4 tips for Borneo's wildlife-packed Sabah

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Kinabatangan River

5°40′ 54.9300” N/ 118° 22′ 43.3776”E

In 2015, superyachts were given the green light to visit Borneo as the area was declared “safe and peaceful” as most of the country was removed as a War Listed Area by the Lloyds Joint War Committee. The change is expected to mean that more superyachts will venture to make the most of the country's stunning nature and incredible diving.

Here Raymond Heer, captain of 42.5m Feadship charter yacht Angiamo, gives insiders tips on getting the most out of a visit to wildlife-packed Sabah in northern Borneo.

1.Kinabatangan River

It’s incredible, but you can take a yacht with a seven metre draught up the Kinabatangan River if you get a permit. Wildlife comes to the shore and you’ll see proboscis monkeys, orang-utans and best of all, three herds of the Borneo pygmy elephant — almost extinct. Their territory has been squeezed by palm oil plantations, so their only natural track in the forest is along the river.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Mabul and Sipadan

4° 6′ 53.9064” N/ 118° 37′ 43.2012” E

Sipadan and Mabul islands offer some of the best diving you’ll ever do — but there are restrictions. You have to use local dive operators, there’s a permit system and you must stay a mile off Sipadan — so anchor off Mabul. Your maximum stay is three days unless you really love diving, then a combination of Sipadan and Mabul could last a week.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Lankayan Island

6° 43′ 0.0012” N/ 116° 19′ 59.9988” E

Ecologists from Lankayan Island Drive Resort take turtle eggs off the beach to hatch and release in safety. Once, we were anchored offshore and a big female turtle came to lay at about 11pm. They radioed us and we took our guests up on the tender to watch, then went back to the yacht euphoric that we had seen an incredible natural phenomenon.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Mount Kinabalu

6° 4′ 28.3584” N/ 116° 33′ 45.7920” E

As a trip inland, the UNESCO World Heritage site Mount Kinabalu is fantastic for nature lovers. Its accessible reaches are covered in cool, montane forest, with pitcher plants, orchids and ferns. There’s also Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world – it can grow up to one metre across – a pretty amazing thing to see.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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