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Danau Girang in Sabah

Sabah Danau Girang Conservation

Danau Girang is a field center located deep upstream along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah Borneo and visiting this amazing conservation is something to be shared with my readers.

In early 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting this place and spending one night here where I was to learn what exactly they did here.

Danau Girang Field Center

The journey to Danau Girang from Semporna took us to Kampung Menggaris which is uniquely located under a huge metal bridge on the main road (Highway A5).

From here, there is a small wooden jetty where the tiny 25 horsepower boat was waiting to take us to the field center.

A scenic cruise that took almost 45 minutes upstream the Kinabatangan was amazing as I noticed a lot of wildlife especially birds like hornbills, kingfishers, egrets and even the rare oriental darter.

Apart from that, I only saw pure wildlife at its best. There were no resorts, no lodge, no villages, in simple words, there was absolutely nothing but breathtaking natural scenery.

Kinabatangan Danau Girang
Danau Girang Field Centre in Kinabatangan

During the boat ride, I casually asked if there were crocodiles here, the captain nodded his head and said the largest seen was about 5 meters long.

He also explained further that the center had also participated in capturing a few of these crocodiles along the Kinabatangan for research and collaring.

After a very interesting chat along the way, we reached our destination which was just a ramp-way for boats. No building has seen insight and this was the field center, explained the captain.

Kinabatangan Conservation Danau Girang
Danau Girang at the Kinabatangan River

Walking about 500 meters, I finally saw the research center and being introduced to the field center manager - Mr. Mark Rampangajouw, he briefed me about the entire place in one afternoon.

In total, there were only 15 persons working and living here, where half are students from abroad, coming from reputable universities around the world.

Collaring of the well known Pygmy Elephant and crocodiles were one of the main research conducted here apart from the many other studies on the ecology and genetics of the orangutan, clouded leopard, proboscis monkey, and long-tailed macaque.

 This was indeed one of the best educational trips I have done in a very long time.

Office of Danau Girang Field
Main building

The Danau Girang Field Centre is a collaborative research and training facility which is managed by Cardiff University and the Sabah Wildlife Department.

The field center is situated in Lot 6 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and is surrounded by a mixture of lowland dipterocarp forest types.

There are also no lodges or resorts here, unlike the main Kinabatangan River where wildlife and Eco tourist flock too. This was totally remote and is not open to tourists.

So if you are seeking a wildlife adventure, I would recommend you take one of the general Kinabatangan River Cruises which are sold by most tour operators around Sabah.

Research Centre Danau Girang
 Danau Girang Research Centre

Danau Girang Research Centre

I was introduced to most of the researchers there before taken for a full tour of the entire place. Each of them was from different countries from around the world and had different parts of their research.

Outside the center, Mark showed me an Elephant Tracking Collar which was used on the rare Bornean Pygmy Elephant.

Asking if there was anymore collaring going on, he told me that only if there was news from headquarters, they would then go and look for the mammal.

Before calling it a night, we had a local dinner that was cooked by a local lady chef. The food was simply amazing and one of the best I had in a long time. I can only imagine how happy this researches are to have her there.

Photos of Danau Girang in Kinabatangan

Large crocodile in Kinabatangan
 Photo of staff capturing a crocodile for collaring ~ Photo by Danau Girang

Lab at Danau Girang
Danau Girang lab

Tracking collar for Elephant
Elephant tracking collar

Rooms at Danau Girang
 Basic sleeping quarters for volunteers

Accommodation Facilities at Danau Girang

The above photo is the common guest or volunteer room that I stayed at when I visited here. They are plain, simple and basic with a common toilet.

When the lights go off at 10.00 pm, you feel like being transformed deep into the rainforest. The sound of insects and nocturnal animals come alive and you feel like you are one with nature. 

The facilities are stocked with basic food, as they have a central kitchen with local cooks that prepare your daily meals.

When I was here, I had the local researcher's buffet dinner, which consisted of a local Sabahan style rice and dishes, and a choice of western which included pasta and salads. 

Kinabatangan River Birds Flying
 A flock of birds flies along the Kinabatangan River

Lot 6  Kinabatangan River
 Kinabatangan River Lot 6

Kinabatangan River Crocodile Bank
Crocodile bank at Kinabatangan

Map to Danau Girang Kinabatangan
Danau Girang Map

Volunteering at Danau Girang

If you are interested in participating in a volunteer program or any other research, you are advised to directly contact the Danau Girang Field Center.

They will inform you on what are the necessary procedures required for this experience. Please note that this can be a lengthy process.


As Danau Girang is prioritized for research, you can only arrange with the field center if you want to make a visit to this amazing place.

Currently, there are no commercial tours or trips available to Danau Girang in Sabah, and any additional information may be obtained from them directly. 


Simon Lee said...

I think this is a hidden treasure, i have not heard about Danau Girang before this:) I think this place is good for mangrove tour?


gbeejipp said...

Too bad places in Sabah especially those surrounded by oil plantation don't really excite me anymore. They look so hypocritical.

exotic travels and vacations said...

Seems like an interesting place. I suppose to include these places in my lists!

Malaysia Asia said...

Thank you. Yes, there are a quite a number of oil palm plantations around here but I am also glad that the government has gazetted areas for things like these. There's still a lot of forest reserve and hope they will put in more effort to maintain the natural rainforest here.

There are no tours around here in Danau Girang for your information.

Clo said...

Beautiful Pics,
You may want to update the map: DGFC is between Batu uteh and Bilit.