Ultimate Sabah Wildlife Safari

The Malaysian state of Sabah, located in northern Borneo, holds a great number of the island's treasures. Over two weeks, this fantastic trip takes travellers to Danum Valley, the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the Deramakot Forest Reserve and many more locations rich in wildlife and natural beauty.

Itinerary Summary

Duration
17 Days
Price
£10465
When
APR - OCT
Destination
BORNEO
Type
Tailor-Made
Duration Price When Destination Type
17 Days £10465 APR - OCT BORNEO Tailor-Made
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About this trip

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 and bearded pig. This epic 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

  • Experiencing the feeding of orangutans up close at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Exploring the forests where orangutans live in the wild, as well as gibbons, proboscis monkeys & leaf monkeys, swinging through the trees of their natural habitat.
  • Going on river safaris along the wildlife oasis of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Staying 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, clouded leopards and an incredible array of tropical birds & reptiles.
  • Exploring forest trails & waterfalls, view the jungle from a towering canopy walkway & go on guided night walks to spot nocturnal creatures.
  • Visiting the Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about the great work being done to preserve this endangered species.
  • Snorkelling amongst the coral gardens & relax on stunning beaches in the Tunku Rahman Marine Park.

Embedded Video Overview

A spectacular 17-day safari featuring the very best of Sabah

from $13,343 per person sharing, excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Sepilok

On arrival at Sandakan airport, you will be met and transferred to Sepilok; a nature haven and perfect base to visit the nearby animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres. Check into your lodge and enjoy your surroundings. At dusk you will visit the canopy walk at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in time to catch the red giant flying squirrels emerge from their nests and glide between the trees. Return to the lodge for dinner.

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort (D)

Day 2

Sepilok - Deramakot Forest Reserve

This morning you will have an early start as you are met and transferred to Deramakot. Travel to Telupid town (approximately 4-5 hours) where you will stop for a drink in the town before continuing onto Deramakot Forest Reserve. Arrive at Deramakot Forest Reserve before 5.00pm. Upon arrival at the lodge you'll meet your guide and 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. This is your best chance of seeing a clouded leopard in the world, so fingers crossed!

Days 3-4

Deramakot Forest Reserve

Deramakot Forest Reserve is a great example of conservation through sustainable tourism. Spend your time with your guide 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 birds. Your daily routine will be to wake up well before dawn and head out on an early morning drive with your expert guide in search of nocturnal wildlife as it finishes its days activities. See the jungle transform from night to day and see the different creatures start their day. Return back to the lodge for breakfast before a morning 2.5km guided walk (be careful of the leeches!). Return back to the lodge for lunch. One afternoon you'll head to Balat on the side of the 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 the nocturnal wildlife as it starts its day. Head for another night safari in search of wildlife, returning to the lodge late in the evening/early morning depending on your wildlife sightings. Grab a shower and head to bed ready for your early morning safari the next day!

Day 5

Deramakot - Sepilok

Rise early for breakfast and depart your lodge at 08:00 for the transfer to Sepilok, a nature haven and perfect base to visit the nearby animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres. After checking in, take some time to relax at your lakeside accommodation after your long journey.

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort (B, L, D)

Day 6

Sepilok - Kinabatangan River

After breakfast, visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for their morning feed (10:00). This sanctuary rehabilitates previously captive or orphaned orangutans to their natural surroundings, ready for release. You then have a tour of the Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn all about the project to save these adorable bears, the smallest and least known members of the species, whose population is rapidly diminishing. You are then transferred to Sandakan Yacht Club Jetty for your boat transfer to the Kinabatangan River. Along the 80 minute journey, you will witness small local communities at the river's edge, as well as a variety of wildlife. After checking into your riverside accommodation, relax before taking a sunset river cruise to see the fireflies light up the foliage like a Christmas tree. After dinner, go on a guided night walk in search of nocturnal creatures.

Day 7

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort - Sukau

Wake early for a morning cruise to Pitas Oxbow lake to observe wildlife. Enjoy a picnic breakfast in your boat while sitting in the calm waters of the oxbow lake, taking in the sound of wildlife all around you. Afterwards, visit Abai village to experience what riverside village life is like. This community set up their own tree planting incentive which successfully ran for over a decade. Enjoy lunch back at the lodge before taking your boat transfer further along Sabah’s longest river to your next riverside accommodation. Along the journey keep your eyes peeled as this stretch of the river is a favourite spot for pygmy elephants! In the late afternoon, enjoy a boat trip to Menanggul tributary, a small stretch of the Kinabatangan which forms a narrow jungle corridor rich in wildlife and is particularly good for primate spotting and the quieter electric boat offers a more tranquil experience for both you and the wildlife. Return to the lodge for dinner and have the remainder of the evening to relax at leisure.

Overnight: Sukau Rainforest Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 8

Kinabatangan River & Gomantong Caves

Rise early and head out on a shared morning river safari to explore a variety of fauna and flora 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. Return back to the lodge for lunch and some relaxation time before heading out in the late afternoon to 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 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 night to forage. Return to the lodge for dinner, before heading out on another boat safari in the evening in search of nocturnal wildlife (optional activity at additional cost).

Day 9

Kinabatangan River - Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Wake for breakfast before departing by road for 2 hours to reach the town of Lahad Datu where you will stop for lunch. From here, you will swap vehicles for a 4x4 and proceed in to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, a journey of 1.5 hours that will take you through the centre of a large oil palm plantation - a stark reminder of the challenges facing wildlife here in Borneo. Upon arrival at your simple forest lodge, check in and head out on a wildlife drive as dusk begins to fall in search of nocturnal wildlife.

Overnight: Tabin Wildlife Resort (B, L, D)

Day 10

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Take an early morning bird walk before breakfast (06:15-07:30) in search of resident birds and other wildlife. Following a hearty breakfast back at the lodge, head out on a 1-2 hour jungle trek in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, keeping your eyes peeled for the silver-leaf monkey and gibbons. The remainder of the afternoon is yours to relax in the jungle setting, before heading out on a night drive after dinner in search of leopard cats, civets, owls and other nocturnal species.

Overnight: Tabin Wildlife Resort (B, L, D)

Day 11

Tabin - 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 (about 12 noon) 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 (around 15:00) 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 430 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 a definite 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 floating 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 - Kota Kinabalu - Pulau Tiga

After your dalliance in the jungle, it is now time to retreat to paradise for some well-deserved relaxation surrounded by nature, on the spectacular Pulau Tiga. Wake up for your last early morning trek. After a transfer to Lahad Datu for your short flight to Kota Kinabalu (flight included), you will be met and driven 2.5 hours to Kuala Penyu jetty. You will then take the shared boat to the stunning Borneo Eagle Resort (about 30 minutes). The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight: Borneo Eagle Resort (B)

Days 15-16

Pulau Tiga

Enjoy your time at Borneo Eagle Resort by taking part in the myriad activities here, designed to help you reconnect with the natural world. Explore miles of forested trails and ancient ecosystems, practice making local handicrafts or try your hand at cooking. There are also activities such as yoga or guided meditation and a PADI Dive Centre. Of course, you can also relax at the pool, make use of the spa or just float above the coral gardens with your mask and snorkel!

Overnight: Borneo Eagle Resort (B)

Day 17

Pulau Tiga - Kota Kinabalu Airport

Today you will be transferred back to Kota Kinabalu by boat and private car to Kota Kinabalu airport to catch your onward flight home. Please note, check out is in the morning.

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.

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Borneo safaris.

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