Wildlife conservation in Borneo

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our extraordinary wildlife conservation and reforestation project in Malaysian Borneo. You’ll get to work alongside the local communities of the Kinabatangan River and amongst its wildlife including orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and more…
Wildlife conservation project Sabah wildlife Sandakan Orang Sungai community Kinabatangan river Tree planting and habitat restoration Orangutans Pygmy elephants Proboscis monkeys macaques
£999 excluding flights
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7 Days
Tailor made
More info
Includes all transfers and accommodation throughout your trip.
All meals covered with the exception of your last night. 12 day project available at £1549
Make enquiry

Description of Wildlife conservation in Borneo

By volunteering on a wildlife conservation project in Borneo, you will discover one of the most beautiful and undiscovered pockets of the island, stepping off the beaten track and into the heart of an important conservation area. Help to conserve a proliferation of wildlife including orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, macaques, singing gibbons and sun bears – not to mention the birds! –through protecting and regenerating their jungle environment.

Habitat destruction has led to a rapid decline in many of Borneo's species. This inspiring project helps in a twofold way:

1) Planting trees to regenerate the jungle. Increased jungle coverage means that more creatures can live and survive in the wild. This involves planting trees, clearing weeds and growing saplings. This is incredibly rewarding, as just after a few short hours you will see the amazing work that you have done.

2) Spend time out on the beautiful river, monitoring the wildlife that you see in the area from the boat. Sightings are noted down, and the information shared with the local wildlife authorities. Seeing orangutans swinging through the trees, elephants grazing and macaques leaping through the branches is quite incredible. This is crucial work so that it is understood how many species are in the area, and in what sort of quantities - and thus help preserve the area's conservation status.

In addition to these principal daily activities, other tasks and activities can include community and education, a jungle trek and a visit to the world famous Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation centre. You will also be taken to the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Rainforest Discovery day to round off your trip.

Accommodation and food
You will be staying in local guest houses throughout this project. Meals are provided either by your guest house hosts or by members of the local community. Food is delicious and varied, and are a real highlight to the trip.

Expect to share an en-suite room with at least one other volunteer.

Please note: 7 day project excludes full number of days at the habitat restoration sites (maintenance and tree planting), some meals and time spent with local villagers, and the education session with local children.


Day 1:Arrive to Sandakan on the 21st of the month. On arrival you will spend your first night in a lovely rainforest guest house on the outskirts of Sandakan. You will be staying in a traditional longhouse, with a balcony that looks out over the jungle and with a series of lakes just a few minutes away. A delicious welcome dinner is provided by the guest house, and you can relax to the noises of the jungle with the rest of your group.
Day 2:Transfer to the small village of the Orang Sungai people, located on the Kinabatangan river. Stay in a riverside guesthouse, sharing a basic yet comfortable room with at least one other volunteer. An en suite bathroom is shared between you and your room mate(s) with a western toilet and refreshing shower.
Day 3 +:Spend your days out on the river monitoring wildlife and helping with rainforest regeneration work.
Day 12:Leave the beautiful river behind and head back to Sandakan via the inspiring Sepilok Orangutan rehabilitation centre, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Rainforest Discovery Centre

Price information

£999 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Includes all transfers and accommodation throughout your trip.
All meals covered with the exception of your last night. 12 day project available at £1549
Make enquiry

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Travel guides

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Holiday information

US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please enquire for details.
We cater for both vegetarians and vegans.
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.


Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travellers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.


6 Reviews of Wildlife conservation in Borneo

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 04 Mar 2020 by

Incredibly meaningful and unforgettable..... Working with all the dedicated, passionate team members and volunteers -- and seeing orangutans in the wild were the most memorable parts! Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2020 by

A great human and environmental experience. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2019 by

Seeing the difference in a site after a mornings work was really rewarding and of course seeing so much wildlife was also of course a highlight Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2019 by

I had a great time, met some lovely people and would certainly recommend this holiday to others. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2018 by

The most memorable was working in a tropical downpour and seeing a mother and baby Orangutang climbing a tree near the work site. An interesting and insightful look at conservation in Sabah, Borneo. A bit short though - two full weeks would be better. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2017 by

Seeing a large wild male Orangutan eating figs in a tree by the Kinabatangan River was the most memorable - we were so close to him and he looked so relaxed! What a beautiful special creature. A fabulous experience. Read full review

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


Conserving Borneo
This project is all about conserving the dwindling natural environment in Borneo - and hopefully enabling it to regenerate and survive for many more generations to come. Orangutan populations are plummeting, mainly thanks to palm oil plantations and deforestation. On this project, volunteers help to plant new rainforest and maintain it, ensuring that animals have safe places to live and thrive.

Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.

We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.


Meeting local needs
This project engages directly with the local community. Meals are provided by local families, boat and bus drivers do all transfers and the guest houses are rented from local families. In addition to this there is an active local education and immersion scheme which allows families to get to know their friendly hosts. Volunteer spending is spread around the local community by engaging a large range of local individuals and businesses. Saplings are bought from locals who grow them to help regenerate the rainforest.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Borneo. Volunteers are briefed on the local cultures and customs. Our policy is to send people in small groups, which minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

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