Join the people of Sumatra in their fight for biodiversity

  • Immersion with the peoples of Sumatra
  • Indonesia North Sumatra
  • One week minimum
  • Adults, solo, families welcome!
  • From €250

Get involved in Indonesia, in northern Sumatra, to preserve the tropical forests and biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park. Develop sustainable alternatives in close collaboration with local communities. All missions here.
Of the immense virgin rainforests that once covered the northern region of the island of Sumatra, only a few remnants remain today. Our partner association works at the gateway to the Gunung Leuser National Park (PNGL). This park, recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site, is a real biodiversity hotspot, infamous for animal species in serious danger of extinction such as the orangutan, the tiger, the rhinoceros and the Sumatran elephant. In fact, Sumatra's forests are still under threat from illegal activities (logging, trapping, hunting or capturing wild animals), but above all from the transformation of secondary forests for the benefit of urbanization and industrial agriculture (palm oil). Thousands of hectares of secondary forest are destroyed every year.

Protecting biodiversity in Gunung Leuser National Park

The aim of the partner association is to preserve the tropical forests and biodiversity of the Gunung Leuser National Park, by developing sustainable alternatives with local populations. Together with its local partners, it is carrying out various projects to raise awareness of environmental conservation. The aim is to create a protective belt around the national park and develop sustainable economic alternatives. This involves curbing deforestation, while developing agro-forestry, the processing of agricultural products, handicrafts and ecotourism.

Development of an agroforestry park

At Simolap, the association's base camp, the team is also developing an agroforestry park that will serve as a model for the local population. The park will have a three-fold effect: 

  • Grow vegetables, fruit trees, spices, condiments...
  • Developing ethnobotany: wild plants and traditional medicine;
  • Bringing together as many species as possible from this region of Sumatra.

The association also works with the national park authorities and local NGO KPL (komunitas penyelemat leuser) to reforest degraded areas within the national park, inventory biodiversity, search for endemic flora, observe animals and set photographic traps. More recently, it has been organizing surveillance patrols and expeditions to discover the many unexplored areas. The cost of these expeditions is high, due to the logistics involved, financial compensation for the families of the patrol team and the salaries of the national park staff.

What volunteers do

Volunteers are welcomed at Simolap hotspring, a small paradise run by a local community on the edge of the primary forests of Gunung Leuser National Park.
Immersed in the local way of life, ecovolunteers take part in the various projects underway. The schedule is drawn up on site. Here are the main activities in which participants take part:

  • Reforestation of tropical forest in a degraded area of the Gunung Leuser National Park and on land in the buffer zone of the PNGL ;
  •  Agroforestry workcamps (planting trees, vegetables and other plants, garden maintenance, harvesting, nursery work, etc.);
  •  Harvesting, drying and processing of agricultural products (herbal teas, jams, traditional remedies, etc.);
  •  Development of an ethnobotanical garden (selection and research of plants in natural environments, maintenance, weeding, signage, herbarium...);
  • Awareness-raising and environmental education initiatives in the villages;
  • Waste collection campaigns with village youth;
  • Language exchanges (English courses, local language) and cultural exchanges (e.g. photo or documentary screenings in the villages);
  • Handicraft workshops ;
  • Surveillance and monitoring patrols around and in the protected area (PNGL) ;
  • Daily life of the team and/or residents, which involves occasional help with meal preparation, washing up or housekeeping;
  • Renovation or construction projects, if any.
  • All year round: minimum stay: 1 week; recommended: 2 weeks: maximum: free
  • 1 week : 250 € including 1 day trek ;
  • 10 days : 300 € including 2 days trekking ;
  • 2 weeks : 450 € including 2 days trekking ;
  • 3 weeks : 600 € including 3 days trekking ;
  • 1 month : 800 € including 4 or 5 days trekking ;
  • An additional cost is incurred if the stay is entirely dedicated to patrolling and exploring the National Park.
  • Fees are negotiable according to group size (e.g. groups, students, families).

Included in fees

  • Accommodation. Initially, ecovolunteers are accommodated at Simolap, in cottages made of natural materials that can accommodate between 2 and 6 people. Then, depending on the activities, location and length of stay, they can be accommodated directly with local people, in bivouacs or in tents during reforestation campaigns that are too far from homes.
  • Meals 3x/day, mineral water 1.5L/d, unlimited coffee/tea, cookies, snacks, fruit.
  • Activities and supervision.
  • As a bonus, to thank participants for their good will, a trek of 1 to several days to discover the biodiversity and landscapes of Gunung Leuser National Park (planned on site with participants, according to their wishes and abilities, and also according to the activities and weather conditions at the time).

Not included in fees

  • Transportation. Transfer from Kualanamu airport (Medan) or other points in the region to Simolap hotspring, Kutambaru commune.
  • Personal insurance.

Practical information and conditions of participation

  • Physical requirements: suitable for all, work can be adapted to suit profile;
  • Maximum number of volunteers: 12.
  • Accepted audiences: individuals, couples, families, retirees;
  • Minimum stay: 1 week to 10 days;
  • Recommended duration: 2 weeks;
  • No maximum duration
  • Location: Near Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia

The partner association

The partner is a French association created in January 2017. Its aim is to develop agroecology and environmental protection projects in Sumatra, Indonesia, at the gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park, a hotspot for biodiversity (including the famous orangutans) and a Unesco World Heritage Site. The association and its partners raise awareness and mobilize village communities to reforest, protect and preserve biodiversity. They combat deforestation and oil palm monocultures by developing alternative agricultural and other sustainable economic activities.

You might like these ecovolunteering trips

Discover the Cap sur la Terre blog here!