16 independent reviews for Orangutan photography in Borneo

Reviews for Orangutan photography in Borneo

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review 17 Nov 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

My ambition was to see both orangutans and proboscis monkeys and this trip fulfilled this every day and more with such close and intimate sightings. A real highlight was watching the interaction between orangutans at Camp Leakey one day. But we saw so much other wildlife too including macaques, gibbons, hornbills and crocodiles. I also very much enjoyed our visit to the village and the interaction with the local children. On a personal level I also learnt a lot about photography which Ian always explained in a fun and easy to understand way.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To just travel with an open mind and heart.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, yes and yes. And in many ways too. As part of this holiday we all made a donation to the Orangutan Foundation of about $500 each so together we really helped to raise some money for this cause. Ian gave a moving presentation one evening about the plight of orangutans and the hopes and fears for their future. All the local people employed such as boat crew and guides were from the local village. As part of the pre-trip information Ian asked us all to bring items that the village needed too. So we all arrived there with things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, books and toys for the children. To see the happinness in the children faces was unforgetteble and uplifting.Ian’s friendship with the local people really makes this trip extra special.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall just absolutely amazing. As a nature lover, traveler and with an interest in knowing new cultures and interacting with local people I really appreciated the program of the trip. As a beginner in photography I really appreciated the patient and willing attitude that Ian had on this tour. It was for me an incredible experience and new knowledge in every aspect despite the difficult situation we faced at the end of our trip from the fires and smoke in Borneo. In such a situation, it is crucial to have an experienced guide with good contacts with local people especially who speaks the local language which Ian does. When we arrived at the airport to take our flights back to Jakarta it was closed due to the level of smoke from the forest fire. Ian was able to present to our group and to realise possible solutions for safe and quick return to Europe. Thanks to his professional approach and personal engagement he handled this situation with compassion and humour. We all felt safe and returned back to Europe enriched by this adventure. I cannot praise Ian enough and will be booking future tours with him. Thanks !

review 11 Nov 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Nothing holiday totally disappointing and expensive a total waste of time ,effort and money. Due to the forest fires I personally arrived back to the UK four days late. As a result of the forest fires being known about and the degree of smoke prior to the start of the holiday, the holiday should have been cancelled, and with being known , this is outwith the terms of force majeure or act of god on you policy guidelines as this would have been preventable if the holiday was cancelled

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't if lead by Mr Iain Wood

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes this would have benefitted the local people. Rimba Lodge from what we could see because of the smoke was good, I could not fault the staff at the lodge in any way. Rooms very clean even though they were a bit basic, staff excellent and very friendly and helpful.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Total disaster, holiday should have been cancelled due to the level of smoke from the forest fires tour guide knew about this before the party left their homes to go on this tour, in my opinion this breaches health and safety as the tour guide has a duty of care to his clients supplying industrial face masks against the smoke does not constitute duty of care. There was supposed to be tuition on the best way to take photographs on this holiday( there was no tuition given).Tour leader. also failed to see his clients back to Jakarta, he left with his son to go diving on another part of Borneo thereby not fulfilling his contract with the clients. In all this holiday which was supposed to be a memorable and enjoyable tour reduced to a five day very expensive and dissapointing holiday .This review has been submitted after discussion and agreement with the majority of the party who were on this holiday. With reference to your star rating wich does not go low enough for this holiday, the star rating needs to go into the minus range, TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE

Read the operator's response here:

