Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Help to rehabilitate the largest number of captive orangutans in the world by volunteering at this orangutan sanctuary!

From £1,195.00

  • Up to 8 Persons
  • All Meals Included
  • 12-26 Nights
  • Orangutans
  • Set dates - enquire for details
  • Minimum Age 17

Project Details


With the largest number of orangutans in the world living under the care of a single organisation, the team try their hardest to provide the animals with the best welfare and most stimulating enrichment as possible. Enrichment, being the backbone of this project, helps the orangutans maintain their forest school skills which are vital in order for them to be released. As a volunteer, you’ll be a part of this important process by helping the on-site team collect, prepare, create and distribute all different types of enrichment to the orangutans. There’s no greater feeling than seeing a great ape interact with something you’ve made!
River Cruise
River Cruise
To start your volunteering journey, you'll embark on a river cruise around the spectacular orangutan islands to catch your first glimpse of the great apes. The orangutans spend time on these islands prior to their release and are given the space to put their forest skills (acquired through the rehabilitation programme) to the test. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn a little more about the project and the many successful releases BOSF have undertaken, as well as learning about some of the characters they have on the islands!
Sun Bear Care
Sun Bear Care
There might be a multitude of orangutans at the centre, but let's not forget about the gorgeous sun bears resident at Nyaru Menteng too! There are no specific keepers for the bears here, so it's important that the project staff and volunteers pull together to contribute to sun bear care. While this activity largely revolves around the cleaning and maintenance of the bear enclosures, you might find yourself lucky enough to feed them on occasion, as well as distributing enrichment! Please note: the bears are due to move to the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Vounteer Project in July 2019.
Orangutan Observation
Orangutan Observation
After spending much of your volunteer experience creating enrichment for the orangutans, you'll have the opportunity to get back to boating around the pre-release islands. This activity will really highlight what you've been helping to work towards! Here you’ll be able to observe the orangutans behaving naturally and freely, as well as allowing you to witness first-hand the value of BOSF's work - alongside that of your fellow volunteers. This is the perfect picture opportunity for any photography enthusiasts out there!
Hilltop Trek
Hilltop Trek
You will take a trip to a local hilltop called Bukit Tangkiling, where you will be able to take in the brilliant views of the surrounding landscape – the perfect opportunity for a group photo! Volunteers will take a walk up a steep hillside where you will see many traditional Dayak buildings and shrines along the way, learning about their indigenous religion as you go. While there are no longer any traditional tribal people in the area, the locals still have fascinating traditions with regards to religion and burial, so you will get to discover a culture like no other!
Night Market
Night Market
You will take a trip to a traditional night market which is the perfect opportunity to really experience how people live here. Given its lack of tourists, you will have the chance to interact with the locals, explore souvenir stalls and taste some unique local cuisine! Most of the local people in the area come here to purchase their groceries amongst other things, so this really is a great insight into Indonesian life.


Please note that some activities mentioned in the itinerary may be subject to change during the time of your stay depending on weather conditions and the requirements of the project at the time. Below is a guideline of a typical two-week itinerary

