17 independent reviews for Orangutan photography in Borneo

Reviews for Orangutan photography in Borneo

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review 25 Nov 2019

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

Every day seemed to have its own standout highlight, from the initial speedboat ride into the jungle, the first encounter with the Orangutans, the amazing colours of the Kingfishers, the big male Orangutan strutting his stuff a few feet from us, wonderful food on the boat, the coffee (its an experience all of its own), evenings spent chatting surrounded by the jungle noises, our terrible song to the local village kids, but for me the most memorable was the Proboscis monkeys doing Tom Daley drives into the river.

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

It's a rain forest - it does rain occasionally and when it does, it really does! A simple rain poncho is probably a better option than the expensive rain jacket I took - you can get your camera under that was well if needed. Also DEET works !

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

Absolutely, to begin with as part of this holiday a donation is included to the Orangutan Foundation of about $500 each. There is a clear desire by Ian to not only support the Foundation but minimise the environmental impact of our visit, and support the local populations, for example avoiding single use plastic, and sourcing locally as far as possible. Most of the those employed by the River Lodge and the boat were from the local village and as part of the trip we were able to visit the local village and encouraged to donate a few small gifts to the school children.

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

Absolutely Loved it! I have been lucky enough to visit a number of rain forests and this combination of slow boat travel and short walks to the feeding stations seems by far the best way of seeing wildlife. Much of the action is generally up in the canopy but here the river is a draw for the animals and the boat a perfect platform for viewing. In addition you have wonderful company and Ian has clearly been doing these trips for a long time and they have been refined to perfection.

review 26 Nov 2019

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

Never expected my first close encounter with Orangutans to be THAT close! For a novice 'photographer' that's a bonus.

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

None really. As the headline suggests - would take a relatively good camera.

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

Yes, enjoyed the village visit. Yes, bring a refill-able bottle - good idea. Yes, really loved the plant a tree hour (quite emotional).

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

Very good. Particularly liked the small group and having a host who has so much experience and attachment to the local community and conservation activities is always an advantage. Being centre based means not having to pack and unpack.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for your lovely feedback Elizabeth ... along with planting your tree we also donated £350 each from every person on this trip which went towards the massive tree planting project in Lsmandau so you also contributed to the planting of many hundreds of other trees there too.

review 6 Dec 2018

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

There were many but to narrow down my top 3. The mother and baby at the feeding station that had 4 of us females in tears when she left as it was just one of those amazing magical moments. My nicknamed Missy Attitude teenage female who blocked us from walking down the path but gave us an amazing show and stole a little piece of my heart and finally the troop of Probiscus monkeys diving (well belly flopping) into the river and swimming across. Just got to love nature.

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

It is very very humid so definitely no cotton. Take quick dry T-shirtís and long sleeves for the rainforest walks and mozzie time! I took a pack of micro fibre cloths - brilliant for wiping sweat (sorry!). Play with your camera before!

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

Yes definitely. Donations to the Orangutan foundation, planted a tree, visited a school with useful gifts and filled water into our own drink containers so no plastic bottles.

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

A fantastic trip with like minded people, great playing with the camera daily - Had good tuition from Ian when asked and everyone shared tips too. Learnt more tips of the trade! Food at the lodge and on the boat was superb and the boat crew, guide and cook were brilliant! Throw in unbelievable wildlife daily and the magic of Orangutans - how could you go wrong!!

review 4 Dec 2018

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

Itís difficult to pinpoint just one highlight of this wonderful trip. Seeing nature at its finest is always such a privilege, but those wonderful Orangutans stole my heart.

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

Try and get to know your camera well and everything will make sense under Ianís expert tuition. Also plenty of mossie spray!

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

I was delighted to make a donation to the Orangutan Foundation (included in the cost of the trip) give the local school children useful gifts, plant a tree in a conservation area and the fact that we all refilled our own water bottle must have saved a considerable amount of plastic.

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

Time spent together with likeminded people who have a combined love of wildlife and photography resulted in a week of many memorable moments and fun. Ian was always there to give as much photographic support as we needed, from those of us just at the beginning of our photography journey to the more advanced.

review 20 Nov 2018

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

Watching the Orangutans in the wild.

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

do not think about it, get it booked its an amazing experience!!

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

Yes definitely

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

Fantastic, an amazing experience

review 3 Nov 2017

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

We had the privilege of seeing orang-utans, and a whole host of other wildlife, up close and personal on a daily basis. A wealth of magical moments that I shall treasure forever! There were only 7 of us on the trip, so we got the chance to get to know each other really quickly, so it more like you were sharing the experience with friends after a few days together which added to the experience!

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

Get the camera out and start practising for a few weeks before the trip so you're ready to go! Check out Ian's website for some inspiration and to get even more excited about what you're going to see! Pack lots of long sleeved tops (the mosis are a little bothersome!)

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

Absolutely! There was a significant donation from the cost of the trip, given to The Orang-utan Foundation and we had the pleasure of visiting some of the sites of the foundation to see first hand what an incredible job they are doing. Ian is also clearly incredibly passionate about wildlife and conservation and endeavours to support it with his trips whenever possible. My only worry was that we were only drinking from plastic water bottles the whole time and I am doubtful that this plastic would have been recycled.

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

An absolutely magical experience. A full immersion into the Bornean wilderness, it's wildlife, beautiful scenery and an introduction to a really incredible wildlife photographer! Thank you!

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for your lovely feedback Nikki. Totally agree with your comment about plastic drinking bottles ! We've been looking into the solution to get people to bring their own re-usable drinking bottles which they can then fill up as and when needed from a large mineral water deposit.

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.Ianís 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 Ďdoes wild life, ecology and biodiversity require tourism and people to be interested and committed to this in order to survive.í 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.

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