I'm so sorry if Greg genuinely felt like this. He gave me no indication throughout the trip of his feelings so I'm afraid to say that I have found this review very odd. Where to start in a reply !? Let's focus on a couple of hard facts that might put his comments in some sort of perspective. For example number 3 ) Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation? Greg knows that one of the main purposes of these trips is to raise money directly for orangutan conservation. He is fully aware that he donated £350 directly to the Orangutan Foundation which I have then doubled using the Big Give project. I gave a presentation to the group on our last night thanking them for their donations and showed them some photos showing exactly how their money has helped orangutan conservation. Over the the ten years that I've been running these trips I've raised tens and tens of thousands of pounds towards protecting these forests. This money has all been donated to the Orangutan Foundation whose work ticks all the boxes in conservation. Ie very few overheads with nearly all of the money going directly to projects in Borneo which empower the local people to protect, what is after all their land. The director of the Orangutan Foundation is Mrs Ashley Leiman (OBE) and she can be contacted directly here to verify this: ashley@orangutan.org.uk Also as part of this trip people get full pre-trip information where they are encouraged to bring a selection of gifts that the local village need. These include items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, books, pens, pencils and clothes. Everyone on this trip brought such items and were really touched (apart from Greg !?) when we went to the village and were welcomed by the head along with all of the children. So I guess my question to Greg is why have you not mentioned any of this as a response to this question ... very very bizarre !? Greg also states that the other people on this trip felt the same as him. I think all I need to say on this subject is to refer Greg to another review here from someone else on this trip. My website has a review section for each trip that I run and you'll also find unedited reviews from scores of people who have traveled with me. I'm genuinely moved by how many of these have become close friends over the years and how many people come on future trips with me to many parts of the world. Right at the end of this trip we were affected by the fires that have been so tragic in many parts of Indonesia this year. We lost 1 day at the end of the trip and were then held up in Borneo as the airport was closed. Other people on the trip have personally thanked me for how I dealt with this situation. Again I'd refer you to another review on this site from someone on the same trip.

review 7 Jan 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Too many to pick just one! Getting so close to the orangutans and other wildlife, the great photo opportunities, the sounds of the forest, being so well looked after by the boat crew and guide, the food, the friendliness of the people on the trip, the peacefulness of the rivers, learning so much about the wildlife and the conservation issues from Ian who runs the trip and Edy the local guide.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is hot and humid so do bring tropical clothing. Use the laundry service at the lodge as it is relatively cheap and fast so you can pack light and only bring 2-3 days changes of clothes. The walking isn't that demanding but the forest paths can be uneven so bring good, supportive walking shoes. Food is really good both on the boat and at the lodge but if you do have any special requirements then say so before you go. Bring spare batteries for your camera as you will take a lot of pictures!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely. There is a substantial donation included in the cost of the holiday to the Orangutan Foundation which supports conservation through a wide range of initiatives with local people. Your presence will provide local employment at the lodge and of the boat crew.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This is a great holiday. Whether you are a first time photographer or experienced photographer you will love this holiday and will come back with great photos and memories, as well as having learned a lot. If you are not a photographer you would still love this trip. We were so impressed with the organisation and thought that has been put into this trip that we are already planning on taking one of Ian's African trips as our next big trip and after that we will go on this one again!

review 16 Oct 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The first sighting of the great male orang-utan swinging through the trees and then the look in his eyes as he eyeballed anyone who looked at him, his hands and the strength in his arms -- completely awesome. By contrast a little later observing the tenderness and care shown by the mother to her tiny baby who doesn't leave her side until he is seven years old.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take a good camera and watch every movement you can --- unless you are very fortunate this is a one off opportunity. Don't miss all the other wildlife that abounds in the jungle. Watch out for crocodiles and don't go swimming!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Very much so. They are very aware that tourism is important and realise that they have to protect the environment that the great apes live in. It was good to know that we contributed to the orang-utan foundation

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A very educational trip from learning more about photographing wildlife to the environment that they inhabit.

review 12 Nov 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The opportunity to take photos of orangutans and proboscis monkeys in such a unique and beautiful setting. Spending early mornings chugging along the river with breakfast, early morning light highlighting the start of the primate day. Amazing lunches on the boat that are perfect for vegetarians, gluten free and meat eaters too! Contributing to the preservation of the forest and orangutans.........did I mention the hilarious antics of the baby orangs....watching them from just a couple of feet away was the most amazing privilege. Great tuition from Ian really helped me to learn to use my camera to maximise the results. Everything was so well organised I could just sit back and enjoy!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light, the laundry facility is amazing and all clothes returned the next day, take good mosi spray just in case (we were mostly fine), try to be familiar with the basics of your camera so you can really improve and move to the next level and make the most of the guidance given - don't worry whether you have basic point and shoot or huge DSLR - it doesn't matter - you will be still improve and feel you had an amazing time. The accommodation is good, has hot showers and air con but only electricity between 4pm and 10am so an extra camera battery is useful. No need for very smart clothes, it is high humidity so a vest and then long sleeved top are sensible when out in the boat / walking, light weight walking boots and waterproof for sudden downpours - maybe soft non slip slippers for comfort on boat while enjoying lunch!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it did, the guides are all local, we visited a a project that allows you to buy and plant trees to help re-forestation to support orangutans (we actually planted our trees by hand), a large amount of money goes to the orangutan foundation UK, as well as being mindful of the environment and locals generally we visited a village, took gifts for the children and had the opportunity to shop for their local handcrafted gifts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Totally brilliant, great food, great organisation and most of all a great wildlife experience that felt unique and very privileged.

