Danum Valley has captured the hearts and minds of the many researchers and tourists that visit what is probably one of the best examples of primary lowland tropical forest in Borneo. Protecting an area of 438 square kilometers the Danum Valley Conservation Area is home to untouched lowland dipterocarp forest that lies within a gently shelving valley. Most international visitors at Danum Valley go in search of Borneo’s captivating and iconic wildlife as it has proven to be one of the most reliable destinations for sightings in the region. The extensive network of trails provides access to Danum Valley’s forest immersing you deep in nature. The long presence of people at Danum Valley means that the wildlife is habituated to human activity providing sightings that are much more reliable than other destinations.
The extensive research that has been undertaken within the Danum Valley Conservation Area means that no other location in Sabah, or Southeast Asia for that matter, has been studied in such great detail and can claim such a high diversity of flora and fauna. What is most impressive is Danum’s populations of larger mammals including Bornean pygmy elephants, clouded leopards and orangutans. This is a huge draw card for the adventurous tourist looking to step off the beaten track and go in search of Borneo’s iconic wildlife.
BORNEO RAINFOREST LODGE
Depending on your budget and travel style there are accommodation options at Danum Valley to suit just about everyone. For those looking for a more luxurious approach to exploring the Danum Valley Conservation Area, staying at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge provides the perfect base to discover the Bornean jungle. Offering a wide range of room types from standard chalets, deluxe and premium deluxe chalets. This award winning lodge is magnificently set against the lush jungle backdrop and will leave you wanting more.
DANUM VALLEY FIELD CENTER
Established primarily as a base for scientists whilst they conduct their research, the Danum Valley Field Center is a rustic field station that is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. The center is equipped with laboratories, research & staff quarters, and accommodation facilities for keen naturalists. The Danum Valley Field Centre is also home to a 50 hectare plot that has been established within the untouched primary forest and is one of the most heavily studied areas of tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. The forest here is unique due to the fact that there is no evidence of permanent human settlement or hunting making Danum Valley a truly untouched natural marvel.
For the majority of people visiting Danum Valley it is all about experiencing the raw nature of Borneo’s rainforest. Embarking on jungle trekking adventures will have you exploring the forest below the canopy of giant tropical trees. In no time, you will begin to understand why the Danum Valley Conservation area is home to the tallest tropical trees in the World. This ancient forest boasts an astonishing 15,000 species of plants accounting for much of the area’s biodiversity. Embarking on jungle trekking adventures in Danum Valley is sure to impress, immersing you in the forest’s natural beauty.
Danum Valley is home to some of Borneo’s most iconic wildlife providing some exceptional encounters for visitors exploring the forest. Some of the iconic wildlife including Bornean orangutans, pygmy elephants, clouded leopards, North Bornean gibbons, tarsiers and slow loris, the forest here is an important ecosystem for species that are endangered or at risk of extinction. To be able to witness critically endangered species thriving in healthy habitat is truly remarkable and an experience that will last a lifetime. In order to make the most out of your wildlife sightings nothing is more important than having a skilled guide accompanying you. The forest can be a difficult place to spot wildlife, especially if you lack the keenly trained eye of a wildlife guide. Our team of guides are some of the best in the industry and will ensure that you make the very most out of the wildlife sightings during your visit.
One of the best ways to discover the incredible biodiversity of the Bornean jungle is to take a night walk through the forest. Armed with a head torch and a keen eye, no experience quite matches walking through the forest at night following your guide in search of nocturnal creatures and sleeping critters. The most common animals you will see on night walks will be insects due to the sheer abundance of species, however it is not uncommon to see spectral tarsiers, slow loris, sleeping birds and lizards perched on branches and of course the plethora of frog species that become active at night.
Experience the optional opportunity to embark on night drives in the forest. Night drives depart every evening from both the Field Center and the Borneo Rainforest Lodge following the main road in to Danum Valley. The guide uses a spotlight to look for wildlife along the roadside with the most common sightings including flying squirrels, slow loris, deer, civets, and leopard cats or pygmy elephants if you are lucky. Night drives usually go for about an hour and are conducted by the staff at the Field Center or BRL. This is an optional activity that will incur an additional payment to the Field Center directly. At BRL this activity is included. This is a good opportunity to see some of the wildlife that would otherwise be difficult to see on foot in the forest.
BUKIT ATUR SUNRISE
For the early birds there is no better way to start your day in Danum Valley than watching the sunrise over the misty 130 million year old forest. Bukit Atur (Atur Hill) also referred to as the Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) Tower is one of 27 global stations in the World Meteorological Department’s (WMD) monitoring network. Atmospheric monitoring is undertaken to support environmental conventions and future policy development. It also makes for a fantastic vantage point to watch sunrise over the forest. This is another optional activity that is provided by the Field Center at an additional cost. Departure from the Field Center is at 5 am to allow for enough time to reach the tower before sunrise. You will spend around 1 hour at the tower before returning to the Field Center for breakfast.