Leif Cocks Sabah Orangutan Tour - Feb 2025

Travel type
Small group of up to 12 guests - Ages 13 years +
Expedition grade
Easy to moderate (some jungle trekking involved)
11 to 19 February 2025 - 9 Days
Hotels and lodges
$4990.00 (AUD)

ex Sandakan (twin share accommodation). Participants in this expedition are required to fundraise a minimum of AUD$1,250. 


Single Supplement




Our mission is to discover the natural wonders of Malaysian Borneo along Sabah's east coast as you explore Malaysia's second-longest river, the mighty Kinabatangan Floodplain in search of Bornean orangutans, Bornean elephants and Proboscis monkeys. Witness a bat exodus at a unique limestone formed cave and traverse throughout Danum Valley, a treasury of biological diversity amid a canopy of the tallest tropical trees in the world searching for the iconic tropical wildlife that calls this majestic part of the world home.

Your special host on this trip is the Founder of The Orangutan Project (TOP), and International Elephant Project, Leif Cocks. Leif is a world-renowned primatologist and has worked with orangutans and elephants for more than 30 years. Throughout the trip, he will share his unique knowledge of animal behaviours and will explain how the Projects are working to secure the survival of Critically Endangered orangutans and elephants in their natural habitat. 

Discover the Danum Valley, a treasury of biological diversity amid a canopy of the tallest tropical trees in the world searching for the iconic tropical wildlife that calls this majestic part of the world home.

You will commence your tour from Sandakan along the east coast of Sabah and travel straight to your nature resort to experience an introduction to the tropical rainforest of Borneo. The Rainforest Discovery Centre provides comfortable wildlife viewing opportunities along the treetop canopy walkway and trails surrounding the education centre.

From here we travel to the riverine forests of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary where you will explore the mangroves while looking for species who have adapted to this incredible landscape such as proboscis monkeys, silvered langurs and crocodiles etc. Short jungle treks will connect you with villages where you can experience local culture and purchase arts and crafts. From here, we travel south stopping along the way at Gomantong Cave to experience the bat exodus and hopefully encounter orangutans nearby the boardwalks.

Continuing your journey into the Tabin Valley Widllife Reserve, you will explore the largest protected area of tropical lowland rainforest in Borneo where all the megafauna on the island resides. Staying at the wonderful Tabin Valley Wildife Resort , you will explore the network of trails in search of orangutans, red langurs, gibbons, Borneo pygmy elephants, cats, reptiles, civet and a plethora of bird species and not to mention the peculiar encounters during optional night walks!

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is located in the eastern part of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. Considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia, the reserve comprises a rectangular area of approximately 300,000 acres in the centre of the Dent Peninsula, north-east of Lahad Datu town, south of the lower reaches of the Segama River and north of the Silabukan Forest Reserve.

Following departure from here, you will travel to Kota Kinabulu for onward travels or join an tour extension to Mulu Caves the Kinbaulu National Park.

Leif Talks Tours
Hi, I have now completed many Leif Cocks Odysseys Eco-tours. On each one, we all had a great time, learnt all about the orangutan's habitat, made new friends and most importantly raised awareness & much-needed funds to help save this critically endangered species. In the complex world of conservation and animal behaviour, it is difficult to fully grasp the realities of what we see on just a short tour. That is why I feel that the members on this tour, being able to discuss the deeper insights into conservation and behaviour, may have enjoyed the trip so much more. The more you know about something the more interesting it gets! With any holiday a lot of time is wasted getting from one place to the other, however, time can fly when you have the opportunity to discuss what you have just seen and what you are about to see in a holistic and in-depth context. It would be great to have you on board!

Leif says "Want an enjoyable holiday, but want it to be something more? Why not, see what is really going on, connect with the most intelligent fellow beings on the planet, meet the people working at the coal face and become part of the solution"

Tour Meals - Vegetarian and Vegan based
All included meals provided during this tour will be vegetarian, with a vegan option available. Guests will have the option of non-vegetarian meals during breakfast at hotels and for meals (some dinners) not included in the itinerary.

