Leif Cocks Ultimate Sumatra - August 2022

Travel type
Small group of interested people - Age limit 12 years
Expedition grade
Moderate to Difficult in parts (some hilly jungle trekking required)
8 to 17 August 2022 - 10 Days
Local hotels, jungle lodges and tents
$3495.00 (AUD)

ex Medan, North Sumatra (twin-share). Participants in this expedition are required to fundraise a minimum of AUD$1,000.


Single supplement available


Come and see orangutans the only way they should be seen, in the natural jungles of Sumatra and make a personal difference by contributing to organisations helping to save the great red ape from extinction.

Orangutan Odysseys are raising money for The Orangutan Project and supporting other Orangutan NGO's in their quest to save the orangutans and the rainforests. There really is nothing like giving back. On this specially crafted expedition, you will visit the jungle habitat of the orangutan and help protect their environment for generations to come.

Led by Leif Cocks, president of The Orangutan Project, you will be guided through jungles, on an exclusive expedition led by a man who knows orangutans and this location like few others in the world.

On this nine-day Orangutan Odysseys tour, beginning and ending in Medan (North Sumatra), you will visit pristine rainforests, trek into the jungles of the Leuser Ecosystem in Northern Sumatra and spend time viewing wild orangutans who wander freely in their natural surroundings along with a host of other wildlife.

You will get to meet Rudi Putra, award-winning conservationist and biologist and his team. Rudi Putra leads communities in dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino. He is also an expert researcher and tracker, leading rhino protection teams on field expeditions to track down poachers in the Leuser Ecosystem.

If you are interested in adventure and giving back to the world at the same time, then you have got to be part of this expedition.

Leif Talks Orangutan Tours
Hi, I have now completed several Leif Cocks Orangutan Odysseys Eco-tours. On each one, we have all had a great time, learnt all about the orangutans' habitat, made new friends and most importantly raised awareness and much-needed funds to help save this endangered species. In the complex world of conservation and animal behaviour, it is difficult to fully grasp the realities of what we see on just a short tour. That is why I feel that the members on this tour, that have been able to discuss the deeper insights of conservation and behaviour, may have enjoyed the trip so much more. The more you know about something the more interesting it gets! With any holiday, a lot of time is wasted getting from one place to the other, however, time can fly when you have the opportunity to discuss what you have just seen and what you are about to see in a holistic and in-depth context.

Leif says, "Want an enjoyable holiday, but want it to be something more? Why not see what is really going on, connect with the most intelligent fellow beings on the planet, meet the people working at the coal face and become part of the solution "

About your expert host Leif Cocks.
The Orangutan Project was established in 1998 by founder and world-renowned orangutan expert, Leif Cocks, as a result of his almost 30-year career working with orangutans. Leif is a passionate campaigner for orangutans and has been the President of The Orangutan Project since its inception.

Leif’s years in the field have earned him respect within the conservation field. He has been a key player in developing conservation plans for orangutans and influencing positive change for orangutan protection and survival. This includes the first-ever successful reintroduction of the zoo-born orangutan. This respect has given The Orangutan Project world standing in conservation.

A small population biologist and curator by trade; Leif has several academic qualifications, including a Masters of Science studying orangutans. He lectures at universities, is a seasoned public speaker and has published several papers on orangutans in peer-reviewed journals. Leif is also the author of the books Orangutans and their Battle for Survival (2002) and, Amazon bestseller, Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends(2016) - A journey to understand and save the person of the forest.

Leif is currently: a Technical Advisor for PT Alama Bukit Tigapuluh (a company leasing and protecting rainforest), President of International Elephant Project, President of International Tiger Project, Vice President of Orang Utan Republik Foundation and on the Advisory Board for Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh.

In respect to his professional, animal, human and financial management skills, Leif has been the longest standing member of the Australasian Species Management Program; a Quarantine-Approved Assessor; Zoo Husbandry Advisor; Zoo Accreditation Officer; UN GRASP in-country point of contact, and International Species Coordinator, International Studbook Keeper and the Chair of a World Aquarium and Zoo Association global conservation program.

With Leif along, you will garner a full and unusual understanding of what you are seeing, as this adventure of a lifetime takes you deep into the orangutans home.

Our goal is to provide our guests with a unique experience, to observe wild and semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat. We will provide you with a safe platform to observe other wildlife Sumatra has to offer. We will also provide you with comprehensive information about the destination you are in so that you are fully informed of your surrounds. Furthermore, Orangutan Odysseys has partnered with The Orangutan Project which supports conservation programs in and Sumatra and Borneo.

Tour Food - Vegetarian and Vegan based
All included meals provided during this tour will be vegetarian (with a vegan option). Guests will have the option of non-vegetarian meals during breakfast at hotels and for meals (some dinners) not included in the itinerary. 

You are embarking on an adventure to places and amongst people whose lives are very different from your own. Many aspects of life in Indonesia will seem unusual. Remember that these are often the same aspects that make an area an exotic and attractive destination. While boat expeditions are considered easy, no trek is easy, even those rated "easy or moderate". In addition to the personal physical challenges you may face, travel conditions can present unexpected obstacles, such as rough and bumpy roads and changeable weather. To prepare for this "pack" a flexible and relaxed attitude. Bring a spirit of adventure and inquiry, a healthy sense of humour and a willingness to encounter the unexpected and you will find your trip to Indonesia the adventure of a lifetime!

