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Orang-Utans & River Safari

About the Challenge

This wonderful trip offers a fabulous way to experience Borneo’s spectacular rainforest and wildlife, and to unwind after your trek!

Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary is one of the highlights of any visit to Sabah. Surrounded by a 43km2 Forest Reserve, the centre was set up in 1964 and re-introduces rescued or orphaned orang-utans to the wild. The released apes often retain the habits they have learned at the centre and regularly come back to the feeding stations, giving us a wonderful opportunity to observe them.

We continue our wildlife discovery with a river safari on Kinabatangan River. Malaysia’s second-longest river, the Kinabatangan flows across Sabah; the lower Kinabatangan was designated a Wildlife Sanctuary in 2005. This protected eco-system is widely considered to be one of the best places to view wildlife in South-East Asia.

We cruise the waterways, exploring rainforest, ox-bow lakes and mangrove swamps, looking out for proboscis monkeys, orang-utans, gibbons, crocodiles and pygmy elephants, and birdlife such as hornbills and kingfishers. We stay for two nights in an eco-friendly river lodge, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings – a wonderful place to enjoy the serenity of the river and rainforest surroundings.

This trip is remote and fairly adventurous with some early starts to maximise wildlife-spotting, but there’s plenty of time to relax and watch the river go by!

  • (main group departs Kota Kinabalu same day)

    An early flight takes us from Kota Kinabalu across Sabah to Sandakan, where we are met and driven the short distance to Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary. We will be able to witness the morning feeding – a wonderful opportunity to see these wonderful primates close up. They truly are one of the most intelligent and human-like of the great apes (orang-utan means ‘man of the forest’) and their facial expressions and actions will entertain, fascinate and awe you. Time permitting, we also visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where over 30 sun bears have been rescued from captivity.

    After lunch we transfer to the boat jetty in Sandakan for our beautiful cruise up the Lower Kinabatangan River, passing mangrove forests and looking out for wildlife. 

    Breaking the journey en-route, we arrive at our river lodge and check in. We then enjoy a boat trip up the Kinabatangan River to the even more remote Menanggul River, in search of proboscis monkeys and other wildlife. Night River Lodge.

    Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided

  • An early start – prime wildlife-viewing time – sees us back on board for bird watching and spotting wildlife at an oxbow lake. Weather permitting, we can walk the lush riverine forest around the lake. We return to the lodge for breakfast and are free to relax. There is a rainforest trail from the lodge, where birds, orang-utans and red leaf monkeys are seen fairly frequently – or just relax in the restaurant or on the sun deck and enjoy the views. Later in the afternoon another river cruise takes you down the Menanggul River in search of wildlife, returning at dusk. Night River Lodge.

    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner provided

  • After an early breakfast, we return by boat to Sandakan (approx 2.5 hrs), looking out for wildlife along the river banks. On arrival at Sandakan, transfer to the airlport for the short flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Here you are free to relax and explore as you wish. Night hotel.

    Breakfast and Lunch provided; provide own Dinner

  • We transfer to the airport for our international flight via Kuala Lumpur.

    Breakfast provided


    Important Information

    Extension requires a minimum of 2 people to operate

    NB: It is advisable to book early to guarantee availability and avoid any disappointment.


    What's included?

    - 2 nights stay at Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge and 1 night at Sabah Oriental Hotel in Kota Kinabalu in twin/double rooms

    - Meals as indicated in itinerary; expect them to be fairly local in style

    - Entrance fee to Reserve

    - Internal flights between Kota Kinabalu & Sandakan; internal flight taxes

    - All transportation by river cruise and other transfers

    - Local English-speaking guide

    NB: If usual accommodation is unavailable a similar alternative may be offered


    What's not included?

    - Meals as noted in itinerary

    - Any entrance fees to optional sites or activities

    - Any personal spending, extra drinks, snacks or souvenirs

Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    This challenge requires a minimum of participants

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience, fitness and ability as well as all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. If you have concerns about your fitness or if you have reduced mobility please do contact us for a confidential chat about whether this challenge is appropriate for you.

    For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

Challenges 2019-2020

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