from 1,716€

Perfect 4.6rating (183)

Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary

location
1 - 3 weeks  ·  Age 17 - 50+

rating  Perfect 4.6  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Highlights

  • Volunteer to provide a safe haven for rehabilitated orangutans and sun bears
  • Assist in the rehabilitation of orangutans and sun bears rescued from distressing situations
  • Contribute to the successful release of orangutans back into the wild
  • Experience close contact with orangutans through activities such as feeding and observing them
  • Gain valuable knowledge about the animals and their natural environment through immersive experiences

Especially suitable

Age 17+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the program

This project offers you the chance to work on enrichment with captive orangutans and sun bears at the world renowned Samboja Lestari rescue centre.

Samboja Lestari is an area of restored tropical rainforest near the city of Balikipapan in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Established by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), the 2,000 hectare sanctuary here was created with the aim of providing a safe haven for rehabilitated ...

About the program

Samboja Lestari is an area of restored tropical rainforest near the city of Balikipapan in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Established by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), the 2,000 hectare sanctuary here was created with the aim of providing a safe haven for rehabilitated orangutans and sun bears, whilst also at the same time providing a source of income for local people. Since 2001, the surrounding area has been planted with more than a million trees covering more than 1000 different species. With the growth of the forest, the density and diversity of wildlife returned. So far 137 bird species and nine primate species have been recorded.

About the project

At Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary, one of Indonesia's most prestigious and renowned orangutan rehabilitation and rescue centres, and one of the main focal points of BOS ('The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation'), the emphasis is on the rehabilitation and release of orangutans, many of whom were rescued from atrocious situations. The overriding goal is to reintroduce orangutans back to secure natural habitats in order to establish new viable long-term populations to bolster the conservation of the species within the wild. A number of orangutans have been already been successfully released by BOSF.

One of the projects proudest achievements are the Forest Schools here, which provide natural, educational playgrounds for the orangutans in which to learn forest skills before returning to their enclosures to sleep at night. A Clinic and Quarantine area has also been established as well as many new forest cages for larger orangutans and a Babies' Room for the little ones. Multiple orangutan islands have also been created to accommodate orangutans suffering chronic hepatitis B or other disabilities which prevent them from ever being released into the wild. For these orangutans, the sanctuary provides them with a safe haven where they can live out the rest of their lives away from the threat of deforestation and human destruction. 

Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary also includes a 58-hectare area put aside for the 50 + sun bears resident here which have all been rescued from the illegal pet trade or from areas of major deforestation.

Your work as a volunteer on this project will be to help rehabilitate these orangutans and sun bears and help with enrichment, husbandry and general sanctuary upkeep. Each year since 2012 orangutans have been able to be released by the foundation and your work as a volunteer will help ensure more orangutans can continue to be released.

Prior to Arrival

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Indonesia. Entry to Indonesia will be refused and airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than six months validity. You are required to retain your arrival card for presentation to Immigration upon your departure.

In order to join this project you will need a tourist visa. You will be able to get one of these on arrival into Indonesia, but please note you may have to pay for this on arrival. The cost is currently $35 for a 30-day visa.

If you plan to stay longer than 30 days in Indonesia, you will need to arrange a 60-day tourist visa in advance or an extension in person. The cost for the 60-day visa can vary depending on which Indonesian embassy you are applying through.

You need to fly into Balikpapan on the project start date between 9am - 5pm. Most volunteers travelling to the project will need to stop and change via Jakarta international airport (Soekarno-Hatta International Airport). There are numerous daily flights departing Jakarta for Balikpapan (Sultan Aji Muhamad Sulaiman Airport). Air Asia or Garuda are generally the cheapest. Once in Balikpapan, you will be met by a project representative who will then transfer you to Samboja Lestari.

Also in case you are not aware, there are medical tests required to join this project. You must be fully vaccinated (at least two doses) against COVID-19. To volunteer here you must also provide evidence that you do not have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and TB before arrival. 



Typical day

Day 1-2 - Arrival and Induction:

Arrival at Balikpapan Airport in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. A lodge representative will meet you at the airport arrivals and will transfer you to the eco lodge at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary. Once settled in you will be given a briefing by Kate your ...

Typical day

Day 1-2 - Arrival and Induction:

Arrival at Balikpapan Airport in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. A lodge representative will meet you at the airport arrivals and will transfer you to the eco lodge at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary. Once settled in you will be given a briefing by Kate your project facilitator. Your induction day which consists of a tour of the entirety of the facility site. Not only will you meet the resident orangutans but you will also meet the facilities' sun bears.

Day 3-4 - Orangutan Enrichment and Husbandry/Project Work with the Sun Bears:

Today you will begin your project work at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary. The group is usually split in two with half spending a whole day working on creating enrichment items for the orangutans and assisting with husbandry and the other half doing the same for the sun bears. The second day the group will reverse role with those who helped with the orangutans, now working with the sun bears and vice versa. There is also the opportunity to help feed the orangutans on the islands for some(everyone will get this opportunity during the project).