review 30 Oct 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Close encounters with endangered orangutans. Great local food prepared on our boat by 'chef'. Fire flies @ night

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Wet weather gear, sound footwear and a sense of adventure

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely - stayed at local resort with green credentials, local people used for guiding and boat crew etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good! Wonderful experience and something out of the box!!

review 26 Oct 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting up close asnd personal with orangutans - well close enough to take good photos, anyway!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for hot, humid weather!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Local guides were used and interaction with local communities was respectful. Yes, we were advised on ways to reduce environmental impact of our visit. Yes, we were educated on the plight of orangutans and the devistating effect man has had on the species and their habitat.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

5 star! Excellent in all respects!

review 4 Nov 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing our first wild Orangutan, very exciting. Realising that the forest is not only about the Orangutans but the whole diversity of Tanjung Puting National Park, the endangered Proboscis monkeys, other monkeys, insects, reptiles, bird life, trees and plants.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Firstly book your trip, great experience. Take mosquito repellent, sunscreen, hat, lots of memory for your camera. Long sleeve, light weight shirts and socks which can be rolled over long light weight pants (help prevent mosquito bites). Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration from excessive perspiration.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our trip raised $4000 for the UK Orangutan Foundation. We visited a nursery and bought trees to be replanted. We chose ones which produce fruit, are fast growing and will give food to the Orangutans. A visit to a local village and purchasing souvenirs to support the local economy. We also collected a small amount of rubbish as we walked through the jungle.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a truly an amazing experience and would thoroughly recommend it to other travellers.

review 15 Nov 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting close to the wildlife - particularly the Orangutans, but the brief encounter with a Black Handed Agile Gibbon was very special.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Keep your focus on what you are going for - Wildlife and the photography, use the guide's professional experience to improve.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Benefited local people by bringing work opportunity to a remote area. Impacts on the environment were minimal and we did have the opportunity to visit a rain forest recovery centre and actually plant a tree for the future.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very, very good.

review 14 Nov 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

For me it was all memorable and exciting!!! From the fireflies to the tree having fallen across the river and having to be removed, to the mosquito bites to the wonderful company but most of all to the Orangutans themselves who I had gone to see and oh, how they lived up to my expectations!!!!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring with you deet, gentle walking boots and spare batteries for your camera. Then enjoy the adventure!!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, I did feel that the holiday benefited the locals. They were on our boat everyday taking us up and down the river and ran the lodge that we stayed in. I hoped that the eco lodge we stayed in helped minimized the impact on the environment and the fact that we were on a boat each day travelling in a small group and not just on our own also helped.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A chance in a life time experience!!!!! I didn't want to return!!!! If you love wildlife especially Orangutans then this trip is for you!!!!!

review 5 Nov 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

First viewing of a wild orang-utan, Last viewing of a wild orang-utan which was from the bird viewing platform at tree top height! - at the same level of the mother and her baby. First viewing of a male orang-utan. Spotting 5 storm storks and catching one in flight on my camera. Photographing a stork billed kingfisher with a fish in its beak. Photographing the scorpion and the moon. Fantastic group of people, both us tourists and the local staff on both our boat and the lodge we stayed at. Showing my photos over and over to loads of friends back at home. Not sure this box is big enough for all my favourite moments.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you come prepared to combat mosquito bites. You may well also have to on occasion take your shoe and socks of and wade through the water in order to be able to access the feeding stations. If you are expecting any form of luxury living please do not go. There is no internet access or mobile phone reception in a majority of the national park. The lodges are clean and tidy but in a forest. There are insects eating the very fabric of the room, but they are made of wood and that is what happens in a rain forest. The restaurant is does not have the most extensive menu, but it is tasty, well prepared and served with a smile and enthusiasm by dedicated staff. The laundry service is very good value for money and there is running water even if the electricity is only available for part of the day.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We explored the delicate issue of ‘does wild life, ecology and biodiversity require tourism and people to be interested and committed to this in order to survive.’ If people are not aware of species / environment under pressure the local people will have no option but to use their environment to support their needs. If tourism allows the local people to have a choice to be able to keep their environment, even though it may have to support the unnatural introduction of tourists then is that better than having no option but to gain employment by allowing deforestation and the introduction of palm oil plantations. Our donations to the orang-utan foundation allows this foundation to invest in both the infrastructure in the national park and also employment of the local people. It was easy to see the investment this foundation had made, therefore giving the local people a choice to maintain the forest and protect their wonderful biodiversity.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the most wonderful experiences I have had. It was a privilege to be visit /share this wonderful environment. However I am now emotionally torn between suggesting this is an experience everyone should have, as I am sure excessive tourism and numbers will destroy the experience I have had, and trying to keep it an experience for the privileged few.