To place a booking simply click the 'Book Now' button for your preferred date and complete the compulsory fields of the booking form.


Participants joining this expedition are required to raise funds (a minimum of $1,000 AUD per participant) by networking with friends, family and colleagues to fundraise via your own customised fundraising page. Your fundraising page is created by Orangutan Odysseys and monies raised go straight to 'The Orangutan Project'. Details of how to achieve this goal and further information will be sent once you have booked. Participants in this expedition will also be contributing to the survival of the orangutans and their habitat by adopting an orphaned orangutan (included in your trip fare).



10 days (8-17 August 2022)
* Subject to change due to local conditions.

Day 1 - 8 August: Arrive Medan (North Sumatra).
Today you arrive in Medan, where you will be met at the airport by your OO guide and transferred to your overnight accommodation, about 1 hours drive. Tonight our group will meet for a tour briefing in the hotel over dinner (D).

Day 2 - 9 August: Medan - Berestagi - Kutacane - Ketembe.
An early morning departure morning your we board our bus to start the long drive (approx 10 hours) through to our jungle base camp in Ketembe. Along the way we will pass through the mountain town of Berestagi, with a lunch stop along the way,  Afternoon arrival will allow you some time to walk around the markets and see some of the town. (B,L)

Day 3 - 10 August: Ketembe - Start 2-day jungle trekking
An early morning start where we will meet with our local guide team and head into the jungle looking for wildlife. This amazing ecosystem will provide us with viewings of orangutans, Thomas Leaf monkeys, gibbons, macaques, hornbills and more. We will start the trekking adventure into the jungle viewing wildlife all day as we trek. We will camp at a river and enjoy a swim before dinner. We will camp in tents overnight in the National Park - camping equipment including tent, mattress, pillow and blanket is supplied. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - 11 August: Ketambe Trekking - Ketembe Lodge
This morning we wake to the sounds of the jungle at our riverside camp and head out again into the jungles looking for wildlife and more. After lunch, we will walk to the local hot springs for a relaxing river spa before making our way back to Ketembe and our local lodge for overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - 12 August Ketambe FKL research station - reforestation and trekking - Ketembe
This morning we travel to meet Rudi Putra and his program with FKL, where we will be introduced to their important work. We will trek through the jungle in the morning and afternoon looking for orangutans and other wildlife. Along the way, we will learn more about the vital work being done by FKL. Tonight over dinner Rudi will give you a presentation. Overnight at their research station jungle lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - 13 August: FKL Station - Reforestation - Gelombang - Local hotel
This morning after breakfast we will farewell Rudi and travel south for about two hours to the FKL reforestation site where we see their work first hand and plant a tree. From there we will meet our cars and travel to a local losmen (simple village hotel) for our overnight stay. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - 14 August: Gelombang - Soraya Research Station
Today we will travel through to Gelombang where we will meet our motorised canoe for a two-hour boat trip upriver to FKL's Soraya Station project in the jungle. We will stay overnight here and be introduced to their amazing work. Late afternoon, we will cool down in an amazing waterfall camp. We will spend time with the research team and do an afternoon trek into the jungle looking for wild orangutans and elephants. We will learn about what the researchers do and maybe help check the camera traps. Overnight Soraya camp. Tents and sleeping equipment provided. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - 15 August: Soraya Research Station - Lake Toba
This morning after an early morning trek and breakfast we will farewell the team and jump back into the boats for our ride to Gelombang where we will then be transferred by car to Lake Toba and our waterside hotel (B,L)

Day 9 - 16 August: Lake Toba at leisure
Today you are free to relax and explore some of the areas by foot. Optionally we can organise a tour to visit some of the local traditional Batak tribes to learn about their culture and see more of the island. This afternoon we can relax by the pool and with a farewell dinner (B) 

Day 10 - 17 August: Lake Toba - Medan Airport - Tour ends.
This morning you will drive to Medan Airport where your tour ends or you can continue with your onward travels. (B)

Why not think about seeing more amazing locations in Indonesia after your orangutan expedition? For more details about some of the exciting trip extensions on offer to other parts of Indonesia please contact us.

How do I get to Medan?
Medan is in northern Sumatra, with the major airport being Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO). There are many daily direct flights to Medan from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Airlines that service these routes include: Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Air Asia, Malaysian Airlines and Jetstar Asia. Please contact us if you would like a quote for your flight connection to Medan from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. 

Please note: Additional accommodation can be arranged in Medan or like Toboa should you like to extend your stay in Sumatra. Please ensure that any flights departing Medan on day 10 should be booked for the early to late evening to allow enough connecting time from Lake Toba. 





At around 2.63 million hectares, the Leuser Ecosystem really is a world unto itself; a rich expanse of original tropical lowland rainforests, cloud covered mountains and swampy peatlands. It is among the most biodiverse ecosystems ever recorded by science, and it is the last place on earth where Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinos still freely roam.

However, the Leuser Ecosystem in now under threat. Despite being protected under Indonesian national law, massive industrial development is being planned for logging, palm oil, pulp and paper plantations and mining. This will threaten the entire ecosystem, as well as the continued wellbeing of the millions of Acehnese traditional landholders who depend on it for their food, water and livelihoods.