Conservation Program


As you might have known, the lower 70 – 100km of the Kinabatangan River flows through low-lying ground, forming the Kinabatangan Floodplain. It is the arguably the last forested alluvial floodplain in Asia.


This area is rich in bio diversity; it is one of the two places on earth where ten primate species are found together, including the orang-utan, proboscis monkey and the Bornean gibbon. It is also home to over 250 bird, 50 mammal, 20 reptile species and 1056 plant species.

Operating our Lodge within this area has several environmental challenges and the primary one being our impact to the natural environment.

Since day one of our intention to operate a lodge within Kampung Bilit along the lower Kinabatangan River, we have decided that while it is important for our organization to make profit from our operation, we need to be sustainable; growing and prospering using available resources and not at the expense of our future generations.

This has an impact in ALL our decision making processes.

Even as we continue to improve upon ourselves and we want to share with you, our valued guest, the ways and manners we find useful to help preserve our fragile environment.


This is a continuous process of which we don’t profess to hold the key to but by sharing our experiences, we trust that after your stay in Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, you too will walk away being mindful of our fragile environment. And that you will go on to live your life sustainable so that our future generations can continue to enjoy a pleasant and vibrant mother earth.

Enjoy your stay and let’s learn to protect our Mother Earth together.


These shops can be found at the jetty (will be operating by June 2009 where you first boarded the boat to enter the Lodge) and also within the living and dining area of the Civet wing.

Through the operation of these shops, the shop keepers are taught/learnt the skills of running their own business and thus the ability to sustain their own livelihood.

The shops supplies our guests with mineral water, beer, snacks, batteries, leech socks and other items which our guests might be of need during their short stay with us.

For the co-operative shop within the Civet Wing of Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, it is stipulated that at least 80% of all the confirmed, full time staffs participate in its success. This certainly helps create within the stall a sense of team spirit, and a motivation for non confirmed staffs to work hard towards their job confirmation.

Another important aspect is that the various partners (the staffs involved) will not be able to loan or write IOU while taking items out from the shop. Everything is on cash term. It inculcates business discipline and also eradicates the habit of credit purchases.


We have set aside about half and acre of land of the north eastern side of our compound to plant vegetable.

Two staffs (who are also from Kampung Bilit) from within the Lodge and also 2-3 habitants of Kampung Bilit participate in this programme. The Lodge provide the initial capital (i.e. RM1,000 for equipment for plating), land and some guidelines information. This diligent team of Orang Sugei plant vegetables required by Nature Lodge Kinabatangan and will supply these vegetable to the Lodge to meet our daily requirement.

This newly adopted activity helps to achieve many objectives:

  • promote entrepreneurship within the people of Kampung Bilit (staff and others alike)
  • cultivate close working relationship between the lodge and the villager
  • provide avenue for the Lodge to use the organic waste effectively (the organic waste is decomposed and turned into fertilizer to be used for vegetable planting)
  • lowing the fuel consumption of our Lodge as we used to buy vegetables from 50km away
  • lowering our food cost since the vegetables sold to us are 10% lower than when we purchase from outside (since no more middle person involved)
  • increasing our bottom line thus higher returns for shareholders and more bonus for staffs

Do ask our front office staff should you be interested to visit our vegetable plantation.


Water is the main source of life. The mighty Kinabatangan River is a meeting point of hundreds of small streams, cutting across the State of Sabah from west to the east, emptying itself into the Sulu Seas.

Like all other habitants along the River, the livelihood of the Orang Sugei in Kampung Bilit revolves around this River. In fact, the word Orang Sugei literally means River People.

Some eco establishments build an extensive and impressive gutter system on their various structures to collect the rain water. The water is then filtered and cleaned for various purposes.

At Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, we collect the water from the River directly (which has its source from the rain in any case) letting those rain within our compound falls directly to the ground to nurture the grass and other micro-organism. The only exception to this is at the staff hostel where gutter system collects the rain water which is then use for the watering of the vegetable. We build large storage tanks (i.e. four of them at 600 gallons each) on the north eastern side of our compound. The first and second tanks are for initial collection and after a night in the tanks, the sediments settled to the bottom (we clear the bottom of the tanks weekly as the tanks have clean out valves) we expedite this process by adding alum. The water is pumped into the third and forth tank. We proceed to clean and water by adding chorine according to the specification of our health department. Then the water is distributed to all the building structures of the Lodge using pressure pump.

We use this water for shower. We boil this water to be used for cooking and for tea and coffee making. Boiling remains the safest way and it kills all disease carrying organisms, including viruses (according to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed).

For guests who prefer mineral water, it is available for purchase within our co-operative shops.

For our Agamid wing chalets, we have separated the grey water from the black water. Grey water from shower and face basins have been re-channeled into another tanks. These will be use to water the vegetable at our vegetable garden!

The process of making water available within Nature Lodge Kinabatangan and any where in the world (including your home) is a lengthy, laborious and expensive one. You can start by participating in conserving water through the smart usage:

  • don’t let the water flow freely while you put tooth paste on your tooth brush,
  • don’t turn it on all the way while showering or washing your hands
  • turn on the water heater at least 5 minutes prior to showering. That way, you don’t let the water run till it gets hot.
  • check out our “Friends of the Earth” advise regarding your towels (near the basin) and bedsheets (on the night table).


The Lodge is surrounded by 5,000 v of dc electrical fence.

This fence is necessary to protect the occupant of the Lodge from passing animals such as the pygmy elephants. Before the installation of the fence, there were incidents of water tanks, sewage covers and small trees been destroyed by the elephants while passing through.

Please see the attached diagram for method used. We are using the earth return system.

In order to ensure that we do not close the elephant out completely, our fence is not erected along our boundary. In fact, we set it at least 25 feet inward. In the event that the land owners next to us were to develop their land next to us, this buffer area will ensure that there is a “corridor” for the elephants to be able to still pass through.

As of 2007, in the State government’s effort to ensure all Sabahan (the people of Sabah) has electricity, power poles were installed and electricity came to Nature Lodge Kinabatangan!

We have in fact adopted the following ways to ensure that consumption is kept to the minimal:

  • All main structures within the Lodge do not have east-west facing. This ensure the structures do not face the sun and are less hot, therefore requiring lesser energy for cooling down.
  • Main structure have open design, allowing air to pass through freely.
  • Main dining areas uses translucent roofing and does not require lighting during the day.
  • Trees around the compound are kept during construction. In fact there have been cases of us moving the chalets around the trees! These trees provide shades and are nature’s excellent way for cooling.
  • We monitor our consumption daily; one of our maintenance staffs records the consumption from the meter and also the make a note of the number of staffs and guest presence daily. An average is obtained and we then ensure that our monthly consumption is the same or lower than the previous months.
  • We put up small reminders for our valued guests to off their room lights and fans when they are not in their room.


With about 20 staffs and a capacity to accommodate 40 guests on a daily basis, an effective waste management system is important to ensure that our surrounding is maintained in a hygienic and conducive manner which is fit for living sustainable.


  • for our new chalets, grey and black water have separate piping system. Grey water runs into a filter tank layered with different grades of sand ( ) and end up into a tank which is next to our vegetable planting site. The water is used for water the vegetable
  • black water goes through modern sewage tanks and is being release into the ground.


  • left over food and organic waste from preparation of meals (i.e. potato pills, onion skin, carrot ending etc…) are collected in a designated bins.
  • These waste are emptied into a land fill next to the vegetable planting site daily.
  • A thin layer of soil is poured over to ensure no foul smells
  • After filling a land fill up for a week, we proceed to fill another land fill up and repeat the process (a total of 5 land fills are dug)
  • By the time we are filling up the 4th land fill, we started to used the decomposed contends of the 1st land fill for fertilizer

Bottle, tin & plastics:

  • Re-cycled bins are found located around the Lodge
  • Daily waste are separate under plastic, bottle & paper and tins
  • All are brought back to main land. While the tins are sold, the rest are disposed off in designated land fill


In our effort to protect the Kinabatangan flood plain, WWF-Malaysia is engaging stakeholders and partners (government agencies, oil palm companies, tour operators and the local community) to address the issues of reforestation, protection and management of the area.

