A uniquely grass roots, down-to-Earth, authentic bio-cultural experience.
With a core focus on Forest Restoration & Permaculture Immersion,
we partner with local communities who are actively regenerating rainforest ecosystems in the Leuser Ecosystem of North Sumatra - a globally significant biodiversity hotspot.
8 DAY FOREST EXPEDITION TO NORTH SUMATRA, INDONESIA with Paul Daley
The majestic Leuser Ecosystem in North Sumatra is the last place on Earth where Orangutan, Elephant, Rhino and Tiger co-exist. It is one of Earth’s most significant biodiversity hotspots.
Our main objective on this forest expedition is to live, learn and connect with the permaculture and forest restoration activities on the ground. Our core partner, The Orangutan Information Center, have planted over 1.7 millions trees and now operate over 7 ecosystem restoration field cabins and impact centers along the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem.
We also partner with a community run program 'Nature For Change' who have emerged to empower local people with the cultivation of food forest ‘bufferzones’. By planting a range of grafted and seedling grown fruit trees, the NFC team are protecting this globally significant rainforest by providing local people with alternative livelihoods to palm oil, logging and forest encroachment.
We’ll be joining the team on a trek deep into the forest where the Orangutans and countless other wildlife live. After walking all day through this vibrant ecosystem we arrive at the Landak River Camp where their community fruit tree planting program is based.
Life along the river invites us to slow down, rest, play and reconnect with ourselves and the natural world.
EXPEDITION TEAM LEADER
Paul is keen to work in with your specific interests, personal growth edge and learning goals.
These expeditions are as much transformational as they are educational and inspirational. Every effort is made so that we all have a safe and supported adventure with respect and reciprocity to the local people.
The Adventure begins! Day 0 (Sunday Feb 16) Selamat datang - Welcome to North Sumatra. We land in the Kualanamu international airport on the outskirts of ‘Medan’ city. The Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) have their head office here and we’ll be staying in a hotel nearby for a Monday morning departure.
Day 1 (Monday Feb 17) After meeting the OIC team at the head office, we drive 3 hours north-west to the Bukit Mas Permaculture Centre and Leuser Nature School (Sekolah Alam Leuser) – right alongside the eastern tip of the mighty Leuser Ecosystem. On our 2018 expedition the finishing touches were being made to the main school building, so after arriving we'll go check out the latest developments, have a swim in the river and settle into our shared on-site accommodation.
Day 2 (Tuesday Feb 18) Selamat Pagi Sumatera! - Good morning Sumatra! School life starts early in Indonesia with a typical 7am morning dance experience. The Permaculture program is managed by Sabar whose life story is one of hope and resilience. Today is Permaculture action day: Making compost, building new garden beds, planting out in the agro-forestry plots and a host of handson permaculture related activities.
Day 3 (Wednesday Feb 19) After a morning session at the Leuser Nature School we will share lunch with the team before crossing the river on a canoe and driving south west to the Cinta Raja Restoration area. (Approx 4 hours away) The Sumatran Orangutan Society have managed to raise the funds to purchase a new 890-acre plot of deforested ex-palm oil land where our 2018 expedition saw a herd of wild Sumatran Elephants taking refuge in. This is a critical development to strengthen the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem and this site will be in the early stages of ecological restoration with oil palms being chopped and dropped and tree seedlings being propagated in the nursery.
Day 4 (Thursday Feb 20) This morning we will join the forest restoration activities and plant trees with the local team. Today we learn from their 10 years of collective knowledge on how to successfully regenerate a forest ecosystem on land that has been deforested. After a midday rest and some lunch we get back on the road and head south to Batu Ronring (Approx 1 hour away) home to a giant Kapok tree that will blow your mind!The team here are the Sumatran Rangers and their eco-tourism initiatives help fund active forest patrolling alongside the border of the Leuser Ecosystem.
DAY 5 (Friday Feb 21) The fresh morning light is the best time to visit the majestic Kapok tree and check on the camera traps that are being used to monitor biodiversity along the edge of the rainforest. On our way back to the bungalows we’ll explore some unique lava tubes and river caves. After lunch it’s time to make our way another hour south to the famous Bukit Lawang village where we will spend the night at the beautifully designed bamboo Eco Lodge on the edge of the Bohorok River. The afternoon is free to relax, explore a local cave cloaked in strangler figs or just chill out and wander along the river.
Day 6 (Saturday Feb 22) Into the forest we go. We’ve been travelling along the edge of the forest all week, now it’s time to go inside. After breakfast we join Darma and the Nature For Change (NFC) team who will guide us on a forest trek experience. The opportunity to see Orangutans and other wildlife is high today. Our expert local guides are the best of the best at tracking and spotting wildlife and their knowledge of the plants and forest ecology is second to none.
After a full day of forest trekking we end up at the peaceful Landak river camp built by the NFC crew. Life on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem is bliss. Word on the river is they’ve built a new tree-house viewing platform!
Day 7 (Sunday Feb 23) Today we plant more trees! A range of high-quality grafted fruit trees have been prepared to plant out in the bufferzone area alongside the National Park. Durian, Mangosteen, Rambutan – some of the most delicious and nutritious fruit trees on Earth. Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll return and taste the fruits of your efforts? After a final lunch and another swim in the river we head to Darma’s homestay. Rice paddies, aquaculture systems, ducks, fruit trees and village life with the luscious Leuser Ecosystem in the background. This is a classic traditional permaculture garden. As Darma once said “Permaculture? That’s how my granny gardens!”
Day 8 (Monday Feb 24) Oh the feels – it’s been an action packed 8 days and it’s time to say “Sampai jumpa lagi” (See you next time). After another delicious breakfast (Hello pineapple and papaya!) and some chill time in the hammock relaxing and reflecting, we pack our bags, get back in the jeeps and head east for the Kualanamu Airport.
OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR AN ADDITIONAL 1 WEEK STAY WITH OUR PROJECT PARTNERS. COST = $500 AU
- Forest Restoration
- Deep Ecology
- Bio-cultural Immersion
- Forest Trekking
- shared rooms
- tent camping
- communally cooked meals
- None: Off the grid
Fly into Kualanamu Airport (Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia).
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