Flowing from the Crocker Range in Southwest Sabah to the Sulu Sea southeast of Sandakan, the majestic 560 kilometre Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest waterway and one of the top wildlife watching destinations in Southeast Asia. Passing through a diverse range of habitats including dipterocarp forest, seasonally flooded riparian forest, oxbow lakes, nipah and mangroves the lower level forests and mangroves around Sukau and Abai are the best spots to search out a remarkable diversity of wildlife; including proboscis monkeys, orangutan, gibbons, Bornean pygmy elephants, tarsiers, slow loris, macaque monkeys, crocodiles, freshwater sharks, Irrawaddy dolphins, hornbills and a variety of other birds.
Small villages are dotted along the river banks, home to the local Sabah natives, the Orang Sungai (the River People). Living peacefully alongside the local wildlife, visits can be made to the villages to learn about daily life and understand the rich indigenous culture of the area.
Whilst staying on the Kinabatangan you can search out wildlife on foot if your lodge has boardwalks surrounding the accommodation, or head out on the many cruises available. Running morning, noon and night these offer the best way to see the local residents with the help of the excellent nature guides in the area.