The immense Danum Valley Conservation Area. Sabah, Borneo.


A speck in red. Standing at the foot of the immense Danum Valley..

One of the last strongholds of undisturbed tropical flora and fauna in the world

The Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 438km2 tract of relatively undisturbed lowland dipterocarp rainforest deep in the heart of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This vast stretch of forest holds unique status in the sense that before it became a conservation area there were no human settlements at all, meaning that hunting, logging and other human interference was non-existent. Recognized as one of the world’s most complex ecosystems, this forest serves as a natural home for endangered wildlife species such as banteng, Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey, as well as over 270 bird species.

I was lucky enough to stay in the Danum Valley a few years back, and got to see more wildlife than I have on any other trip. Alien to modern civilization, the nearest town, Lahad Datu, is about 82 km away (about a three-hour drive on dirt tracks and logging roads via 4×4). Lahad Batu itself is about seven hours by bus from Kota Kinabalu, meaning that the journey into the valley is an adventure in itself. (Our 4×4 actually got chased by a wild elephant.) Borneo is one of the most physically stunning places on Earth, a land of deep green jungle, craggy mountains and shockingly blue ocean, and I want to go back later this year.

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