Travel type

Expedition grade


$ (AUD)


Come and see orangutans the only way they should be seen, in the natural jungles of Sumatra and make a personal difference by directly contributing and 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, Founder 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 10 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 (Aceh) and spend time viewing wild orangutans who wander freely in their natural surroundings along with a host of other wildlife.

You will firstly visit the recently opened Sumatran Rescue Alliance (SRA) center. Meet the rescue team and then plant a tree in a reforestation site. SRA is an alliance between The Orangutan Project, Center for Orangutan Protection and the Orangutan Information Center. Then later we will meet with the Forum for Conservation Of Leuser (FKL) team that 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 behavior, 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, who have been able to discuss the deeper insights of conservation and behavior, 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 leader 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 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 best seller, Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends(2016) and Finding our Humanity (2019).

Amongst many roles, Leif is currently: a Technical Advisor for PT Alam Bukit Tigapuluh (a company leasing and protecting rainforest), Head of International Elephant Project, head 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 Adviser; Zoo Accreditation Officer; UN GRASP in-country point of contact, an International Species Coordinator, International Studbook Keeper and the Chair of a World Aquarium and Zoo Association global conservation program.

Visit or more information on Leif Cocks

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.

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 humor 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).

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 surroundings. 


ITINERARY - 9 days

7 to 15 May 2024
* Subject to change without notice due to local conditions.

Day 1 - 7 May: Arrive in Medan.
Today you will arrive in Medan, North Sumatra where you will be met and picked up from the airport by an Orangutan Odysseys representative and transferred to your hotel in Medan city. Tonight over dinner we will meet our team and discuss the rest of the trip along with meeting our local guides. Overnight in a Medan hotel.

Day 2 - 8 May: Medan -  Ketembe Lodge
Early this morning we board our bus to start the long drive (approx 10 hours) through to our jungle base camp in Ketembe (Aceh). Along the way, Leif will give you some informative talks, we will stop for lunch at a local warung (small restaurant) and we will pass through the scenic mountain areas and also see volcanoes and other places of interest. Late afternoon we will arrive in Ketembe and set up base camp at our jungle lodge. If time allows we can have a swim in the nearby river. Here we will also meet with our local guiding team and discuss our plans for jungle trekking tomorrow. Overnight in the lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - 9 May: Ketembe - Start 2-day Jungle Trekking
Today after an early breakfast we start our 2-day adventure and head into the jungle looking for orangutans and other wildlife. This amazing Leuser ecosystem will provide us opportunities to view not only wild orangutans but also Thomas Leaf monkeys, gibbons, macaques, hornbills and more. We will have lunch in the jungle and later we arrive at our campsite by a crystal clear river and enjoy a refreshing swim and clean up before dinner. We will camp in tents overnight in the National Park - all camping equipment including tent, mattress, pillow and blanket are carried in by our support team. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - 10 May: 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 along the way, we will trek to the hot springs area for a relaxing œriver spa before making our way back out of the jungle and returning to the lodge overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - 11 May: Research Station - Reforestation and Trekking  - Ketembe Lodge
This morning we travel to meet with The Forum for the Conservation of Leuser (FKL), where we will be introduced to their important work. We will trek through the jungle in the morning and in the afternoon look for orangutans and other wildlife. Along the way, we will learn more about the vital work being done by FKL and return to the lodge for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - 12 May: Reforestation - Gelombang - Local hotel
This morning after breakfast we will travel about eight hours. Leif will give you some informative talks and we will stop for lunch at a local warung (small restaurant) overnight at a hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - 13 May: Gelombang - Soraya Research Station
Today we will travel through to Gelombang where we will meet our motorized 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 Station. Tents and sleeping equipment are provided. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - 14 May: Soraya Research Station - Medan
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 bus (approx 6-7 hours) to our Medan hotel (B,L)

Day 9 - 15 May: 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 if you like Toba should you like to extend your stay in Sumatra. 





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.