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“2 amazing weeks, wish I could have stayed longer.”

The Great Orangutan Project
Ranked #19 of 93 things to do in Kuching
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This 2 or 4 week multi award-winning orang-utan volunteer project, based in the Matang Wildlife Centre, focusses on the conservation and protection of Borneo's most fascinating and enchanting species - the orang-utan. Please Note: This page is solely in reference to the 2 or 4 week orang-utan volunteer project offered by The Great Projects
Reviewed May 24, 2013

Wow, what an experience. The guys at Matang, and our Guide Alvin made this an unforgetable experience. We spent the first 2 days at Matang Wildlife Park, working there as "Volunteers" and we got to see behind the scenes of the conservation project being undertaken there. It was a real eye opener. The guys there ( Leo, Tash and the team ) have a real hard job to do with very little finances or resources. But they are upbeat and doing a great job. The animals are well cared for, but space is at a premium, hence some of the other reviews of one day visitors thinking the Orangs should be in bigger areas. there is no question that they should. But where? Dominant males cannot live together as there can be only one in an area, as such they will fight and injure each other. So the guys at Matang do the absolute best that they can. We got to see everything, and even got to help out in the quarantine area with some very cheeky maqaques!!. After Matang we visited the Bako national park and then spent 5 nights in the real jungle with a local tribe. This was amazing. We even were lucky enough to come across a wild male Orang eating his breakfast!!! a truly rare and amazing sight. I would recommend anyone to do this tour. It is a real life changing experience. Great work Leo and Tash, keep it up.

3  Thank Mhaldron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adsjs, Director of Sales at The Great Orangutan Project, responded to this reviewResponded May 28, 2013

Hi Marc,
Thank you for such a great review! We’re glad you had such a good time on the Orangutan and Tribes Voluntour. The team at Matang do an amazing job which wouldn’t be possible without volunteers such as yourself. We’re also all very excited that another group got to see a wild orang, it is a real privilege

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103 - 107 of 152 reviews

Reviewed May 17, 2013

We saw 13 orang utans, some only 10 ft away. A tip is to go out of the fruiting season, if they have lots to eat in the jungle they don't bother to come to the feeding platforms. Oh and be as quiet as you can, they stay away if people are noisy.

1  Thank nats8784
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adsjs, Director of Sales at The Great Orangutan Project, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Hello, I believe this review is meant for Semenggoh Nature Reserve but is sounds like you had an amazing time!

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Reviewed April 8, 2013

Very poor presence of Orangutan's, and it upset me to see them caged up, I felt quite upset to see they had no material habitats to Rome a rounds within a larger enclosure, the rain Forrest make the day, it was fantastic to roam through and get a feel of this habitats, shame they can't do similar for the Orangutans.

1  Thank B M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adsjs, Director of Sales at The Great Orangutan Project, responded to this reviewResponded April 29, 2013

Hello B M,
This page is for reviews of The Great Orangutan Project, a 2+ week volunteer programme based at Matang Wildlife Centre which you visited for a day. The review page for the centre itself can be found here - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298309-d2524446-Reviews-Matang_Wildlife_Centre-Kuching_Sarawak.html

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

Absolutely awesome experience with the Great Orangutan Project at Matang. When I arrived everyone said 2 weeks was not long enough and I should have booked for a month - 2 weeks later they were definitely right. Can't believe it went so quickly. Really a trip of a lifetime - can't wait to go back... for a month next time!

2  Thank LJB225
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adsjs, Director of Sales at The Great Orangutan Project, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2013

Thank you for the review, do come back for a month soon! (:

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

We took the Great Projects 14 day
The program was excellent and I can't say enough about it. WOW! What disturbs me is having learned how little the Orang-utan Project gets from out tour. They do all the organization, pay all the costs and provide the guides. Yet they get a little more than half the fee we pay. The rest goes to Great Project who pocket 40% of the fee for...well, I guess they advertise, take your money and let the people at the Orang-utan Project know your coming. Malaysia is full of corruption but to have a western company taking advantage of a worthwhile project like this really disturbs me. Shame on them. I wish there was a way people could sign up without going through Great Projects.

6  Thank Dale S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adsjs, Director of Sales at The Great Orangutan Project, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2013

Hi Dale,

I am pleased to hear you loved your trip. I just want to take the opportunity to address your concern about the distribution of funds received by The Great Projects.

70% of our income is paid directly to the projects to fund the cost of operating: this includes volunteer costs (including, food, accommodation and airport transfer) and a donation to the centre.

With the remaining 30%, as well as our own costs, The Great Projects funds specific programs to support the local areas that our projects operate in. During the period of your booking, we funded the Kisoro Demonstration School for 10,000,000 Ugandan shillings with our promise to sponsor 22 disabled children through school with school dinners included for the next 12 months. The Kisoro school is a special school for deaf and blind children in Uganda and volunteers on The Great Gorilla Project visit this during their trip. We also fund the up-front cost of developing new projects.

Over the last six months, we have been able to support the launch of new projects and notably secure the future of an existing project that was at the point of collapse. In the next few days you will also see the launch of more exciting new projects where, with the support of your fellow travellers, we will be able to make significant contributions to trying to save many other endangered species. Your payment has part funded the establishment of these projects and we want to continue to launch new projects funded from payments as well as develop existing established projects.

Unfortunately, you seem to have the view we pocket your money, so I would briefly like to tell you a little more about the finances of The Great Projects. We are a small business with a team of eight, three of which are full time staff who are paid far less than they are worth. We pay a small consultancy fee to our founder with the remaining four of us working unpaid by The Great Projects.

There are no payments to the directors, salaries or otherwise. For the last 18 months I have worked two days a week unpaid to support this unique business which supports many great outcomes and my fellow director has, and continues to work full time, also unpaid by the company.
The business breaks even; there is no distribution of profits. Any “profit” within the company is re-invested back into developing new volunteering opportunities or where needed to give a boost to existing projects.

I fund the business by way of personal loans interest free. We also fully bond all travellers funds with TTA to protect the financial positions our travellers and projects. We share a small office that operates on minimal cost where most equipment is the teams own and not paid for by the company.

I hope you are assured that your money was well spent and please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to know anything more about the way we operate and how we are not taking financial advantage of the projects or doing anything that we are not extremely proud of. Thanks again for travelling with The Great Projects.

Andrew Starbuck
Director

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