Borneo Impact Expedition: Community and Orangutans

The incredible Bornean jungle is the perfect setting for a true back-to-nature experience. Live and work alongside a rural community in the spectacular Sabah region of Borneo. Get up close and personal with orangutans and sun bears during a visit to Sepilok.

  • Location Borneo, Asia
  • Duration 8 days
  • Expedition Type Impact

Travel into the heart of the Bornean rainforest during this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Explore this unique ecosystem as you work alongside the team at KOPEL – playing an active part in helping to protect this important environment through long-term conservation projects. Spend time getting to know the local community and immerse your self in village life working side-by-side with the local team on several community development projects. No trip to Borneo is complete without seeing orangutans up close and personal in their natural habitat, so a visit to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is a great way to end your adventure!

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A fully supported expedition, from start to finish

Your expedition cost is comprehensive and covers the incredible activities you’ll be taking part in, as well as the extensive support you’ll receive in the lead up to, and during, your expedition.

Don’t forget you’ll also need your vaccinations, visas, kit and some spending money. You can find guidance on all of these on your personal Traveller Gateway once you sign up.

  • Ongoing pre-expedition support
  • All meals
  • Unlimited drinking water
  • All accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Project costs
  • Leader and staff costs
  • Orientation and language lessons
  • 24 hour emergency support

This sample itinerary will give you an insight into what you’ll be getting up to. Please note, the exact projects, activities and camps may change closer to the time of your expedition.

Day Activities More details
Day 1 Arrive at Kota Kinabalu Upon your arrival at Kota Kinabalu, you will be met by one of our amazing Camps crew members who will take the 3 hour journey with you to our flagship camp, Camp Bongkud. On route, you will stop off at the Kundasang War Memorial where you will learn about the fate of Australian and British soldiers during WWII. Once you arrive at camp, you will have a chance to settle into your traditional longhouse accommodation before an expedition briefing and a village tour. Spend the evening relaxing with your group over a traditional dinner, before enjoying a cultural performance by the local villagers.
Day 2 – 3 Project work in Camp Bongkud For the next few days, you’ll be able to get your hands dirty getting stuck into some meaningful project work to help support the local community. While working on these projects you will learn traditional skills and get an insight into the challenges that the villagers of Bongkud face, helping you understand the purpose of the projects you are working on. Your evenings will be spent getting to know your local neighbours with fun sports matches and cultural activities.
Day 4 Poring Hot Springs After a hearty breakfast, you’ll make your way to the project site to complete your work there. Then in the afternoon, you will head over Poring Hot Springs where you will spend time exploring the jungle from the skies as you walk high above the trees on the canopy walkway. Your last evening in Camp Bongkud will be spent enjoying a delicious dinner and a cultural farewell from the Camps crew and the local community.
Day 5 Into the jungle This morning you’ll set off first thing, transferring to the incredible jungle region of Batu Puteh. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by the team at KOPEL – a local environmental organisation – who will explain the work you will be doing throughout your stay here. You will then travel along the river to your jungle camp where you will be spending the night in a hammock sleeping alongside elephants and orangutans under the trees in the heart of one of Borneo’s most ancient forests.
Day 6 Forest regeneration work This morning you will get to enjoy a river cruise (keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles) as you head down to today’s project site. You’ll be getting involved in projects such as seed collection, forest restoration, and learning about forest types and ethnobotany.
Day 7 Orangutans and sun bears Today you leave the Hammock Jungle Camp and head to Sepilok to visit the Orangutan Sanctuary and explore the rainforest seeing orangutans up close and personal in their natural habitat. We’ll also take you to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre – the only one of its kind in the world – where you can learn about the conservation work taking place to protect these unique bears. You will then return to Kota Kinabalu, where (time permitting) you will have a chance to explore the local souvenir markets before enjoying dinner in the town.
Day 8 Departure This morning you will say your goodbyes to the team in Borneo as you travel to the airport ready for your return flight home.

