The Rainforest Discovery Centre, or RDC for short, is part of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, best known for the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.
The primary purpose of the RDC is that of environmental education. It aims to foster an appreciated of the jungle whilst underlining it’s importance, why it should be conserved and how to use jungle resources sustainably.
Back in 1996, the Rainforest Discovery Centre was nothing but a quaint, little environmental education centre. Today the RDC, managed by the Environment Education arm of the Sabah Forestry Department, is one of Sabah’s most popular education centers.
In August 2006 the centre opened its doors to the public enabling large scale education and awareness of our precious jungle, where previously it catered exclusively to students and teachers.
The centre is open daily from 08:00 – 17:00.
An entry fee is charged and varies depending on which aspects of the RDC you want to enjoy. The proceeds from the entry fees are used for the RDC’s environmental education programs for students, training courses for teachers and other environmental related activities.
There are several aspects to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which we run through below.
Your visit starts at the Visitor Building, which is where you buy your entrance ticket.
It also features an exhibition hall showcasing the plants and animals of Sabah, a lecture hall and a gift shop.
Be sure not to get stuck indoors for too long, because the jungle and its critters are waiting outside.
Plant Discovery Garden
Behind the Visitor Building lies the Plant Discovery Garden.
Even if you’re not a big fan of plant life, the Plant Discovery Garden is sure to teach you a thing or two or three.
Of course, Sabah’s unique and beautiful orchards are exhibited and although not all 250 species of Sabah’s precious orchids are here, you will nevertheless find an beautiful variety species.
On the path meandering through the Plant Discovery Centre you’ll also encounter other interesting Borneo flora such as Venus Flytraps, pitcher plants, arid land plants, aquatic plants and a few foreign guests amongst which the elaborate cactus display is both surprising and very interesting.
The Plant Discovery Garden is dotted with information boards, which will tell you what you’re looking at and what’s interesting about it.
Rainforest Discovery Trail
Once you’ve warmed up on the short trail through the Plants Discovery Garden, the Rainforest Discovery Trail will lead you down a 800m long path featuring some of the jungles tallest dipterocarp trees.
Info boards will again keep you informed as you go along the path and across suspension bridges.
If you’re going to be around the Rainforest Discovery Centre for a while, then night walks are an interesting alternative option and increases your chances of spotting wildlife.
There’s always a chance of spotting flying squirrels, mouse deer, tarsiers, large geckoes, even larger ants and a variety of insects, which are always busy around the jungle, day and night.
Off the floor of the dense, primary rainforest, the Rainforest Discovery Centre also offers access to the fascinating jungle canopy.
Alive with the chatter of birds, insects and sometimes even primates, the jungle canopy is a hangout spot for jungle critters who love to soak up the warming, healing and energizing rays of the sun, and perhaps those hiding from threats closer to the ground.
We humans, however, are not so well equipped to make our way around the jungle canopy, which is why the 147m long, solid steel canopy walkway of the RDC is such a blessing.
Billed as the most accessible walkway in Sabah, it is designed for high visitor traffic.
The broad walkways and heavy duty construction means never having to wait in line for a bit of canopy hopping and bird watching action.
From the walkway, as high as 28m above the ground in some places, you have a beautiful, expansive view of the Sepilok jungle. Who knew there were so many different shades of green!?
3 towers dot the jungle, two of which are connected with each other by the walkway.
An awesome vantage spot for birdwatchers, this is from where you will glimpse the illusive Bornean Bristlehead, should it show itself.
The rarest of birds, the Bornean Bristlehead is one of many shy birds you can mark as spotted in your bird guide book.
Hornbills, broadbills, kingfishers and pittas are some of the other 250 species of tropical bird previously spotted in this neck of the woods.
The Rainforest Discover Centre is included with some of our Wildlife Adventure Packages, alternatively it’s about a 20 – 30 minute drive away from Sandakan or just 1km from Sepilok Nature Resort & Sepilok Jungle Resort.