The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was set up in 1964 and is the best known of the four orang utan rehabilitation centres in the world. The centre covers 43 square kilometers within the 4,500 hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and is located approximately 25 km form Sandakan.
Sepilok is a sanctuary for injured, orphaned or rescued orang utans who are trained how to survive in the forest; a learning process that can take years. Upon graduation rehabilitated orang utan are released into the surrounding forest. Many of the orang utan living in the forest return to the centre at the twice daily feeding times, giving visitors a unique chance to get close to orang utan. Since opening Sepilok has successfully released over one hundred orang utan into their natural forest habitat.
Whilst the orangutan centre is the most famous attraction at Sepilok there are a number of other excellent places to visit in the wider Sepilok area. These include the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and Rainforest Discovery Centre.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) officially opened in October 2014 and is dedicated to the world’s smallest and perhaps least known bear. The centre is located within walking distance of the orangutan centre.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is located within an oil palm estate about 38 kilometres from Sandakan. The habitat at Labuk Bay is fragmented with relatively small patches of mangrove forest surrounded by plantation land. As there is insufficient food the monkeys receive a supplementary diet. This privately run sanctuary has two observation platforms and feeding takes place at 9.30 am 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 3.15 pm and 4.30 pm.
At most feeding times groups of proboscis monkeys descend from the nearby forest and mangroves and head to the wooden platform for a free meal. These monkeys are wild but highly habituated and often get very close to visitors. The behaviour (and diet) of these proboscis monkeys is very different from the wild monkeys that live on the Kinabatangan River and other areas of Sabah and Sarawak. Labuk Bay offers a chance to get very close to proboscis monkeys. It also offers excellent photo opportunities. Other animals often seen at Labuk Bay include silver-leaf monkeys and hornbills.
The other major attraction at Sepilok is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which has an excellent 347-metre long canopy walkway. The canopy walkway is an excellent place for bird watching.
With so many great attractions it is worth staying overnight in Sepilok. We offer daytrips, 2D1N and 3D2N Sepilok wildlife tours. The overnight tours include accommodation at the excellent MY Nature Resort.
If you wish to visit both Sepilok and the Kinabatangan River please see our Kinabatangan River section. All of our Kinabatangan River tours include visits to the orangutan and sunbear centres at Sepilok.