Introduction

This pocket of primeval wilderness tells the same untouched story it did millennia ago. Encircled by insurmountable cliffs in southwestern Sabah, the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA), known very appropriately as 'Sabah's Lost World', is something special.

The basin, a 25km-wide bowl-shaped depression of rainforest, was unnoticed by the world until a pilot almost crashed into the walls that hem it off in 1947, and is the single best place in Borneo to experience old-growth tropical rainforest. More than that, it is one of the world's great reserves of biodiversity, a dense knot of almost unbelievable genetic richness – more than 2000 types of fauna and flora are found here, with more awaiting discovery. It wasn't until 1988 that an expedition into the basin found a self-contained ecosystem of 12 types of forest and tremendous waterfalls. Maliau Basin attracts a small number of adventurous, hardy trekkers and naturalists per year.