review 7 Dec 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

This is difficult because there were so many exciting moments. I suppose the first orangutan sighting or the day a group of orangutan mothers came down with their babies and wandered amongst us.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Follow the guide’s advise. He is a master at this. His direction and recommendations are very thorough.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely. The local people and equally important, the animals in the area, depend on tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. So very glad I did this. It was exciting, but at the same time relaxing floating on the river watching the probiscus monkeys fly through the trees.

review 2 Nov 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The wildlife and photography tuition, loads of information in a very relaxed environment. The group size was great as it allowed every one to bond.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Relax and enjoy. Ian has got it very well organised but is also very flexible.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Local people employed at lodge and boat, every effort was made for minimum impact, on environment and animals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent.

review 4 May 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

After a very stressful journey out to Jakarta due to missing connecting flight from Dubai, it was great to finally arrive at the peace and quiet of the Rimba Lodge. The best part of the trip was how close we got to the orangutans, and other wildlife. We were only a few inches away at some of the feeding stations! Luckily there were not many people at any of the feeding stations and sometimes we had them too ourselves. We were very lucky to have great staff on the boat and had the best food on board much better than at the 5star hotel I then went to in Bali.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If Ian suggests getting up at 5am agree! I love my bed but we had to leave at 5am to get our return flight, the sunrise on the river and the birds were wonderful. If I had realised I would have agreed to get up this early on other days! Bring an alarm clock and sufficient long sleeve clothes to avoid mossies. Double check your camera before you leave mine decided to refuse to work when I got there not good for a photography holiday. I was very lucky another holiday maker had a spare camera I could borrow very grateful!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes all the staff at the lodge and on the boat were local. We understood that the Orangutan Foundation also support projects in the local villlage. The donation we made to the foundation as part of the holiday fee went to local projects.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The problems I had were not due to the holiday organisation. I unfortunately was not able to get full benefit of the photographic advice available due to not having a working SLR. But really enjoyed having to just look at the wildlife instead. I had a great time.

Read the operator's response here:

It was a shame Sue had such a stressful journey to Jakarta. Someone was taken ill on her flight which meant it had to return to Heathrow which in turn made her miss her connecting flight from Dubai to Jakarta. And then she was unlucky that her camera decided to stop working at such a critical time ... but I'm glad her problems dissolved away when she joined us and had such a lovely time.

review 30 Apr 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Sighting wild orangutans along the river, and getting up close at the feeding stations. Chasing (with cameras) the macques monkeys around the lodge and watching Probiscus monkeys leap 20+' through the air from tree to tree, or leap into the river to cross to the other side.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring plenty of insect repellent. Try not to be a camera hog/paparazzi - it is very hard to put down the cameras when around the orangutans and monkeys.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - donation to the orangutan foundation, and our guide, boat crew and lodge staff were locals. We had the opportunity to walk through the local village and meet some of the residents. We took little into the park - even removed some of other people's rubbish.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall, very enjoyable - wonderful experience.

review 21 Nov 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting an orangutan reserve by speedboat, then returning by slow boat under the stars, watching the fireflies glinting in the palms.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring plenty of mosquito repellent! There are no strenuous walks so you do not need heavy-duty walking boots. Also make sure you bring a lightweight rainproof jacket. To get the full benefit of the photography tuition I would recommend bringing a digital SLR rather than a point-and-shoot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes – local people were employed as our guide and boat crew – who incidentally cooked us delicious lunches onboard every day! The eco-lodge where we stayed was solar-powered.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent! Very well organised and the small group-size of five or six was perfect for getting to know each other. The informal approach to tuition was great – Ian was always on hand to provide advice when needed without making the day too structured. The opportunity to get so close to the orangutans and observe their behaviour was awe-inspiring.

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