How you’ll make a difference

You’ll work on a range of projects throughout your expedition, each aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and designed to make a significant and lasting impact on the region’s most critical issues.

Village enhancement projects

Borneo – Village enhancement projects

You’ll get involved in a number of projects to improve facilities for the rapidly growing population of Bongkud. Projects may include constructing a youth centre, improving the drainage system to ensure cleaner and healthier living and establishing a community farming programme to improve food security and encourage self-sufficiency within the village, without needing to transport supplies from larger towns.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Habitat conservation

Borneo – Habitat conservation

Batu Puteh is an incredible haven for a large majority of Borneo’s wildlife including orangutans, elephants and proboscis monkeys, and is one of the world’s most important natural habitats. However, it’s also one of the most threatened. You’ll get involved in activities to help safeguard this wildlife paradise for future generations by helping to tackle deforestation.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Experience the local way of life in our authentic camps

Our camps are the heart of our expeditions. Built and staffed by locals in the traditional style, and located within the heart of communities, they are the perfect place to relax after a day of project work. You’ll get to stay in a number of camps during your expedition, which could include those featured below.

Camp Bongkud

Camp Bongkud

Set in the shadows of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, Camp Bongkud is surrounded on all sides by lush picturesque scenery. Its hillside location gives it a pleasant breezy climate which makes it the ideal hillside retreat after a hard day’s project work.

Being in the heart of the village also has its advantages; all your project sites are only a short walk away and you can challenge the locals to a friendly game of volleyball on the community court during your downtime.

  • Location: 127 km (3-3.5 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 160 km from Kudat
  • Accommodation style: Traditional longhouses
  • Bed type: Comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net.
  • Toilets: Flushing toilets,
  • Showers: Cold water showers & sinks
  • Power: Mains electricity backed up by generator (between 18:00 – 22:00). British 3 pin power sockets
  • Social area: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games
  • Signature dish: Banana fritters & steamed banana cake
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Camp Batu Puteh

Batu Puteh is all about getting back to nature! Our jungle camp is set in the heart of one of Borneo’s most ancient forests along the banks of the Kinabatangan river where you’ll get the chance to live alongside elephants and orangutans for an experience that’s hard to beat.

Our camp offers three types of accommodation and you’ll hopefully get a chance to try them all:

Jungle camp: Get back to basics and experience true adventure. Learn how to rough it in the jungle with local guides accompanying you and showing you the ropes. Sleep in a hammock and cook over a camp fire before falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the forest.

Eco camp: A little more luxury but still an exciting wilderness experience. This camp offers raised camping platforms where you can enjoy camping in the great outdoors.

  • Location: 350 km (6 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 60 km from Lahad Datu
  • Accommodation style Jungle Camp: Hammock, tarpaulin & mosquito net. No toilet or washing facilities – completely back to nature!
  • Accommodation style Eco Camp: Tents with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets, cold showers & sinks
  • Power: Gas lighting available in eco camp
  • Signature dish: Local cakes – Linggang & Gelang

Throughout my Borneo trip all the camps staff made me feel as though I was at home, there was not one point on the expedition where I wished at was at home. Camps international made me build confidence, integrity, kindness and leadership within myself. This expedition gave me a new outlook onto things and memories to never be forgotten. I would recommend any expedition with camps international to anyone, it was truly the best thing I have ever done.

SOPHIE, CAMP BORNEO 2018

Our local camp legends

Our camps are staffed by members of the community who will make you feel like a local in no time. These legends will make your expedition spectacular and will show you the very best of their home country.

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As a Camps traveller, you’ll get to learn about our rich Bornean culture and experience its spectacular beauty – from mountains to coasts and jungles full of flora and fauna. Many people in rural villages in Sabah don’t have the opportunity to travel to other countries, so having travellers come to stay at camp is an amazing opportunity for cultural exchange (both ways!) and inspires the younger generations to study hard and see the world.

Interested in this expedition?

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