Borneo Wildlife Experience – Tabin Wildlife Reserve
The reserve is located less than 50km from the town of Lahad Datu and is one of the best locations in Borneo for easy access to bird life, wildlife, and the impressive lipid mud volcanoes.
Wildlife flock to Tabin Wildlife reserve area due to the rich mineral deposits supplied by mud volcanoes and salt water springs, which means there is always a good chance to spot animals visiting the mud volcanoes and springs.
About the Tabin Wildlife Reserve tour:
Our 3 day 2 night Tabin wildlife adventure will get you off road in 4×4’s spotting wildlife on both day drives and night drives. Borneo wildlife has a day shift and a night shift, each with different animals. Day drives combined with night drives ensure you get to see both.
In addition to the 4×4 wildlife spotting, you will have the opportunity for trekking around the lipid mud volcanoes, light jungle trekking and nightwalks all in search of more wildlife during your Borneo travels.
When you’re not out and about, you will find the jungle lodges at Tabin provide a relaxing, comfortable space for you to kick back. The lodges are thoughtfully placed amongst the rainforest keeping you in touch with nature for the duration of your stay.
About Tabin Wildlife Reserve:
Tabin Wildlife Reserve is an expansive wildlife reserve spanning more than 120,000 hectares (source: Sabah Wildlife Department). For perspective this is nearly twice the size of Singapore.
Tabin was designated as a protected area in 1984 by the government of Sabah. They realized the importance of this area and combined two existing forest reserves to create what is now Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The area is jointly managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Sabah Forestry Department.
The reserve is almost completely surrounded by logged forest that has been converted to oil palm plantations. The drive in to Tabin from nearby Lahad Datu provides an opportunity to gain some perspective on the importance of protected areas like Tabin Wildlife Reserve. As you pass from agricultural land to the protected reserve, you will see how dramatic the difference can be and have a unique opportunity to appreciate this type of tropical forest conservation.
Tabin is a geologically active area and currently contains seven distinct mud volcanoes. As these mud volcanoes bubble and push mud out of the earth, they bring minerals to the surface. These minerals are vital to the survival of many animals. Subsequently, the mud volcanoes see large numbers of animals visit.
The reserve is home to a significant amount of wildlife, but the original focus for protecting Tabin was to help preserve the Sumatran Rhino. Despite this effort and others, the Sumatran Rhino was declared extinct in the wild in 2015.
Only two Bornean rhinos remain in Tabin. They are located at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary, which is operated by the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA).
Although the rhino’s plight is a sad one, the good news is that Tabin Wildlife Reserve has become a haven for many of Borneo’s most remarkable species. Tabin is a real conservation success story and we are pleased to offer the opportunity to bring you to this haven for Borneo wildlife.
About Tabin Wildlife Reserve’s Wildlife:
Top Peak Travel Borneo’s team has been visiting Tabin for a years. We have seen so many great borneo wildlife species here that we have lost count. Below is a list of the more notable and iconic wildlife you can find at Tabin.
- Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis): World’s smallest rhino. Listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. Considered extinct in Sabah. The two remaining rhinos in Sabah are in captivity in Tabin Wildlife Reserve
- Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus) : The world’s smallest species of elephant. Listed by the IUCN as endangered.
- Tembadau/Banteng (Bos javanicus): Jungle cow. Listed as endangered by IUCN. It is believed there are less than 300 remaining in the wild in Sabah.
- Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus): Listed as critically endangered by IUCN.
- Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus): World’s smallest species of bear. Listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. This bear has scary long claws.
- Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi): Borneo’s largest wild cat species. Listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.
- Müeller’s Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri): Gibbons can be heard singing first thing in the morning. Listed as endangered by IUCN.
- Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana): Extremely rare otter. Listed as endangered by IUCN. Last spotted in Tabin in 2016. Fortunately, there are some more common otters which are frequently spotted.
There are many others including flying squirrels, colugo, tarsier, macaques, and slow loris.
- Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster): Common, yet beautiful water bird that hunts in rivers with its body submerged.
- Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone affinis borneensis): A beautiful bird with the males having long flowing tail feathers.
- Black and yellow broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus): Common yet stunningly beautiful, small bird. Jokingly called a time-bomb for it’s call which increases in intensity.
- Storm’s Stork (Ciconia stormi): Endangered and the rarest of all storks.
- Wrinkled hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus)
- Rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)
- Bushy crested hornbill (Anorrhinus galeritus)
- Oriental Pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)
- Wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus)
- White Crowned hornbill (Berenicornis comatus)
- Black hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)
- Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil): Critically endangered. Very rare in Borneo due to poaching for their beaks.
- Great Argus pheasant (Argusianus argus): Grand bird with a distinct call.
White Crowned Shama (Copsychus stricklandii): Friendly bird, endemic to Borneo.
These are just few of the many, many birds that can be seen at Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The list is too great to include here, but there are also pitta, woodpeckers, flowerpeckers, and more.
In addition to birds and mammals, Tabin has large numbers of reptiles, including many species of pit viper, frogs, and flying lizards.
Tabin will provide a wildlife experience you won’t forget.
Day 1 LAHAD DATU – TABIN WILDLIFE RESERVE
- Pick up in Lahad Datu Upon reaching Lahad Datu
- Transfer to Tabin Wildlife Reserve in 4WD vehicle (approximately one and a half hours).
- Check-in to the rustic timber lodges at Tabin Wildlife Resort.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife and insects on the way to your lodge.
- In the afternoon, embark on a short jungle trek, followed by a wildlife spotting drive in a 4×4, where you will visit the active Lipad Mud Volcano. Its minerals attract wildlife to visit for their mineral intake. You are also welcome to try bathe in the mud, which is rumored to help smooth the skin.
- Next, climb up to the observation tower and be marvel at the landscape affected by the mud volcano, as well as the lush Borneo rainforest surrounding it
- Return to the lodge and enjoy your dinner.
- Enjoy a CD/ slide presentation on the Tabin’s natural wonders.
- Head out for a night drive in search of Borneo wildlife.
Day 2 TABIN WILDLIFE RESERVE
- Early Morning is free time for you to enjoy any of the following activities that you would like:
- Bird watching
- Wildlife spotting drive in 4×4 (additional charge)
- Jungle trekking to the Lipad Waterfall. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the water or explore the surrounding area.
- In the afternoon, you can soak your feet at the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak made from a natural blend of herbs, to destress the muscles aches after your jungle trek.
- In the evening hop on the 4WD vehicle for the dusk drive to search for wildlife as the heat of the day begins to subside.
- After dinner, you can relax or go for a night safari walk along the trail nearby the resort area to look out for nocturnal birds, frogs, snakes, and other nocturnal wildlife before you call it a day.
Day 3 TABIN WILDLIFE RESERVE – LAHAD DATU
- After breakfast, you are free at your own leisure before the late morning drive back to Lahad Datu.