Our goal is to provide our guests with a unique experience, to observe wild tropical biodiversity in their natural habitat. We will provide you with a safe platform to observe many endemic, rare and unique species of wildlife in Borneo. We will also provide you with comprehensive information about the destination you are in so that you are fully informed of your surroundings prior to, during and following your expedition. 

The purpose of this trip is to create awareness of the threat of extinction facing orangutans due to the destruction of their rainforest habitat and to raise funds to help orangutans. The trip host, Leif is generously donating their time and expertise to help make this a unique trip and a special experience for all our guests. Orangutan Odysseys has raised over AUD$1,000,000 since 2009 to help support the orangutans survival. Each participant of the trip will adopt an orangutan (included in trip fare) and agree to raise a minimum of AUD$1,250 in donations. Your participation in this event WILL make a difference.

Furthermore, Orangutan Odysseys have partnered up with The Orangutan Project which supports conservation programs in Borneo - so by travelling with us you are directly supporting their orangutan conservation efforts and environmental programs. And finally by supporting ethical and eco-tourism you are helping support the locals and the environment. 

You are embarking on an adventure to places and amongst people whose lives are very different from your own. Many aspects of life in Malaysia will seem unusual. Remember that these are often the same aspects that make an area an exotic and attractive destination. Whilst boat expeditions are considered easy, no trek is easy, even those rated "easy or moderate". In addition to the personal physical challenges you may face, travel conditions can present unexpected obstacles, such as rough and bumpy roads and changeable weather. To prepare for this "pack" a flexible and relaxed attitude. Bring a spirit of adventure and inquiry, a healthy sense of humour and a willingness to encounter the unexpected and you will find your trip to Indonesia the adventure of a lifetime!

ITINERARY - 9 days

11th to 19th February 2025
*Subject to change without notice due to local conditions

Day 1 - 11 Feb: Arrive Sandakan.
Today you will arrive at Sandakan airport (in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo) and be transferred to our Sepilok hotel - Borneo Sepilok Rainforest Lodge. This evening over dinner we shall meet for a tour briefing. Meals: Nil

Day 2 - 12 Feb: Sandakan Tour - Sepilok
Today we will spend some time looking around the town including a visit to the Sandakan war memorial, Agnes Keith House and the English tea house for lunch. In the afternoon and also after dinner we will take a walk at Rainforest Discovery centre before overnight at the Borneo Sepilok Rainforest Lodge . Meals: B,L

Day 3 - 13 Feb: Sepilok to Kinabatangan River via the Gomantong caves
Pick up from your lodge in Sepilok at 8.30 am and transfer to the Kinabatangan river, stopping off at the Gomantong caves along the way for a chance to explore Simud Hitam via a wooden boardwalk. Keep an eye out as orangutans are often seen in the vicinity of the caves. Arrive at Hornbill Lodge (River Chalet) for lunch and check-in to your rooms. Afternoon river cruise (share-in basis), dinner at the lodge and optional night cruise (additional charge to be paid directly to the lodge). Meals: B,L,D

Day 4 - 14 Feb: Kinabatangan River
Early morning river cruise then return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, set off on a jungle walk with your guide to the nearby wildlife observation tower, the initial part of the trail is quite steep but once you reach the ridge overlooking the river it will be worth the effort! Return to the lodge to rest and have lunch. At 2:30pm embark on an extended river cruise in search of pygmy elephants and wildlife further afield (3-4 hours). Later, you return for dinner at the lodge. Optional night walk after dinner. Overnight Hornbill Lodge Meals: B,L,D

Day 5 - 15 Feb: Visit HUTAN (NGO)
Today we shall visit with HUTAN who are the local NGO group looking after orangutans and the rainforests. They are supported by TOP and we shall see and learn about their wonderful work. Afternoon return to overnight at the Hornbill Lodge. Meals:B,L,D

Day 6 - 16 Feb: Kinabatangan River - Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Enjoy a final morning river cruise, have breakfast and then leave from Hornbill Lodge at 9.30am to Lahad Datu. After a stop for registration, continue on to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. In the afternoon, take the Elephant trail to the active Lipad mud volcano which provides a mineral salt lick for wildlife. After dinner join the 4X4 night safari drive looking for nocturnal animals. Overnight Tabin Wildlife Resort. Meals:B, L,D 