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will fly into Palankaraya Airport where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary. Upon arrival, you will be able to settle into your accommodation and meet you're fellow volunteers. In the evening, you'll be given a full orientation by the project facilitator.
Day 2 - Orangutan Islands:
Your morning will begin with an incredible river cruise around the orangutan islands. Here you have a chance to see the orangutans that are in the final stage of rehabilitation before their eventual release. After lunch, you will get involved in an enrichment activity for these great apes.
Day 3 - Orangutan Enrichment:
In the morning you could be preparing food for some of the 393 orangutans who reside at the sanctuary, including those with special dietary requirements or you will collect bamboo and create enrichment for the orangutans. After lunch, you'll head out into the field to collect materials for the orangutans to nest with!
Day 4 - Orangutan and Sun Bear Enrichment:
Today you will create enrichment for both the orangutans and sun bears. Whilst we have specific enrichment items we often create and give to the animals, we are always open to new ideas so this is your chance to be creative!
Day 5 - Bukit Tangkiling:
In the morning you will work on food preparation or enrichment before heading to Bukit Tangkiling after lunch. Here you will embark on a trek to take in some of the local scenery and also learn about some of the local history and culture.
Day 6 - Babies at Play:
After breakfast, your group will split into two to work on enrichment or husbandry before an afternoon you will never forget - after collecting nesting materials you'll head over to the baby playground to watch the young orangutans return from jungle school!
Day 7 - Relax and a Visit to the Night Market:
Today is Saturday, so take the day to enjoy your free time as you please! Later, in the evening, the whole group will head to a traditional night market, where you will get a real taste of Indonesian culture…and of course the incredible food!
Day 8 - Orangutan Enrichment and a Trip to Town:
Every two weeks the volunteers will travel into the local town to purchase items for enrichment making. You'll sit down for a lunch in town before visiting a nearby tourist market. Once finished, you'll make your way back to the volunteer house to enjoy dinner with your group.
Day 9 - Reforestation and Orangutan Enrichment:
Today you may take part in vital reforestation work around the sanctuary with your entire group throughout the morning. In the afternoon, the group will be split into two to work on either enrichment or collecting nesting materials for the orangutans.
Day 10 - Another Orangutan Day:
Today is another orangutan focused day and you will split into two groups alternating between creating and distributing enrichment to the orangutans and husbandry. To finish the day you'll have another incredible opportunity to watch the young orangutans play after school! Make sure to take your camera!
Day 11-12 - Orangutan Observation:
On these days you will get to enjoy orangutan observation! You will work on daily enrichment tasks, and then venture out to the orangutan islands to watch these beautiful apes in their semi-wild conditions. This rewarding experience will really highlight what you've been working towards!
Day 13 - Final Day:
Sadly, your final day at the project has arrived. Enjoy a lie-in this morning before packing your things and bidding farewell to the project staff, your new-found friends and, of course, all of the animals! You will then transfer back to the airport for your flight home, or to commence your onward travel plans.

Dates, Availability & Price

To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project, but please be aware, the volunteer program only runs between March and August. 

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.

*Rates other than GBP are estimates based on today's exchange rates. All payments are made in GBP.

Updates & Outcomes

Since its inception back in 1999, the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary has worked tirelessly towards orangutan conservation, and has developed one of the most renowned and successful rehabilitation and release programmes in the world. The orangutan release programme began back in 2012, when the sanctuary was home to some 600 orangutans – by 2018, a staggering 267 orangutans have been released into the local national park, and serve as to the project’s phenomenal efforts.

The hard work of BOSF and the sanctuary staff is plain to see: the rehabilitation of an orangutan can take up to 7 years, and with so many orangutans still resident at the sanctuary, the team’s efforts are impossible to ignore. The sanctuary carries out orangutan releases every 2-3 months, and rescue efforts take place regularly with at-risk orangutans being brought in for further protection. If the rescued orangutans are found to be in good health, the BOSF team will translocate the animals back into protected areas of rainforest, allowing the animals to resume their lives in the wild as normal; should they need further help, however, they will be brought to the sanctuary to be treated at the onsite clinic.

We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting conservation programme and look forward to seeing how our volunteers can continue to support the hard work undertaken at Nyaru Menteng. Thanks to the team at the Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation, countless orangutan lives have been improved over the years – become a part of the story by contributing your efforts as a volunteer!

Introducing The 10 Orangutans Just Released From Our Brand-New Volunteer Project At Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary!

Introducing The 10 Orangutans Just Released From Our Brand-New Volunteer Project At Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary!

Following the exciting launch of our new project at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary, we'd like to show off some of the incredible work carried out by the amazing project team thus far! The project had its most recent release on the 14th of August - read on to 'meet' the orangutans finding freedom once more as they head back into the wild.

Read More

Is this trip for you?



Volunteers will stay in either an authentic longhouse, or one of two houses situated opposite in the jungle surroundings of the sanctuary's grounds. Rooms are based on a twin-share, same-sex basis with two double rooms available for couples at request (only available on a first-come, first-serve basis). Each room comes complete with bed linen, a fan, and mosquito nets. All rooms have their own en-suite bathrooms, complete with a western toilet, shower, sink and mirror.

There is a kitchen and communal area in the longhouse, which is free for all volunteers to use. The communal area also has Wi-Fi available (at no additional cost), but please bear in mind that the signal can be sporadic. There is a free, regular cleaning service if you wish for your room to be tended to and there are also laundry services available, though these come at a small fee.

Meals and Beverages

Meals and Beverages

Volunteers can enjoy three meals per day at the project, with all meals and drinking water included in the project fee. Breakfast will be prepared by the volunteers themselves and will consist of staples such as toast, cereals, eggs and noodles. Your lunches and dinners will be prepared for you by a member of staff and will either be eaten in the guest area of the sanctuary or in the canteen, depending on the day’s activities. These meals will consist of typical Indonesian food, such as rice, noodles, and fried vegetables. While vegetarians can be catered for, it is important that you inform us of any dietary requirements in advance of your project start date as the sanctuary is quite remote, therefore it can be tough to obtain certain foods at short notice. Snacks are not currently available onsite, but they can be purchased from a small local store (around 15 minutes’ walk away from the accommodation).

