Holidays to Sepilok, Borneo

Sepilok, in the Sabah region of Borneo, is home to the world-famous orangutan sanctuary. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is unquestionably one of the main draws of Borneo, and rightly so: witnessing these intelligent and eminent creatures is exhilarating. Once you’ve visited, you’ll understand just what all the fuss is about.

Fourteen miles from the town of Sandakan, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre an area of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. The Centre is home to around 80 orangutans who live freely on the reserve. Injured apes are provided with medical care and those that have been rescued from captivity are rehabilitated.  The orangutans are taught important life-skills such as climbing and nest-building. Their diet is kept purposefully simple to encourage them to learn to forage for more interesting food and prepare for life outside of the sanctuary. The Outdoor Nursery platform is a highlight of the Centre with its jungle-gym on the edge of the forest. It serves as a training ground and play area to help build the confidence of the animals that have been affected by cruelty. Expect to fill your camera’s memory with snaps of these intelligent creatures engaging in cheeky antics, that are sometimes downright hilarious. As one of the closest relatives to humans, orangutans are wonderfully expressive and mothers and their young form close bonds which can be heart-meltingly tender to see. 

As well as seeing the orangutans, there are nature trails around Sepilok to explore the tropical highland rainforest and lowland mangrove swamps and witness other wildlife indigenous to the area like monkeys, lizards and Bornean Pygmy elephants.

Highlights

  • Borneo’s majestic orangutans living freely

  • Explore tropical rainforest

Eline
Travel Designer
Let's talk
I have lived in Vietnam and travelled extensively in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Map of Sepilok

When to go to Sepilok

Sepilok's climate is split between the drier season from February to August, and the rainy season from September to January. Rainfall can be unpredictable throughout the year so it's best to be prepared and pack your raincoat.

January

lightning
28°

In January, the winds can bring occasional stormy weather across Sabah, with high rainfall expected. If you fancy climbing Mount Kinabalu you should wait until later in the year when the paths will be drier.  

February

sun-cloud-rain
28°

February sees less rainfall, with the beaches enjoying the best weather.  

March

sun-cloud
29°

The rain eases off throughout March with sunnier, drier days. It's a great time to visit forests and jungles without the crowds.  

April

sun
30°

April is a great time of year to visit with warm, dry days and minimal rainfall.  

May

sun
31°

May is another great month to visit, with ideal weather conditions for relaxing on the beaches or trekking in the jungle.  

June

sun
30°

The great weather continues with hot and dry conditions.  

July

sun-cloud
30°

July is typically one of the driest months with blue skies and sunshine, meaning hotels get booked up quickly so it's best to plan your trip well in advance.  

August

sun-cloud-rain
31°

Early booking is highly recommended in August as the favourable weather continues.  

September

sun-cloud-rain
30°

The dry season continues into September, although increased rainfall is expected towards the end of the month.  

October

sun-cloud-rain
30°

Rainfall increases but there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy.  

November

sun-cloud-rain
29°

Rainy season hits in November with a strong chance of thunderstorms and grey days. It's a great time to visit the lush jungles when the wildlife is thriving.  

December

lightning
29°

December is one of the wettest months with regular rainfall and thunderstorms, making trekking and wildlife spotting difficult.