Being remote from human habitation and almost alien to modern civilization makes the Danum Valley Conservation Area a naturalists’ paradise.
About 80km from Lahad Datu city is the Danum Valley Conservation Area, considered as one of the world’s most complex ecosystem and classified as Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve under the Sabah Forestry Enactment 1968. The enchanted forest serves as a natural home for the unimaginable number of plants and wildlife species such as banteng, clouded leopard, orang utan, slow loris, proboscis monkey including the endangered Bornean pygmy elephant. The world’s tallest tropical tree of Yellow Meranti tree species (Shorea faguetiana) is also found in Danum Valley, Sabah. At a recorded height of 100.8m or 330.7ft this giant tree, known as ‘Menara’ (Malay for Tower) is only 21.2m lower than the iconic Tun Mustapha Tower in Kota Kinabalu.
Guided trails, bird watching and night drive are among the activities offered to visitors seeking to experience the wonders of this area. Visitors have recorded so many incredible sightings just by being around the area and lodges. Among the famous previous visitors include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and his wife Catherine Middleton, natural historian Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench and Martha Stewart.
Visitors also get the chance to visit an ancient Kadazandusun burial site, complete with belian coffins and ceramic spirit jars. Three burial sites have been discovered in Danum Valley—two near the field centre and one below the cliff, overlooking Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
The Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) is among the top tropical biodiversity research centre in the world. DVFC is a testament for the long-standing partnership established since 1984, between The Royal Society of United Kingdom’s South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP) and Danum Valley Management Committee. Previously reserve for researchers only, the facilities are now extended to visitors looking for a basic stay while exploring Danum Valley.
Meanwhile, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge that sets along the flowing Danum River is a multiple award-winning eco-lodge with international standards. Their premium villas and chalets offer visitors from all ages an extraordinary experience and comfort being well-rested in the middle of the jungle with a touch of luxury. Among the attractions offers is the chance to experience the lodge’s canopy walkway with its viewing platforms that offer views from 27m above the forest floor.
Also within the vicinity is the Kawag Nature Lodge. The accommodation is located in the buffer zone II of Danum Valley Conservation Area, and offers a similar chance to jungle trek, wildlife sighting, bird watching, river exploration, river tubing and more.
Visits to Danum Valley must be pre-arranged in order to obtain permits and secure transportation. Tour packages range from 3 days 2 nights up to 5 days 4 nights and can be easily coordinated directly with the product owners or with tour operators that are selling these packages.