Orang-Utan Protection

Sumatra, Indonesia show on map

NGO | Gapforce

Join us on a 4-8-week jungle adventure to help protect the endangered Orang-Utan and their habitat in one of the oldest and most beautiful rainforests in the world!

About the Project

Working on behalf of our new project partner in North Sumatra, The Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), you will be assisting on a vital conservation project to protect the endangered Orangutan and stunning rainforest ecosystem. You will also trek into the jungle to see the incredible rainforest and wildlife it hosts. Having actively contributed as a conservation volunteer you will then head over to Bali to explore this beautiful island in the Java Sea – all together an action packed 8 week adventure!

The islands of Borneo and Sumatra represent the last remaining natural habitat for Orangutans in Indonesia. The Bornean Orangutan, with a greater remaining habitat range, is at less risk of immediate extinction and classified as endangered, whereas the Sumatran Orangutan is now classified as critically endangered.

Forest cover in Sumatra was reduced by 61% from 1985-1997 due to logging, infrastructure development, internal migration, and plantation development. The Sumatran Orangutan population has decreased by 86% over the past 100 years.  The most recent estimate places the figure around 7,300 left in the wild, with steady losses occurring every year. 

Your Itinerary 

Phase 1 Day 1- Day 4: Intro Days

Arrive in Medan airport, Sumatra, to meet your Expedition Leader and the rest of your team. You will spend a few nights in Medan to acclimatise to your new surroundings and culture before heading into the jungle to begin your adventure!

The course begins with an introduction to the programme and the intended itinerary. Kit will be discussed and checked for suitability and there will be an opportunity to buy any missing items. Lesson one, be prepared! 

Phase 2: Orangutan Habitat Restoration

Your base for the next 2 weeks is the OIC restoration site close Hablan village, the last settlement before entering the Gunung Leuser National Park. Gunung Leuser has one of the most concentrated population of Orangutan in the Southern hemisphere but deforestation and encroachment of their habitat has destroyed their environment and displaced them from the natural forest.

With the help of local staff and guides, over the next two weeks you will learn about the famous Leuser ecosystem and experience the ecology of the Sumatran Jungle first hand! Activities include:

Nursery Activities - Tree nursery is an important component of the restoration program. You will be collecting seedlings, seeds and fruits for nursery centre, and also learn how to prepare and cultivate tree saplings or seeds in nursery centre and germination house.

Planting along Wildlife corridors - Through this activity students will understand about as well as directly involved in enrichment tree planting to create wildlife corridor needed by wildlife including critically endangered Sumatran orangutan.

Tree Maintenance - Maintaining trees is a crucial part of restoration program to ensure a higher survival rate of planted trees. Biodiversity identification – Learn to identify tree species and insect identification.

Accelerated Natural Regeneration Methods - Besides planting trees, we also encourage natural regeneration as a part of restoration method. You will be introduced to ANR as an important component of restoration program.

Next we will embark on a challenging and rewarding trek into some of the pristine rainforest in search of wildlife and remote communities. In order to prepare for the trek, your leader will provide some survival training to ensure you’re all ready!  

Phase 3: Bushcraft, Jungle Trek & Rafting – 1 week

Basic Jungle Training
The first few days of training will be spent learning essential skills needed to operate in your new environment. Topics taught here can include: 

• Jungle Observations – learn how to hone their powers of observation so that maybe, just maybe, you will spot a leopard before it spots them….
• Basha set up – An essential skill, the home of every jungle ninja – you need to learn how to put it up well or else you risk getting very, very wet! 
• Flora and Fauna – learning which plants will help and harm you as well as developing knowledge of the animals you will see and hear
• Fire Lighting – learn how to light fires, even in wet jungle conditions.   The ultimate test – who can boil a cup of tea first?

