variety of flora and fauna along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Species to be found include orangutans, proboscis monkeys, tree snakes, crocodiles, monitor lizards, macaques and much more. Herds of wild elephant may also be seen passing along the banks of the river. Late afternoon you can visit the Gomantong Caves in the 3,924-hectare Gomantong Forest Reserve, where orangutans, mouse deer, wild boar and buffalo can sometimes be spotted. Up to 1 million bats of 64 differing species are thought to live in the caves. Observe as the swiftlets take their last flights before nesting for the night, and the bats fly out of the cave at sunset to head off into the dark to forage. If you’re brave, experience the thrill of bats fluttering past your face inside the cave.

Overnight: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge B, L, D

Day 9

Kinabatangan River - Tabin Wildlife Reserve

An early start this morning as you transfer to Lahad Datu Airport where you meet up with the other guests travelling to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The journey to Tabin takes around 1.5 hours, so you'll arrive at the Tabin Wildlife Resort by midday. Tabin was created in 1984 to preserve the disappearing animals of Sabah, and is world renowned for its excellent birdwatching. There are seven primate species found here, including the orangutan and proboscis monkey, the three largest mammals of Sabah (the pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino and banteng, a species of wild cattle) and its largest predator, the Sunda clouded leopard (rarely seen). Head out and explore in search of these magnificent and endangered creatures.

Overnight: Tabin Wildlife Resort B, L, D

Day 10

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

There are a variety of excursions on offer to help you enjoy the beautiful local area. Enjoy trails through the nearby forest, and visit active mud volcanoes which the animals use as a salt lick, giving you the possibility of coming into contact with flora and fauna which is endemic to the region. You may opt to wake at dawn and take part in a walk to spot some of the 300 species of bird which call Tabin home. Trek through the local rainforest to enjoy a soak in the natural pool which sits beneath the Lipad Waterfall, or go on night walks to spot nocturnal creatures. At Tabin you are simply immersed in wonderful wildlife!

Overnight: Tabin Wildlife Resort B, L, D

Day 11

Tabin Wildlife Reserve - Danum Valley

After breakfast you will be transferred back to Lahad Datu, then on to the renowned Danum Valley. On arrival at your rainforest lodge you will have time to sit back, relax and enjoy your new surroundings. Danum Valley is one of the best remaining examples of how Borneo's forests used to be, with a thick tropical canopy and a variety of wildlife. In the afternoon you can join one of the fascinating treks, and in the evening after dinner, there is a night drive to search for nocturnal creatures.

Overnight: Borneo Rainforest Lodge B, L, D

Days 12-13

Danum Valley

Set up to protect the area from logging, Danum encompasses 43 square kilometres of pristine rainforest and is home to a variety of endemic wildlife, including, orangutans, flying squirrels, clouded leopard, elephants, gibbons and many birds. With a towering canopy walkway and a beautiful viewpoint which looks out over the jungle canopy and the dramatic mountains, this conservation area is definitely a must if you're in Borneo. Spend your days with one of the naturalist guides exploring the many nature trails and waterfalls, take a dip in the natural Jacuzzi pool or float down the Danum River on tubes. In the evening, dine at the lodge before embarking on an exciting night drive in search of nocturnal animals.

Overnight: Borneo Rainforest Lodge B, L, D

Day 14

Danum Valley - Lahad Datu - Kota Kinabalu

Today you'll have one last morning to spend relaxing in the jungle before being transferred to Lahad Datu for your onward flight to Kota Kinabalu. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel or assisted to meet your onward flight.

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.

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