Originally established to provide the area with protection from logging activities, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 438 km2 of lowland dipterocarp forest that provides a pristine sanctuary for a dazzling array of undisturbed wildlife in south-eastern Sabah, and also has a reputation for being one of the world’s best destinations for birding as well as seeing orangutans in the wild. An area that is roughly the same size as Singapore, this ecosystem is said to have the highest concentration of wild orangutans in the world, and whilst such a sighting cannot be guaranteed, the area is well worth being included into your Borneo holiday.
The remote nature of the park and lack of inhabitancy creates a place of unparalleled biodiversity and some of the Sabah region’s most elusive zoological and botanical gems can be seen.
Location and Activities
The nearest town and gateway to Danum Valley is Lahad Datu, located two hours away by car on the east coast, then heading 70 kilometres inland from there, the landscape changes to virgin rainforest for which the area is renowned. The nearby Danum Valley Field Centre was set up in 1985 and opened in 1986 in order to promote education, research and guidance on sustainability of the forests.
Although rare to spot, the Sumatran rhino has been recorded in the area, as well as orangutans, gibbons, macaques, sun bears, clouded leopards, red-leaf monkeys, tarsiers and pygmy elephants. Birdlife too is equally prolific with in excess of 340 species such as kingfishers, hornbills and flowerpeckers.
Activities within the Danum Valley include walkways, raised wooden viewing platforms and trails through the rainforest, as well as treetop canopy walks where you can have the opportunity to spot the rare wildlife in action. There are also waterfalls in the area, enhancing the feel of feeling effortlessly at one with nature. We use the excellent Borneo Rainforest Lodge as a base, which has a range of vehicles and expert naturalists on hand to ensure you maximise your time in the area, as well as an enviable setting with a backdrop of stunning rainforest creeping over the snaking Danum River that the lodge sits beside.