The Danum Valley in the Eastern part of Sabah, a primary rainforest jungle, is far removed from human habitation. Renowned for its rich variety of both plants and wildlife, Borneo’s mammals include such extremely rare and endangered species as the Sumatran Rhino, Benteng Elephant, Clouded Leopard, Bornean Gibbon, and Leaf Monkey. The Orang-utan and Proboscis Monkey are both found only in Borneo. Bird life is equally extensive and varied with over 275 individual species having been recorded, giving Danum Valley a reputation for being one of the best places for viewing Borneo’s wildlife. The ecosystem here is also a subject of ongoing international and local scientific studies. Several Malaysian and foreign field scientists are working together at the Danum Valley Field Centre. Facilities here range from hostels to a suspension bridge over Sungai Segama and a 40m-high canopy observation platform, where Dutch and American companies fund studies on plant enrichment and reducing the impact of logging techniques.
Dipterocarp trees dominate the forest around Danum Valley Field Centre with the canopy reaching a height of over 70 metres in places. 90% of the Conservation Area is classified as lowland dipterocarp forest with the remaining 10% being low canopy, sub-montane forest mainly on Mt. Danum in the heart of the Conservation Area.
Among the many nature activities while staying in Danum, you will have the opportunity to:
- visit an ancient Dusun burial site complete with belian coffins and ceramic spirit jars – visit the jacuzzi pool on the way down – quite safe for swimming and also leech free. Burial caves have a special place in the myths and legends of the Orang Sungai in Borneo. They believe in the combining powerful spirits of hills and water. In Danum Valley, three burial sites have been discovered, two near the Field Centre and one below the cliff overlooking Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
- undertake nature walks with experienced naturalists through undisturbed riverine and lowland dipterocarp forest;
- use the 170 metre long canopy walkway to experience the abundance of bird life in the canopy of the forest;
- take a night drive in an open jeep in search of wildlife;
- visit beautiful waterfalls and rivers including Sungai Purut 7-tiered pools which is one of the spectacular waterfalls and pools found in Danum Valley Conservation Area. It is situated on the way to Gunung Danum. This waterfall is about 20 m in height with 7-tiered pools. It takes about 4 hours of jungle trekking from the Field Centre to reach the pool. Visitors can either choose to camp overnight or do a day trip
- enjoy evening wildlife video and slide presentations by naturalists;
- take in a jungle wildlife trek along the escarpment with panoramic views over a wild orang-utan habitat;
- take advantage of the opportunity for extensive wildlife photography.
Ideally, you should plan on staying at least three days to have a good success at finding the wildlife (remember that it is wild, and in its natural habitat, so there are no guarantees that you will see everything)
Accommodation in Danum Valley is at either Borneo Rainforest Lodge or the Danum Valley Field Centre – note that the Field Centre accommodation is restricted to Malaysian Nationals only.
Additional photographs on this page are courtesy of Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Sabah Tourism Board and Wayne Tarman (Bearded Pig)