A ‘Corridor of Life’ Vision was formulated towards Sustainable Development for the area, which includes:

  • A forest corridor along the Kinabatangan, connecting the coastal mangrove swamps with the upland forests, where people, wildlife, nature-based tourism and local forest industries thrive and support each other.
  • A floodplain that supports a thriving and diverse economy that offers opportunity and choice to local people and businesses.
  • Good environmental management of the natural capital on which all partners depends upon.
  • A landscape in which agriculture, people and nature conservation is united by their common source of vitality – water.

Currently, the Kinabatangan – Corridor of Life team operates in two areas doing reforestation work:

  • Lot 3 of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, close to our nursery in Kampung Bilit
  • The Matarob area, close to Kampung Abai at the river mouth of the Kinabatangan Funding for sustainable forest management

As the management of such a vast area as the Kinabatangan is a costly affair, WWF-Malaysia is working with tourism operators in carrying out a pilot project called Voluntary Conservation Levy to establish a fund which would finance the cost of protecting and reforesting (in essence ‘managing’) the area.

Wildlife viewing is a big draw for tourists to Kinabatangan and the VCL is targeted at tourists. The VCL concept encourages tourists to make a voluntary contribution towards nature conservation work in that area and to promote sustainable tourism.

Nature Lodge Kinabatangan is proud to be a partner in this pilot project. For every RM20 that our guest contributed, we will issue a VCL receipt on behalf of WWF – Malaysia. And during our busy month of May – September 2007, we even matched dollar for ever dollar that our guest contributed!

Do ask our friendly staff for details of this program and we urge you to join us in our bit to conserve this fragile environment of ours.

For more information of this pilot programme, goto:
Click Here (opens in new window / tab)

(Walk around Kampung Bilit in Sugei language)

This Panau Panau Suru Kampung Bilit package is a community project initiated by Nature Lodge Kinabatangan. For the fees of RM10 that you pay, RM8 will go to the guide who brings you around his village. He is a local orang sugei and from Kampung Bilit. The remaining of RM2 will be set aside and use by the Lodge to participate in future worthwhile kampung project.

The objectives are:

  • To promote awareness of Kampung Bilit to visitors
  • To train the local in the work of guiding
  • To provide additional income to the local (i.e. both to the guide and the grocery shop owner if and when you do buy from him)
  • To promote awareness of the Habitat Enterprise

The walk about programme is as follows:

1300 hrs
Assemble at Lodge and brief on the adat (culture and taboo) of Kampung Bilit. Pick-up and transfer across by boat to the Kampung.

Start the walk from the jetty of this small Kampung. It has an approximate population of about 120-150 inhabitant (the wider Kg Bilit has about 250). The main source of income used to be fishing and in time of low harvest, they build boat. And as tourism enter the village, more and more villagers are directly involved in this new industry. Pass by the houses of Imam (religious leader) and Ketua Kampung (head of village). Listen to the explanation of their various functions within the community.

You will also pass the village cemetery (remember on to point at the grave) before arriving at the small grocery shop of the village.

Mingle with school students and see the Kabilit tree where this village obtains its name from.

Then journey further down to the site where Habitat Enterprise prepares its plant seedling; a project initiated by WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund), Habitat Enterprise help to improve and restore degraded Orang Utan habitat. Orang Utan spend about 60% of their waking hours eating and searching for food. Sadly, the variety of food for Orang Utan gets scarcer every day and foraging for food isn’t like going to the supermarket. These ‘man of the forest’ are fast losing their grocery store as their rainforest home continues to fragment and deteriorate. There are several tree planting options you can chose while there.

End the tour with a small tea and coffee session at the guide’s house.


Inclusive of:
Guided tour and tea/coffee at guide house,
Subject to weather condition