Photo: The spectacular Kinabatangan River.

Kinabatangan River

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For the most accessible wildlife adventure in Sabah, the Kinabatangan River, Sabah’s longest, offers easy packaged experiences. Known for its remarkable wildlife, you are almost guaranteed to see one or several of Borneo’s endemic species in the wild here.

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You may even need more than all of your fingers to count them: 10 species of primates live here, including orangutans and big-nosed proboscis monkeys plus more than 200 species of birds with eight spectacular types of hornbills. If you’re lucky, you may even see the endangered Borneo pygmy elephant, which are small for elephants but still stand up to three metres tall and weigh a few tonnes, or the world’s smallest (and cutest) bear, the Malay sun bear. You could hit the jackpot with a clouded leopard and you’ll possibly catch crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbanks, and the list continues.

The Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest and offers great exploration potential. Photo taken in or around Kinabatangan River , Sandakan, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

The Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest and offers great exploration potential. Photo: Sally Arnold

The sad irony and the reason there is so much wildlife is that the mangrove forests and flood plains along the 560 kilometre-long river offer a narrow corridor of refuge from encroaching palm oil plantations—they’re stuck with nowhere else to go. As much as we despise this destruction of habitat, it's not a new thing; for centuries the forests edging this dirty brown swirl have attracted commerce and traders in search of highly prized rare timbers, rhinoceros horns, elephant and hornbill ivory, rattan, resin and edible bird’s nests found in the nearby Gomantong Caves. In 2005, 26,000 hectares of forest were gazetted as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, and although it's still not a fully protected national park, ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Kinabatangan River
130 km from Sandakan

Location map for Kinabatangan River

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