Beer can be purchased at the sanctuary at the volunteers’ own expense but should only be consumed within the volunteer accommodation. We kindly request that volunteers do not bring their own alcohol, such as spirits, onto this project.

Fitness And Skills

Fitness And Skills

There is a moderate level of fitness required to take part in this project. There may be small construction tasks that will take place in humid conditions, as well as short walks which involve walking uphill. The other tasks are not too physically strenuous, but for the reasons mentioned above we advise that you ensure you can cope with the few physically demanding tasks involved. There are no specific skill sets or experience that are required to join this project, but volunteers must always be willing to work as part of a team and follow the project code of conduct.



To volunteer here you must have Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Vaccinations, as well as an HIV and HCV test (to check for Hepatitis C) before arrival. A chest x-ray or skin test will need to be provided to prove that you do not have TB. Alternatively, if you have previously had a BCG injection and can provide proof of this, that will also suffice. Please can you either email a scanned copy of your vaccinations card and test results to info@thegreatprojects.com or upload them to your project account as soon as they have been completed.
This is ESSENTIAL, as without the above you will not be granted access to the volunteer areas on sites.

No Contact Policy

No Contact Policy

We are often asked whether or not volunteers will have the chance to touch or play with the orangutans whilst on this project. Our answer to this question is, and will always be no, and this is for good reason.

Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases and something as minor as the common cold can prove fatal to these Great Apes. Also an environment of constant change, with new volunteers going to the project every two or four weeks and being in contact with the orangutans would be very detrimental to the Orangutans wellbeing. With no consistency in their lives behavioural problems arise. They also have a tendency to begin to trust humans which is damaging should they be released back into the wild, as they will become easy targets for poachers. Finally, an orangutan is around 7 times stronger than an adult male human so a no contact policy is just as crucial for your wellbeing as orangutan welfare.

That is not to say that as a volunteer you will have no interaction with the orangutans, it simply means that you will have no direct contact with them. You will still observe them on a daily basis and see how your contribution to their husbandry and enrichment makes a real difference in these great apes’ lives.

Project Details

When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?

There is no real preferred time to volunteer, the only factor which could affect this is the weather. However, the project runs between March and August, and so avoids the rainy season. This rehabilitation centre houses orangutans and sun bears all year round, so the help of volunteers is always needed!

Getting There

You need to fly into Palangkaraya on the day of your project start date. Most international flights arrive into Jakarta international airport (Soekarno-Hatta International Airport) and from there, it is possible to catch a connecting flight to Palangkaraya Airport. You will then be met at the airport by a member of the project staff and transferred to the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary, which is approximately a 40-minute drive away. Please note you will need to arrive between 8am and 5pm to get the transfer.

If you cannot find flights which arrive into Palangkaraya between 9am and 5pm, then you will need to arrive the day before your project start date and book an additional nights’ stay in a hotel in Palangkaraya at your own expense. This charming city offers various amenities and hotels, but please let us know if you would like any suggestions.

Visa Requirements

To join this project, you will need a tourist visa, which you can get on arrival into Indonesia. The cost for this visa is approximately US$35.

If you plan to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30 days, you can get a 30-day tourist visa on arrival and then extend your visa for a further 30 days by taking a trip to an embassy while in-country. Alternatively, it is possible to arrange a 60-day social/cultural visa in advance of your arrival and we can provide you with the correct documents to support your application.

We advise that you speak to the embassy in your country to see if there are any requirements for travel. Please note that your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your date of entry into Indonesia.

Currency And Exchange Rates

The currency in-country is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). As of July 2018, the exchange rate was roughly £1 to IDR 19,000, however, it is important to note that this is likely to fluctuate, so it is best to check XE's website for the most up to date exchange rates.

What's Included In The Price Of The Project?
  • Three meals per day
  • Accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • River cruise
  • Hilltop trek
  • Visit to the night market
  • Conservation donation
What's Not Included?
  • All flights
  • Visas
  • Snacks
  • Alcohol and soft drinks

Speak To A Travel Expert

Enquire to receive the Project Guide for free!

Give Us A Call


+44 208 885 4987

If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.

Nikita & team.

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

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   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987

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