Explore Borneo's lush rainforest in search of wild orangutan and the rare pygmy elephant!
Based in the mystical Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain Rainforest in Sabah, this orangutan project completely encompasses the awe-inspiring diversity and dynamism of Borneo's wildlife. The area in which you will be volunteering is situated within WWF's protected 'Corridor of Life', a region of enormous importance in balancing land-development and the needs of its indigenous communities and wildlife.
About the Project
This project allows complete immersion into the natural wonder of the unique habitat, aiming to work on the reforestation of the environment, to help orangutans and pygmy elephants in Borneo to thrive. As a volunteer you will stay in the small village of Sukau for the duration of the project, a rural, indigenous community with a population of approximately just 1,000. The charming, hospitable 'Orang Sungai' ('People of the River'), are always keen to share their way of life and welcome guests into their community. In return, you will assist with educating the local population on the importance of conservation and implementing more sustainable ways of living. The main part of the programme will be centred on activities in and around Sukau village or along the Kinabatangan River, but you will also spend time working with the project staff, assisting with wildlife monitoring through river-cruises and rainforest-treks. As well as orangutans and pygmy elephants, the orangutan wildlife sanctuary in which the project is based is also home to gibbons and hornbills - making it a wildlife-spotting haven. Towards the end of the programme, volunteers have the chance to visit the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, and experience more of the incredible work undertaken by this project.
Prior to Arrival
Please note that itineraries are subject to change and what follows is simply a rough guideline.
You will spend your regular working days actively taking part in conservation activities. These include wildlife population density data collection, cruising along the river to observe and record the endangered wildlife that roam the forest along the river banks, habitat restoration, spending half a day with school children of the community to work on conservation issues that the children deal with on a daily basis and emphasize their immediate and personal impact on conservation, working with the local people to emphasize the importance of conservation and attending many conservation talks and seminars.
Enjoy your freetime by going on to the local town and enjoying the surroundings.
The nearest airport to the Sabah region is Sandakan International (SDK) and you must arrive between 7am - 5pm on the project start date where you will be met and transferred (included in the price of the project) to the temporary accommodation which will take roughly 1.5 to 2 hours.
For the first night in Sepilok, you will stay in dormitory style accommodation with warm showers and a western toilet in a traditional longhouse.
Whilst on the project you will stay in the Sukau village local B&B, in shared rooms. There is also ample opportunity to spend time in the homes of the villagers and join them for meals.
For the last night in Sandakan, you will stay in a comfortable and basic hotel in the town.
All meals and beverages are provided and are included in the price of the project. The meals are prepared by local villagers in their homes which offers a great opportunity to hear about their daily lives, chat with the children and see how they have been living for centuries. Some nights you will also have the chance to cook and eat as a volunteer group.