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Worth a detour
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Birding the Dannum Valley

Listed under Birdwatching in Sabah, Malaysia.

  • Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
  • Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
  • Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
  • Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
  • Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
Photo of Birding the Dannum Valley
Photo by flickr user Lip Kee
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Containing around 44,000 hectares of Primary Dipterocarp forest, the Dannum Valley Conservation Area is a small part of over 1,000,000 hectares of protected forest in Borneo.

A visit to the Dannum Valley means staying at the only hotel there: Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Situated in the heart of Dannum Valley this trip was the culmination of a long held desire to bird Dannum Valley. The famous Dannum Valley Field Centre is still available to birders and for some visitors and does represent a slightly cheaper option but if it’s jungle comfort with a hint of luxury, coupled with great food, quality service, birding trails and expert guides you’re after, then this is the place. Hang the expense, it is worth it.

Guides accompany you on the many trails and most will know where to find the birds you want or will find the sites where the birds currently are showing.Blue-banded and Blue-headed pitta, the Bornean sub-species of Banded Pitta, heard Giant Pitta (again), up to four of the magnificent endemic Borneo Bristlehead each day, one Bornean Ground Cuckoo and many other gems were added to the list in two days here. If you can though, stay at least three +.

In the first kilometre from the lodge, on our first afternoon walk, a Borneo Bristlehead was found in the clearing just before the canopy walkway. Initially two birds were around the treetops but scope views soon settled the nerves and over the next two days up to four birds were seen here. Not bad getting the endemic and monotypic family tick out of the way in the first fifteen minutes! 

A magnificent setting makes Dannum Valley and Borneo Rainforest Lodge a tremendous destination for birders or natural history buffs alike. Night walks and drives add to the experience at BRL with Palm Civets, Sambar deer, owls and the potential of sighting Western Tarsier is enough to get you out every night. On top of this wonderful wildlife experience there is great food, wine and service here too; hard to believe when it’s taken you 2 hours plus in a 4WD to get there.

Written by  Alan McBride.

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