Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant Project

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Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant Project

from £1,095
Duration: 12 days
Countries: Malaysia
Come and explore the awe-inspiring diversity and dynamism of Borneo’s wildlife in Sabah’s stunning Kinbatangan Floodplain Rainforest.

Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant Project

Based in the mystical Lower Kinbatangan Floodplain Rainforest in Sabah, this orangutan project completely encompasses the awe-inspiring diversity and dynamism of Borneo's wildlife. The area in which volunteers work is situated within WWF's protected 'Corridor of Life', a region of enormous importance in balancing land-development and the needs of its indigenous communitites and wildlife. This orangutan 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.

Volunteers will stay in the small 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, volunteers 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 centered on activities in and around Sukau village or along the Kinbantangan River, but all volunteers will also spend time working with Borneo orangutan sanctuary staff, assisting with wildlife monitoring through river-cruises and rainforest-treks. As well as orangutans and pygmy elephants, the orangutan wildlife sanctuary wildlife sanctuary in which the project is based is also home to singing gibbons and hornbills - making it a wildlife-spotting haven.


Day 1

Arrive at Sandakan International Airport (SDK) and transfer to temporary accommodation, where you will have a welcome dinner & introduction.

Day 2

Enjoy a small lie-in before heading over to Sukau Village and settle into room-shared accommodation in the village B&B. Meet some villagers and explore.

Day 3-10

Volunteer Activities begin, including river-cruise data collection, habitat restoration and partaking in the village education programme.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days at Sukau will be included. 

Day 11

Depart Sukau and transfer to Sandakan. Stop along the way at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary to view the morning feeding session. After lunch visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre before heading back to Sepilok for the afternoon feeding session. Check into accommodation in Sandakan for the night.

Day 12  

This is the final day. You will check out and transfer to Sandakan airport for return flight or commence independent travel plans. 

Project Activities

On this project, you will get the chance to take part in a wide variety of exciting activities. Below are examples of some of those included in this project.

Developing knowledge
Volunteers will learn about orangutans within the rehabilitation stage and also come to understand the process of releasing them back to the wild.

Wildlife Monitoring
The principal focus of the project is to work towards the conservation of the orangutans and pygmy elephants in Borneo. This is achieved mainly through monitoring their numbers and patterns, as well as those of other animals in the habitat.

Boat trips
In order to see as much wildlife as possible, some of the monitoring/data collection will be conducted from a boat whilst cruising along the river.

Another essentially important method of preserving the local environment is through reforestation. Part of every volunteer’s time will therefore be spent planting new trees and tending to the pygmy elephant and orangutan habitat - so as to help their numbers slowly increase.

Spending time with the ‘Orang Sungai’
Orangutan volunteers will also work with this welcoming and friendly community, living along the river bank. Educating the community and providing them with economic motivation for conservation is one of the best ways of protecting local wildlife, and all volunteers will contribute to this education effort. 

You will be taken on numerous treks so as to spot an extensive range of flora and fauna inland, as well as learn about the lush and mysterious rainforests of Sabah.

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Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,095

What's included?

• Airport transfers to and from Sandakan Airport (SDK)
• Welcome dinner in Sepilok, Sandakan
• Transfer from temporary accommodation to project site accommodation
• Programme introduction in Sabah and orientation in the village
• Entrance fees to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary
• Entrance fees to Rainforest Discovery Centre
• English-speaking programme facilitator
• 11 nights at designated accommodation
• Meals whilst partaking in the project
• All activities, materials, tools and equipment included in orangutan volunteer ‘Project Days’
• Boat and river transfers

What's not included?

• International and domestic airfare
• Visa application/fees if required
• Meals and accommodation when travelling independently
• Travel insurance
• Private transfers


There is no visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysian Borneo that requires purchase prior to arrival. A visa stamp is provided upon arrival at the airport

About The Great Projects

Here at The Great Projects we believe that there is a better way to holiday. Our award winning wildlife volunteer projects and signature tours present you with a truly life changing experience alongside the chance help animal conservation efforts all around the world. Whether you want to work with Orangutans in Borneo, Cheetahs in Namibia, or Tigers in India, we have the perfect project for everyone, and with donations made for each trip, your travel with have a lasting impact on local wildlife and the communities living alongside it.

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Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. The Great Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.

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