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Elephants by river bank in Danum Valley | Borneo Dream

The Danum Valley: What is it famous for?

The Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the must-see locations in Borneo. But why? What is it about the Danum Valley that makes it so special?

In this article we take a quick look at:

  • What is the Danum Valley Conservation area?
  • What is there to see and do in the Danum Valley?
  • The best way to experience the Danum Valley

What is the Danum Valley Conservation Area?

Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 43800-hectare protected area of lowland dipterocarp rainforest in the eastern part of Sabah. The rainforest is thought to be 130 million years old and contains a wealth of plants and wildlife, much of which is endemic to the island. It is also home to some of the tallest trees in the tropics, many reaching 90 metres or more in height.

The Danum Valley is also the centre of extensive research into tropical rainforests. In 1986, the Danum Valley Field Centre was opened with the aim of promoting research and education on the sustainability of the forests and other ecological concerns. It contains a 50-hectare plot within untouched forest which enables an unusually high diversity of flora and fauna to be studied in great detail.

There is also a Global Atmospheric Watch Tower at Bukit Atur, which is one of twenty-seven global stations in the World Meteorological Department’s atmospheric monitoring network. It contributes to the recording and assessment of the chemical composition of the atmosphere on a global scale to support environmental initiatives and future policy development.

What is there to see and do in the Danum Valley?

The main delight of the Danum Valley is its wonderful wildlife population. Mammals that can be seen in the Danum Valley include gibbons, orangutans, red leaf monkeys, macaques, sun bears, as well as rare and endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino, Bornean pygmy elephant, and clouded leopard. Many of these animals are very used to human company, because of the ongoing research projects and also the visiting tourists. This makes the Danum Valley an ideal environment to see wildlife up close in its natural environment.

The Danum Valley is also home to more than 340 species of birds – such as kingfishers, hornbills and flowerpeckers – 72 species of reptiles, 56 species of amphibians as well as over 15,000 species of plants. Most of these plants belong to the stunning dipterocarp genre, and there is also an abundance of carnivorous pitcher plants.

There are many different ways – both high and low – to see the abundance of flora and fauna in the Danum Valley. For example, treetop canopy walks, raised wooden viewing platforms, walkways, and trails through the rainforest. The area also contains some beautiful waterfalls, which enhance the magic of the experience.

The Danum Valley is currently uninhabited by man, but there are ancient indigenous burial sites that provide a sense of timelessness in these wonderful surroundings. One of these is the Kadazandusun burial ground known as Coffin Cliff, due to the ornately decorated wooden coffins placed on natural shelves along the rock face.

So, there is plenty to see and do in the Danum Valley. But what is the best way to get there?

The best way to experience the Danum Valley

The nearest airport to the Danum Valley is Lahad Datu, which is 80 km away. It is approximately a two-hour car drive from Lahad Datu to the Danum Valley. The first 15km of the journey are on the main Lahad Datu-Tawau Road, and the rest are on an unsealed private logging road.

The best place to stay in Danum Valley is the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, a cosy and luxurious eco-resort providing accommodation for up to 60 guests in individual chalets.

At Borneo Dream, we offer a choice of Danum Valley tours depending on the length of time you want to explore this beautiful area. Our comprehensive selection of tours includes:

The 3-day tour features guided wildlife treks through the rainforest with an experienced Nature Guide, a treetop canopy walks with spectacular views across the rainforest, and tubing down the Danum River. This tour includes 2 nights’ accommodation at The Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

The 4-day tour gives you a little more time for extra wildlife treks through the rainforest, treetop canopy walks, tubing down the Danum River, and relaxing at the wonderful Borneo Rainforest Lodge – at which 3 nights’ accommodation is included.

The perfect choice for total jungle immersion! You can participate freely in all the activities of the 3 and 4-day tour, or take time to absorb the sights and sounds of the rainforest from the comfort of your chalet balcony.

We also offer a combined tour of the Danum Valley and the Kinabatangan River. This tour includes river cruises along the Kinabatangan River and visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Gomantong Cave as well as the wildlife treks and treetop canopy walks mentioned in the above Danum Valley tours.

We hope that this article has helped you to appreciate why the Danum Valley is famous, and what makes it so special. If you feel inspired to visit this magical place, just get in touch with us at Borneo Dream and we’d be delighted to help you organise your holiday of a lifetime..

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