Where? Keningau, Sabah
What? Highland, Jungle-trekking, Camping, Rafflesia
Lost Ratings: ****
If you are looking for an alternative to the over-visited Kinabalu National Park, Crocker Range Park, on the south-western corner of Sabah, is a good choice. While the Crocker Range Park has been established since 1984, its headquarters was only relatively recently opened in February of 2004. Situated 144km from Kota Kinabalu and 12km from Keningau, the completion of the new road across the park linking Kimanis to Keningau has shortened travel time considerably for those living on the West Coast of Sabah. This has made the park headquarters more accessible, and travellers can now reach the park in less than two hours from KK.
What is the Crocker Range Park?
With an area of 139,919 hectares, the Crocker Range Park is the largest national park in Sabah. The namesake of the park, Crocker Range, is a huge mountain range that separates the east coast and west coast of Sabah. It is the highest mountain range in Sabah, with an average height of 1800m, and includes Mount Kinabalu. Two of the three highest mountains in Malaysia are located in Crocker Range. The northern part of the range that includes Mount Kinabalu though had been designated as Kinabalu National Park, and Crocker Range Park does not include this part. The park therefore stretches from south of Kundasang in the north to Tenom in the south. Most people’s first view of the Crocker Range Park is when they travel to Tambunan from Penampang. This road passes through the highest point of Crocker Range Park at Gunung Alab (1,964m asl). With a rainfall of 3,000mm to 4,000mm a year, Crocker Range Park is a water catchment area that supplies clean drinking water to people living in the West Coast and Interior districts of Sabah. The western section, especially, is the wettest area in Sabah.
Due to the size of the park, there are a few substations, the most famous being the Rafflesia Centre along the Penampang-Tambunan Road. Other substations include Inobong in Penampang and Mahua in Tambunan. Flora and fauna found in the park include 265 species of birds, 107 species of mammals, 42 species of fresh-water fish and about 500 species of plants (about one-third of the species in Borneo).
What to do in Crocker Range Park Headquarters?
The park headquarters is a wonderful place for jungle-trekking. A 2.5km trail through primary and secondary forest provides for a challenging and invigorating walk. If you are lucky, the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, might be in bloom. The insectarium gives city-slickers a chance to see and learn about stick insects, leaf insects, rhinoceros beetles, stag beetles and trilobite beetles.
Overnight stays are possible here. These range from a rest house and dormitories to camps. Night jungle walks are also possible with prior arrangement with the rangers. During these night walks, deer and other wildlife can sometimes be spotted.
* For safety purposes, engage in the services of the rangers before partaking in any jungle-trekking activities.
Crocker Range Nature Information Centre
By car, it takes about 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu using the Kimanis-Keningau road (passing by Papar). The alternative road is the Kota Kinabalu-Penampang-Tambunan-Keningau road that takes 3.5 hours. If you want to do a loop, it is easier to start from Tambunan and come back via Kimanis as the road in the direction from Kimanis to Keningau has steep inclines of up to 19 degrees. The uphill road to Crocker Range Park is an adventure in itself and the scenery is fantastic.
By public transport, buses and taxis to Keningau will drop you off at the park. Public transportation can be taken at the Padang Merdeka long-distance bus station. For more information, check Sabah Tourism but the rates listed there could be outdated.
Contact: Crocker Range Park 019-8620404
Rest house (accommodates 6, 3 rooms): RM40 per person per night
Dormitory (accommodates 32): RM20 per person per night
Double bed: RM50 per night
Camping: RM5 per person per night
Foreigner (>18) RM10
Foreigner (<18) RM6
Malaysian (>18) RM3
Malaysian (<18) RM1
Mon-Thu: 0830-1245, 1445-1645
Fri, Sun, Public Holidays: 0830-1130, 1400-1645
CRP1 – Crocker Range Park (morning till evening)
CRP2 – Crocker Range Park and River Safari (morning till night)
For tour enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org