The Great Orangutan Project

From £1,280.00

Volunteer at an award-winning Orangutan Volunteer Centre in beautiful Borneo



Project Description

This multi-award-winning orangutan project based at Matang Wildlife Centre allows you the chance to get involved with the conservation and protection of one of the world's most fascinating and enchanting species – the Bornean orangutan.

Due to mass deforestation, mining and forest fires, the habitat of the area's orangutans is depleting and under constant threat. As a consequence, the species is increasingly endangered. Matang Wildlife Centre is a refuge for orangutans which have been left injured, orphaned or have been rescued, usually as a direct result of these threats. The centre works tirelessly to reverse this trend in a number of ways and is thoroughly enriched by the involvement of volunteers.

On this project you will enjoy the incredible rainforest surroundings of Kubah National Park as your backyard, and work as part of a team alongside the local facilitators to aid the centre through improving husbandry standards, providing enrichment for the orangutans and assisting with construction tasks. This allows the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (who manage the centre which is owned by the Sarawak government) to concentrate on the rehabilitation of the orangutans and the centre's other animals.

Why This Project Needs Volunteers

Volunteers on this project will help to look after the injured, orphaned and rescued Orangutans which come into the centre. Due to the constant changes in the number of Orangutans in the centre at any one time, volunteers are always needed to help; create enrichment toys, with the husbandry on site, and with any new construction projects that need to be completed.

As a volunteer you will be acting as pseudo staff, so will help make up the numbers of hands required to cover the busy working week at the sanctuary.


Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will arrive into Kuching Airport in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, and be met at arrivals by a member of the team. You will then transfer to Basaga Guest House in Kuching where, in the evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner and orientation with the project facilitator from the orangutan project and your fellow volunteers.
Day 2 - Transfer to the project site:
After breakfast you and the rest of your group will take a private transfer to the Matang Wildlife Centre Orangutan Sanctuary. Here, after settling in, you will meet the project staff and take a full tour of the centre.
Day 3-13 - Project Days:
You will now get stuck in with the project and take part in a variety of activities. These will include working with all of the animals at the centre, predominantly the orangutans and sun bears. For all of the details of what you will be doing please view the tab above.
Day 14 - Fond Farewell:
This will be your last day at the project so after a final morning of activities you will pack up and transfer back to the Basaga Guesthouse for your final night’s stay and a farewell dinner in the evening with the project staff and the other volunteers you have gotten to know so well during your stay.
Day 15 - Departure:
Depending on your departure flight time you may have time for a lie in or even to see Kuching one last time before you take a private transfer to Kuching Airport for your return flight home, or to continue your independent travel plans.

What will I be doing?

On this project you will have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities. Your main focus however, will consist of providing enrichment and husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals.



A major part of this project is creating enrichment. This is the process of providing the animals with stimulating environments, where they are provided with items and surroundings that encourage and promote natural behaviour. This will enhance the potential for release as well as improve the lives of the animals at the centre.



Another big part of the work on this project is husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals. This includes feeding the animals as well as cleaning the wildlife cages and enclosures, an essential part of any wildlife centre.



Small construction tasks can also be part of this project as it is through these that the centre can continue to grow. The centre is then able to accept more animals and hope to be able to rehabilitate and release as many as possible. In the past, volunteers have been involved with the building of aviaries, gibbon cages, feeding platforms in the forest, boardwalks around the park and ranger stations in the national park.

Organic Farming

Organic Farming

Over the past few years volunteers have helped create an organic farm to grow food for the animals at the centre to enable it to become a more sustainable institution. The orangutan sanctuary is determined that the farm remain organic and though many people keep recommending a whole host of chemicals for keeping the weeds at bay, they continue to rely on the efforts of volunteers to keep it under control. The project staff feel it is definitely a realisable dream to have this and other orangutan centres organically grow all the food they need to keep their animals alive and healthy. Tending to the farm has, therefore, become a regular job for the volunteers.



As you can imagine maintenance is an on-going task and so you may be needed to help with painting, cleaning, varnishing and gardening and there is always work to be done!

Free Time & Additional Activities

Free Time & Additional Activities

The working week is Monday to Friday, giving you the weekends off. As you will have most likely travelled a long way to reach Borneo, we always suggest taking advantage of the weekends to explore the surrounding area - including Kubah National Park and Damai Beach, either by yourself or with your fellow volunteers. You can also look at visiting a long-house, meeting the Iban tribe, visiting nearby markets and social and interactive activities with locals and researchers. Interaction with the local communities is always encouraged so as to strengthen local relationships and continue to aid human animal conflict.

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 16 People
Meals All Meals Included
Duration 14 - 28 Nights
Start Dates 5th and 19th of every month
Minimum Age Minimum Age 15
Getting There

You will need to arrive at Kuching Airport on the start date of your project between 7am and 5pm, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to your first nights accommodation where you will enjoy a welcome dinner with the project facilitators and other volunteers.

Visa Requirements

There is no visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia as a 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival, however, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP, 0.23 EUR and 0.31 USD.

What's included in the price of the project?
  • A Donation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Full orientation and support from the project facilitators
  • Accommodation and meals
  • All project activities
What's not included?
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa if required
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Towels at the Wildlife Center


Inge Vermeulen - 2017

My whole volunteering trip was amazing! I just loved every minute of it. The project team was inspiring and my fellow volunteers were great fun. The animals were adorable, and it was incredible to watch them from a distance. It was interesting to join in all the activities, from feeding through to scrubbing the cages, and although it was sweaty and sometimes dirty work, it was rewarding at the same time. There were two truly amazing moments on the trip. One was on the last day when we were watching the feeding of the orangs. One of them really posed for us as a model, draping leaves around her head, showing her belly. The second moment I will never forget was after Michelle (fellow volunteer) and I made a bear swing. The minute we put it in the cage of the baby bears it was a big success! They were playing like crazy and lots of fun to watch.

Maria Langham - 2016

There were so many memorable moments with all the different animals, however if I had to choose one then I'd have to pick Sunbears Benny and Ted exploring their new hammocks. Their antics were hilarious to watch. It was such a joy to see them having so much fun with their new toys.

Katrin Eberhard - 2016

The memory I will take away with me is that the people at the Matang Wildlife Centre are amazing! My favourite moment was the release of two slow lorises which is not something you get to see everyday!

Jan Albrow - 2016

This trip was the adventure of a lifetime and my Borneo family will be forever in my heart. There were too many favourite moments to pick just one. The whole experience was just fantastic and I was so glad I got the chance to do this, I hope to return one day!

Alexandra Dakin - 2016

I was assigned a project where I had to make two gibbon hammocks in four days. There was no guarantee I would finish them before I went back home. However, on my last day I managed to finish them and I was really proud and had a real sense of accomplishment. It made me happy to think that I could make these animals lives a little more comfortable even if it is only a little.

Hervé Gérard - 2016

This project was an amazing experience! Both the volunteers and the in-country team were super friendly. We had a lot of fun. Thanks to all :-)

Kirsty Ash - 2016

The memory I will take away with me forever is seeing orangutans up close and meeting the wonderful people that work so hard!