The beauty of the SLMFR begins along the narrow, almost overgrown road entering the area. This attraction continues with a network of waterways that allow for easy and comfortable access to most areas of this forest.
The main water entrance to the large mangrove area, Area 1, faces towards Mount Kinabalu in the distance. With the high mangrove canopy along this waterway, no human structures are visible in the distance, creating feeling is complete isolation.
Further into the SLMFR the myriad of residential wildlife becomes obvious; monkeys, common macaques, can be seen in the mangroves, along with monitor lizards, otters, and birds; including the hunting kingfishers. There are even the occasional sightings and photographs of the Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) within the SLMFR area. Moving deeper into the forest, a slow transition of forest type from mangrove to Nipah palm forest occurs with a change in the wildlife from large mammals to birds.