Day 5 - Forest Walk:

For a change of pace and an education, on this morning you will take part in a forest walk with members of the orangutan release team and a botanist. During this walk, you will learn about the flora and fauna resident here as well as the food that the orangutans like best! ?The afternoon is spent working on enrichment for the orangutans, after all there are 250 at the centre and enrichment is something the project tries to provide to each of them every day.

Day 6 - Orangutan Enrichment and the Night Market:

Today will be another orangutan day, where you will continue to create enrichment but of a different type for the orangutans and you may also help with leaf collection. These leaves are given to the orangutans so that they may make their nests. Tonight you will have the opportunity to visit the local vibrant night market.

Day 7 - Morning to Relax & then a Boat Trip:

Today you will have the morning off, and we recommend catching up on your sleep as you will be tired after a few days hard work! Later, in the afternoon, you'll be able to go on a fantastic boat trip along the black river. This boat trip is a great chance to see the iconic proboscis monkey and a typical Indonesian fishing village.

Day 8 - Tour the City of Balikpapan:

Today you will be able to spend a full day in the city of Balikpapan. You'll have the chance to visit the local shopping centre to buy anything you need as well as grab a bite to eat!

Day 9 - Another Orangutan Day:

After a little break, today, you will be back working with the orangutans, assisting with making enrichment and bamboo and leaf collection. You will also have the possibility of helping out with minor construction tasks and site maintenance.

Day 10 - Canopy Walk in the Rainforest:

Today it is time for an adventure by means of a canopy walk in the rainforest. You will have the opportunity to walk high up in the forest canopy, keeping your eyes peeled for gibbons and native flora and fauna.

Day 11 - 12 - Project Work with the Orangutans:

This will be the final day for 2 week volunteers and the last chance to work alongside the orangutans assisting with anything that needs to be done. In the evening you will have time to speak to the facilitators, view a slide show from your stay and if you fancy enjoy a few drinks as a group before transferring to the airport the next day.

Day 13 - Final Day or continuing with Project Work:

Departure day for those volunteers on the two-week project. After a fond farewell you will be transferred to Balikipapan Airport for your flight home or onward travel plans. If you are staying for a month you will be engaged in an afternoon activity before having the opportunity to once again visit the fantastic night market. All volunteers staying for 4 weeks will continue project activities in the style as for the two week itinerary with new volunteers arriving on Day 15 to join you.


Free-time activities

You will spend your time at the sanctuary throughout most of this project, but take a look at some of the itinerary to see some of the other activities you will take part in.

Free-time activities

You will spend your time at the sanctuary throughout most of this project, but take a look at some of the itinerary to see some of the other activities you will take part in.


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 17 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (intermediate level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

The construction work undertaken on this project will involve physical labour, often in humid conditions, and so this requires a moderate level of fitness. The other tasks however are not particularly physically strenuous, but a fair level of fitness is advised. No specific skills or experience are required, just a commitment to the project and its aims, a passion for wildlife conservation, an ability to work as a team and an upbeat, positive attitude.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

What's Included

What's Included

Services by The Great Projects

Airport transfers to and from Balikpapan, accommodation, three meals per day, tea, coffee and drinking water at the lodge, all volunteer activities at the project site, a conservation donation to Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary.

Airport Pickup at Sultan Aji Muhamad Sulaiman Airport

You need to fly into Balikpapan on the project start date between 9am - 5pm. Once in Balikpapan, you will be met by a project representative who will then transfer you to Samboja.

Accommodation

Accommodation during your time at Samboja will be within twin-share rooms at the Samboja Ecolodge where all of the interior and exterior walls are built out of recycled materials. Each room comes equipped with fully working air conditioning, mosquito nets and an en-suite bathroom with hot water and a western-style toilet. 

Food & Beverages

You will have three meals per day provided for you whilst on this project. Breakfast is a variety of cereals, eggs and rice/noodle dishes alongside fruit and fresh fruit juice. Lunches and dinners are delicious and typically consist of noodles or rice with chicken, seafood, mutton or beef and vegetables. Tofu and Soy bean dishes are also provided for vegetarians. Each meal is a buffet.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Sultan Aji Muhamad Sulaiman Airport (BPN) in Balikpapan. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

This project is extremely popular, with dates getting fully booked up to 6 months in advance. We therefore recommend that you secure your place as early as possible to ensure that you can join on your preferred start date.

This project has set start dates, all of which fall on a Sunday and can be found below.

Start Dates for a 12-Night Duration

In 2024 - March 31st, June 2nd, June 16th, June 30th, July 14th, August 4th, August 18th, September 1st, September 15th

In 2025 - March 30th, April 13th, April 27th, May 11th, June 1st, June 15th, June 29th, July 13th, August 3rd, August 17th, August 31st, September 14th

Start Dates for a 26-Night Duration

In 2024 - March 31st, June 2nd, June 30th, August 4th, September 1st

In 2025 - March 30th, April 27th, June 1st, June 29th, August 3rd, August 31st

All start dates are subject to availability. Please contact us to check whether your preferred start date is still available!

