Maliau Basin Conservation Area, 58,840 ha, also known as Sabah’s Lost World is a huge bowl of pristine forests described as one of the few remaining relatively untouched wilderness areas in the world.
Bounded by a formidable escarpment reaching over 1,675m above sea level, the almost circular Basin, one of Malaysia’s finest remaining wilderness areas, encompasses 390 km² of pristine forest, a virtually self-contained ecosystem, never permanently inhabited and with large areas still remaining to be explored and documented.
The whole Basin is a single huge water catchment, drained by only one river, the Maliau River, which flows out through a gorge in the southeast of the Basin, joining the Kuamut River and eventually the Kinabatangan, Sabah’s largest and most important river.
Recognizing the uniqueness of the area, in 1981 Yayasan Sabah voluntarily designated Maliau Basin as a Conservation Area, for the purposes of research, education and training, along with Danum Valley Conservation Area further to the east.
In 1997, Maliau Basin Conservation Area was upgraded by the Sabah state government to a Class 1 Protection Forest Reserve, providing legal status as a protected area, and extended to its present size of 588.4 km² by incorporating forested land to the east and north of the Basin. Buffer zones surrounding the whole Conservation Area also add to its protection.