One of the largest cave systems in Sabah, the Gomantong Caves are part of the Gomantong Forest Reserve. Home to swiftlets and millions of bats an evening visit sees the vast numbers of flying creatures flee their nests in hunt of the local insect population for their night feed. The caves are also a breeding ground for dung beetles and cockroaches, which are an intricate part of the cave system. A walk can be done along the boardwalk to protect your feet.
The Gomantong Caves are renowned for their huge swiftlet population, whose nets are harvested for birds nest soup and can be sold for well over $1000 per kg. Twice a year (between February and April & July and September) licensed locals climb rattan ladders to the roof of the caves and collect the nests. Swiftlet nests are protected under the Birds’ Nest Ordinance and the Forest Enactment of 1968; the Wildlife Department regulates the harvests. Heavy fines and penalties are imposed on unlicensed collectors. Birds’ nest collection is an ancient tradition. WWF dubbed Gomantong Caves the ‘best managed edible birds nest’ caves in the world.