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

1 week 6 days (min. stay) 1,716€
3 weeks 6 days (max. stay) 2,946€
Average fees 844€/week

Program fees

844€ per week 1 - 3 weeks Age 17 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

1 - 3 weeks

Deposit

The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.


Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

The Great Projects

Perfect 4.6 rating (183 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2003

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Lauren

Spoken languages: English

About the project

The Great Projects work with organisations worldwide to establish high standards in animal welfare and conservation within the responsible tourism sector.

Meet your organization

Looking to volunteer abroad with animals? Here at The Great Projects we believe that there is a better way to holiday. Our award-winning wildlife volunteering abroad with animals projects and signature tours are not only designed to provide truly unique and life-changing experiences for volunteering worldwide, but our donation and conservation pledges ensure that your travel will have a lasting and sustainable impact on some of the planet's most incredible and endangered species and the local communities which live alongside them.

It all began with The Great Orangutan Project in Malaysian Borneo and after a number of years working with local authorities, passionate project facilitators, and hard-working volunteers to create a sustainable, progressive, and effective project - The Great Projects decided to use the experiences and knowledge we had gained to expand our expertise to other projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe!

Now with over 35 projects, you can be confident in the fact that you’ll be able to volunteer with some of the world's most incredible wildlife species in completely breath-taking environments. From orangutans in the Bornean rainforest to whale sharks in the Indian Ocean; you’re sure to find something suited to your interests. What’s more, The Great Projects make sure that with us, volunteers are completely immersed into the heart of the matter, at site, delivering an experience like no other as you become familiar with the life of an animal keeper, game ranger, or wildlife conservationist.

Plus, every time someone volunteers with The Great Projects  in addition to their fee which covers accommodation, food, and transfers, we donate up to £350 to the project visited to help the project itself. Therefore, our ecotours and projects are not only designed to be an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, but you will also join a project knowing that your travel truly does help to save endangered animals and the local communities with which they live alongside.

Here at The Great Projects, we believe that we should practice what we preach. We send volunteers to worldwide destinations on a range of truly unique and thoroughly worthwhile projects that make a real, sustainable difference to their causes. What’s more, The Great Projects provide them with dedicated UK-based staff that ensure volunteers have informative and friendly help throughout all stages of their experience, from initial enquiry to their return.

Through this, we can show volunteers that there is a better way to holiday. Our award-winning wildlife volunteering abroad with animals projects and signature tours are not only designed to provide truly unique and life-changing experiences for volunteering worldwide, but our donation and conservation pledges ensure that your travel will have a lasting and sustainable impact on some of the planet's most incredible and endangered species and the local communities which live alongside them.


Further, The Great Projects does not only aim to provide travel destinations that hold responsibility for animal welfare, but also to the environmental, economic and social impact of our conservation projects as a whole.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Here at The Great Projects, we are completely dedicated to providing our volunteers with the utmost protection with regards to health and safety.

Adventurous travel always involves some degree of risk. Our priority is to keep you safe and protect you as much as possible whilst still giving you an authentic experience of life in your chosen destination.

We conduct extensive risk assessments to make sure we have identified potential hazards and done everything we can to reduce them and we make sure you have the information you need about the destination you are visiting and how to stay safe and healthy while you are out there. We also are partnered with Endsleigh Insurance who are able to offer volunteers comprehensive insurance for all of our projects.

183 reviews · rating4.6

Victoire Riffaud de Turckheim rating5

2023 at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary

We are two French women (24 y/o) who have made a 12-day stay in this project. The project is very well built, whether it is the activities inside the reserve or outside! The supervisors are benevolent, attentive and always ready to have fun! The lodge (kitchen and accommodation) is very well laid ...
Martha Keegan rating5

2023 at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary

I have dreamed of meeting and working with orangutans my whole life, and this experience did not even come close to disappointing me. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I came by myself and met the loveliest people in my group, so don’t be apprehensive if you are a solo traveller! The ...
Rob Carter rating4.6

2018 at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary

Samboja Lestari Orangutan sanctuary was my first volunteer project. I booked it a long way in advance so there was a danger that it might not live up to my expectations but it actually surpassed them by a long way. The 8 days there were fantastic. We had so much close engagement with the apes every ...
The entire experience surpassed expectation. I don't think we could've asked for a better coordinated project. We have Harriet to thank for producing memories that will last a ...
The minute you saw the orangutans, and when we were there they were doing an orangutan release! The excitement there was incredible. ...
Getting to know the orang-utans personalities a bit more day by day. Also, cleaning the moat was a lot of fun. ...

Location

Asia > South East Asia > Indonesia > Balikpapan

You might also be interested in

Contact Lauren
  Very high response rate
English

Most volunteers ask about


Do you have any more questions? Send a message to Lauren
Please do not share personal contact details for your privacy