Become immersed in tribal life, whilst working towards the conservation of magnificent orangutans
Volunteers on this orangutan volunteer project will take an unforgettable jungle tour through the lush Borneo rainforests to experience the beauty of orangutans in the wild. The programme also features two visits to the region's orangutan centres – the Matang Wildlife Centre and the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, as well as three breathtaking national parks – Bako, Kubah and Batang Ai. Both Bornean orangutan sanctuaries and all three national parks are managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, who play an active role in the ongoing conservation of the area's orangutans.
This 'voluntour' is designed to raise awareness of the conservation efforts made in Sarawak, to restore the harmony between people and orangutans that has become strained in recent years. The orangutan project is a voyage of discovery for the volunteers who take part, giving them access to the rehabilitation efforts at Matang Wildlife Centre, the released, semi-wild orangutans of Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the seven different habitats of Borneo in the amazing Bako National Park and a one week trip into the lush rainforest. This rainforest trip will involve meeting the descendants of the legendary Borneo head-hunters – the Iban tribe – who are now the custodians of the wild orangutans of Batang Ai. This will be an experience you certainly won't forget in a hurry!
The aim of this project is to allow volunteers to experience first-hand, the positive conservation efforts being made in the Sarawak region, by uncovering some of the existing problems and exploring the solutions to sustaining orangutan populations in Malaysian Borneo. Orangutan volunteers should partake with an open mind, appreciating the opportunity to discover new lifestyles and cultures, and with the aim of absorbing as much information as possible about the orangutan conservation efforts.
Please note itineraries are subject to change and what follows is only a rough guideline.
With the extinction of orangutans being a very real possibility in the near future, volunteers are essential in the process of finding a sustainable solution. A third of the price of this project goes directly towards supporting the rehabilitation of the orangutans that volunteers visit, through various orangutan sanctuaries and initiatives in the local area. This money also helps to support the Iban tribes and to sustain their way of life. It provides them with the means to protect their native jungle where wild orangutans live, and allows them to afford education and healthcare for their children. The voluntour itself employs local guides and supports local communities wishing to live in harmony with their rainforest home, and demonstrates that orangutans and their environment are worth more alive and nurtured, than forested and sold. This is a virtuous circle, generating interest within the local community and authorities, which places value on their natural heritage and secures the future welfare of the species that also call it home.
"Of all the animals that our projects work to conserve and protect, the mighty orangutan is closest to our hearts, as The Great Orangutan Project was our founding programme, where it all began"Read More
"This month from the 12th to the 17th of November is Orangutan Awareness Week (OAW). We'll be going orang-mad (more so that we currently are!) with the aim of spreading love and knowledge of our forest dwelling cousins and drawing attention to their plight in Indonesia and Malaysia."Read More
In Kuching, volunteers stay in a boutique guesthouse, which features internet, television and phone, in shared rooms.
In the Matang Wildlife Centre, volunteers will stay in the grounds of the centre – an idyllic setting in a remote rainforest area, inside of Kubah National Park.
In Batang Ai, the accommodation consists of a basic lodge, with cold showers, electricity from a generator.
Three meals a day and drinks are provided throughout the tour. Meals with typically consist of noodles, rice, vegetables and meat. Vegetarian options are always available.
This project does not involve a lot in the way of physical labour, but it will involve trekking in the rainforest on the tour - usually in fairly humid conditions. Therefore, all volunteers should have high enough levels of fitness to be able to partake in regular treks. No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team, and to bring an upbeat, positive attitude to the endeavour as a whole.
The vaccinations required will depend on the medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
Please be aware there is no physical contact allowed between volunteers and the apes unless under veterinary conditions. Excessive habituation to humans is nothing but detrimental to rehabilitation and conservation goals.
Volunteers should arrive at Kuching airport on the project start day between 7am - 5pm, where they will be met by a project representative, and taken by private transfer to each site accommodation in turn.
There is no visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia. Check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.
The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP, 0.23 EUR and 0.31 USD
Rachael Diver, 2015
Lauren Regan - Ingram , 2015
Nicola Wiltshire, 2014
Amanda Harris, 2014
Nicola Kindness, 2014
Paul Barton, 2014
Kerry Weight, 2014
Marc Haldron, 2013
Maria Notaridou, 2013
Cassie Screen, 2013