Madai Cave is an integral part of the limestone hills range located within the Baturong Madai Forest Reserve, Class VI (Virgin Forest), Kunak. According to Section 85 (2) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, Madai Cave is listed in Part I of Schedule 4 , as one of the caves that are recognized by the State Government as the inheritance right of a community. Idahan people are tribes who inherited the rights to harvest swallows nest in the holes of the rocks in Gua Madai subject to royalty payments of 10 % to the government. Madai Cave is a heritage cave that produces black bird nests.
Each year, the bird’s nests are harvested 3 times throughout the year. First season (Papas season) is usually between April and May, the Second Season (Penanggoh Season) between August and September and the Third Season (Penenging Season) between November and December of each year. Before a season of harvest starts, the Wildlife Department and representatives of the Heir Committee will hold a joint research then discuss about the appropriate date to start a season. Even though this matter is determined from a discussion, but the department has the authority to decide the suitable dates for the harvest. Normally the harvest season will last for 30 days/one month. The department is also responsible for collecting royalty payments in the form of nests on behalf of the State Government of Sabah.
Madai Cave is now accessible by paved roads (13 km from Kunak town and 52km from Lahad Datu town). The Idahan tribes (living in a village nearby) guarded the cave during off-season harvest. A Visitor Centre (built in 2010) enables visitors to get more information and participate in programs that are available. The Visitors Center is equipped with souvenirs shop, cafeteria, “look and listen” room, public toilets, a 700 meters "Board Walk” and a parking site for vehicles.
There is currently no entrance fee charged by the Wildlife Department. Nevertheless, if tourists wish to venture inside the forest (except the “board walk”) they need a permission letter from the Forestry Department beforehand.