Seeing wildlife in Borneo is a highlight of any visit to this tropical island. Remarkably human-like orangutans hide deep within the jungle and pot-bellied proboscis monkeys sit high in the trees. Pygmy elephants move through the rainforest and at dusk, flying lemurs soar from one branch to the next while millions of bats stream out from some of the world’s largest caves.

The list of wildlife in Borneo is rich and varied: sun bears, crocodiles, elephants, gibbons, monkeys, bearded pigs, civet cats, leopard cats, hornbills, kingfishers, barking deer, mouse deer, frogs, lizards, snakes, slow lorises, elusive clouded leopards and western tarsiers, and so much more. Some, such as proboscis monkeys, can only be found in Borneo. Sightings of wild animals are never guaranteed but whatever you’re most hoping to see, we can advise you where to go to increase your odds.

As wild animals tend to move around and there’s such a variety of wildlife in Borneo, we recommend visiting a combination of rehabilitation or conservation centres, national parks, and preserved areas. Learn about the largest tree-dwelling ape, the orangutan, at Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre or Semenggoh Nature Reserve. Drift down the Kinabatangan River looking for crocodiles and proboscis monkeys. Take a night walk through Bako National Park keeping an eye on the trees for a flying lemur, civet cat, or slow loris, and along the trail for frogs, snakes, and spiders. Sit outside Deer Cave as the sun sets in Mulu National Park to watch the sky fill with millions of bats heading out for their nightly hunt. Wake early at Tabin Wildlife Reserve and follow the sound of gibbons to the forest edge. If it’s pygmy elephants you’re looking for, book an extra day in Sukau, Tabin, or Danum Valley and hope that luck is on your side. Everywhere you go, look out for hornbills, owls, eagles, and the ever-cheeky macaques.

Below are just a few sample itineraries and suggestions of places to stay where you may encounter a bit of wildlife in Borneo. For more details or to inquire about a holiday in Borneo, give us a call at UK 020 7112 0019 or email borneo@fleewinter.com. Our expert has spent months visiting lodges, nature reserves, rehabilitation centres, and national parks looking for wildlife and great places for a holiday.

Where to see...

The most reliable places to see the "man of the forest" are Semenggoh Nature Reserve and Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. Daily feedings draw the orangutans to platforms where you can watch and take photos. When fruits are in season, roughly the months of October-February, the apes are less likely to visit the feeding platforms. At Sepilok, there's still a good chance to see young orangutans in the nursery.