Measuring a staggering 560 kilometres, the Kinabatangan is Malaysia’s second longest river. Known for a high frequency of exotic wildlife sightings, the river’s oxbow lakes and mangrove swamps provide the perfect sanctuary for saltwater crocodiles, while the lush jungle and leafy riverbanks offer prime viewing opportunities for the indigenous proboscis monkeys, orangutans and pygmy elephants.
The river begins its journey in the immense mountains of southwest Sabah, winding its way around the glorious Borneo landscape before finally merging with the glimmering Sulu Sea. Boat rides up and down the river allow visitors to admire at leisure some of the intriguing wildlife on view, including saltwater crocodiles, Asian pygmy elephants, ten species of primate (including Borneo’s indigenous proboscis monkey and orangutan), and a fantastic array of over 250 species of birds.
Large parts of the land surrounding the upper river has unfortunately suffered deforestation, but Lower Kinabatangan still remains one of the best places in Sabah – if not in the whole of Southeast Asia – to catch a glimpse of one of these magnificent animals. As well as the fascinating wildlife, the Kinabatangan area boasts beautiful limestone caves at Gomantong Hill, captivating mangrove swamps, stunning oxbow lakes and miles and miles of virtually untouched riverine and dry land forests.
With a range of simple yet comfortable lodges dotted along the riverbank, a few days spent on the Kinabatangan River in the company of an expert naturalist will reward you with some of the most captivating wildlife encounters in Asia.