Jungle Trek 
Training complete, you’ll head off on a 5 day trek into the Sumatra jungle. Your journey gives you the opportunity to observe a difference of biodiversity and tree composition between secondary and primary forest. As well as trying to spot wildlife, you will also be taught how to identify some wildlife based on the evidence of their presences such as nests, food remains and scratch marks. You will also witness devastation to the Leuser Ecosystem, coming from palm oil plantation, encroachment and other illegal activities. 

Bukit Lawang
As reward for your trekking efforts, we’ll head over to the popular tourist resort of Bukit Lawang with its wonderful selection of treks into the heart of the jungle, whitewater adventures and some of the best opportunities to see wild Orangutans in the world!

Upon return from Bukit Lawang, you will spend a few days on the following vital conservation and education initiatives

Human Orangutan Response Unit (HOCRU)
HOCRU programme is the only active initiative directly tackling human-orangutan conflict in the field in Sumatra.  Working alongside the HOCRU team, your activities include:
Monitoring isolated Orangutan population located near a palm oil plantation
Conducting education program in schools near the Orangutan habitat
Support rescues procedures of Orangutans from illegal pet trade or trapped on palm oil farms

Camera Trap & Data Collection
As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to help set camera traps to record and track movements of some of the forest’s most elusive wildlife! Activities include:
Check Camera Traps and Catalogue data and camera trap Footage
Trekking to survey and collecting data of Orang Utan’s Nests
Using drones for biodiversity monitoring

Community Agroforestry, Reforestation & Education (CARE)
The primary driver of deforestation in the Gunung Leuser National Park forests is subsistence agriculture by local farmers. Activities on the The CARE programme include:
Helping local farmer to produce organic compost and fertiliser
teach English to local students
work at local community library

We return to Medan for a few days R&R before the next stage of your adventure!

Leaving the jungles of Borneo behind, we take a short flight over the Java Sea to the paradise island of Bali. Well known for its beautiful beaches and fascinating culture, we’ll spend the next 2 weeks enjoying all the sights and activities this island has to offer!

Typical day

As the tasks at the camp vary all year round, there is no such thing as a "typical day" for our volunteers. The tasks you will take part in during your stay will vary and depend on what is needed by our partner organisation.

Details on Arrival

The available starting dates are the 1st of July and the 23rd of September. Arrival and departure airport is Medan and for the 8-week program the departure airport is Bali Denpasar.

Free-time activities

Rafting, hiking, tubing, wildlife spotting

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
Required Documents
Medical form available after booking
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The fitter you are the better; however this expedition is suitable for ALL fitness levels. Your fitness will increase greatly over the course of the expedition.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Gapforce cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Gapforce.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Gapforce (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Gapforce

• Comprehensive Pre-departure support and Webinar briefing
• Airport pick-up and drop off
• Welcome and orientation briefing
• All accommodation
• 3 meals per day
• All transfers and activities listed
• A Trekforce Expedition Leader throughout your stay
• In-country support staff
• All Training listed
• Social activities
• 24/7 UK emergency backup
• T-shirt

Airport Pickup at Kuala Namu International Airport

Airport pick-up in Medan


During your Jungle Training you will be staying in lodges with dorm rooms and shared bathrooms. During your travel upriver, project work and trekking it will be back to nature, staying in jungle camps, sleeping in hammocks and enjoying the untouched jungle around you!

Dorm Room Camping
Food & Beverages

Basic and nutritious, lots of rice and vegetables with occasional meat (fish, chicken, boar). In the jungle you will typically live off a Basic Army Ration Diet:
Breakfast: Porridge
Lunch: Crackers, Tuna & Peanut butter
Dinner: Vegetable curry & rice/noodles
Plus drinks, snacks and additional local food collected from the jungle including bamboo, river fern & katkong and local fruit like buapua, lansat, jackfruit and durian

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) in Kuala Namu. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
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.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Sumatra/Indonesia between 4 weeks and 8 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Gapforce will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Indonesia.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
Your final payment must be made up to 30 days before to the volunteer program starts. This payment is also securely handled by PayPal or credit card.

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