Borneo is one of the world’s greatest holiday destinations for nature lovers. A visit to the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, allows you to come in close contact with this remarkable “man of the forest”. Orang-utans are so finely adapted to the rainforests that they are unable to adapt well to any other habitat.
The Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary is set in 15 square miles of beautiful lush rainforest. It opened in 1964 to help once captive orang-utans learn to fend for themselves in the wild. Interesting and exciting to watch, these large red apes are also astonishingly gentle, highly intelligent and will gaze at you with almost disconcerting frankness.
Don’t only visit the orangutans, there are other activities to explore such as birding, trekking and river trips in the neighbouring areas.
Kinabatangan wildlife safaris – It is not surprising that given this rich mosaic of habitats, the abundance and rich diversity of wildlife are so apparent along the Kinabatangan River and floodplain. The exceptional variety of primates that share these forests is astounding: Orang-utans, the agile Gibbon, Borneo’s Proboscis Monkey are three of its most charismatic primates. Less often seen are the nocturnal flying lemur, slow Loris and tarsiers. This sanctuary home to crested serpent eagles, rhinoceros hornbills and a variety of other birdlife is also a paradise for birders.
During the drier months of the year, the Asian Elephant roam these forests during their annual migration to the floodplain. With the large network of swamps and lakes in the region, a large number of aquatic animals inhabit the Kinabatangan River including, freshwater rays and sharks; crocodiles and wild otters. Exploring the Kinabatangan River in the early evening, as Proboscis Monkeys roost in the trees along the riverbank and elephants move through the undergrowth is an unforgettable experience.
Mt Kinabalu walking holidays – The highest mountain in Borneo rises majestically into the sky at 4,095m. Dominating the surrounding landscape and often shrouded in mist, Mt Kinabalu offers the traveller the chance to watch the sunrise over the state of Sabah as you reach the peak. On descending the mountain why not refresh yourself at the Poring Hot Springs, a natural open air spa where you can bathe amidst the tropical rainforests of Borneo. No climbing experience is required to conquer the peak and only one night is spent on the mountain. Although, it is harder than it looks.
Sipadan Island diving holidays – The name of Sipadan is simply legendary in diving circles, conjuring images of twirling tornados of barracudas and jacks, patrolling hammerhead sharks, millions of technicoloured reef fish and, above all, dozens of sea turtles. Sipadan is considered one of the two or three top diving destinations in the world. This small, rainforest-covered tropical island rising from a 700 meter abyss in the Celebes Sea is a destination the committed diver cannot miss. Other locations offer fantastic diving include Lankayan Island and Mataking Island.
Danum Valley safari holidays – Your holiday not be complete without a visit to the famous Danum Valley. Set up to protect the area from logging, Danum Valley encompasses 438 kilometres squared of pristine rainforest. Aside from this the conservation area has a variety of wildlife including, orang-utans, gibbons, a variety of birdlife, clouded leopard, elephant and if one is very lucky the Sumatran rhino. With both a canopy walkway and a viewpoint which looks out over the jungle canopy and the dramatic mountains this conservation area is definitely worth dropping in on.
Best time to visit Borneo is between March and October although this does not preclude travel at other times of the year. Travellers should note that as this is a rainforest destination they should be prepared for rain at any time of the year.