Day 7 - 17 Feb: Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Start with an optional early morning bird walk to discover some of Tabin™s rich collection of almost 300 bird species. After breakfast, trek to Lipad Waterfall. Take a dip in the natural pool and explore the surrounding area. Enjoy some free time at the lodge in the afternoon then, as the sun sets, go on a dusk drive to look for nocturnal wildlife coming before returning to the lodge for dinner and an after dinner night walk on the nature trail near the resort. Overnight at Resort. Meals: B,L,D

Day 8 - 18 Feb: Tabin to Kota Kinabalu
After breakfast, you can choose between 1) Free and easy around the lodge until check out. Or 2) You can take a dawn jungle walk to look out for wildlife that is active at this time of the day and then return for breakfast. Transfer out is at 1.30pm after lunch. You will be back in Lahad Datu by 3pm for your flight to Kota Kinabalu. We will touch down in Kota Kinabalu around 5pm where we will be met by our driver for transfer to the Mecure Hotel in the city. Meals: B, L

Day 9 - 19 Feb: Kota Kinabalu - Tour ends (or continue Tour Extension)
This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast then continue your travels, join our tour extension or begin your journey home. Airport transfers included. Meals: B. 

Optional Tour extension - See Next





Tour Extension 19-24 February 2025 Itinerary

Day 1 - 19 Feb. Pick up from Mercure Hotel and drive approximately 2.5 hours to Kinabalu National Park. Spend 2-3 hours exploring the trails & botanical garden in the National Park before heading over to Kiau village in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu for a traditional Dusun lunch. After lunch, take a 1 hour hike to a local coffee farm to view traditional methods of coffee processing and enjoy a coffee tasting. Return to the village then transfer back to Kota Kinabalu, arriving late in the afternoon. Overnight at Mercure Hotel. (Meals: Breakfast at hotel + lunch out)

Day 2 - 20 Feb: Transfer to Kota Kinabalu airport for 9am flight to Mulu. In the afternoon, visit the impressive Deer & Lang's caves and witness a huge bat exodus at sunset (weather dependent), overnight in Mulu National Park at the Marriott Resort. (Meals: Breakfast at hotel + lunch out) 

Day 3 - 21 Feb. Travel by longboat to Wind & Clearwater caves and spend the morning exploring 2 of the most spectacular caves in Mulu National Park. Enjoy a swim in the clear river before returning to the Park around 1pm for lunch. In the afternoon you are free to explore the many trails and boardwalks in the park. Overnight in Mulu National Park at the Marriott Resort. (Meals: Breakfast at hotel + lunch out)

Day 4 - 22 Feb. At 8.30am, join your guide for a 30 - 40min walk to the starting point of the Canopy Walk, get a birds-eye view of the surrounding rainforest then return to your accommodation to pack & check out. Transfer to Mulu airport for your flight to Kuching at 13.30 then transfer to your accommodation in Kuching arriving around 4pm. Overnight in Kuching at the Pullman Hotel. (Meals: Breakfast at hotel).

Day 5 - 23 Feb. Today you will join a day trip to Sarawak's oldest national park, Bako. It takes around 45min by road to reach the park entrance and from there it is a further 25min by boat into the park itself. There are several trails inside the park depending on your level of fitness and interest. The 16 square kilometers of primary forests are home to seven distinct ecosystems including beach vegetation, mangrove, and peat swamp forest. Constant erosion over millions of years has turned the Bako coastline into a stunning geographical landmark with spectacular cliffs, sea stacks and pristine sandy beaches that dot the area. Overnight in Kuching at the Pullman Hotel. (Meals: Breakfast at hotel + lunch out)

Day 6 - 24 Feb: Meet your guide at 8am for a small group 4 hour walking & boat tour, making stops at 8 different eateries along the way. Explore local cuisine and immerse yourself in local culture, cross Kuching river on a traditional Sampan boat, pass by the palace and take a visit to Margareta Fort. In the afternoon, transfer to Kuching airport for your onwards flight to Kuala Lumpur (departing 4pm or later). (Meals: Breakfast at hotel + lunch out).

Price: Please contact alice@orangutanodysseys.com for further information.