Volunteer Abroad FAQ Volunteering Borneo

Preserving the Sabangau Forest and protecting endangered wildlife

Prior to departure

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

If you want to participate in the project in Borneo, you should be at least 18 old, have sufficient skills in English and be in a good state of fitness due to physical tasks in the tropical climate of Borneo. Therefore, we need a certificate from your doctor confirming your state of health before you start the project. Moreover, you should be willing to work in a team as well as independently and be able to cope with unknown situations. You should be open, flexible and willing to live and work in basic conditions.

What services are included?

There will be a place saved for you when registering for the project. We will support you with planning your journey and give you advice on travel insurance and the flights. The price includes airport transfers on site (from the airport to the camp and vice versa), accommodation in Palangka Raya, accommodation in a research camp for the actual project and daily meals including water and hot drinks. Also, the price includes instruction and supervision by experienced, English-speaking coaches as well as various excursions. If there are any urgent questions or problems, feel free to contact our team or our partner’s team on site at any time. Flights, travel insurances, potential visas, meals in Palangka Raya, additional drinks and personal expenses are not covered by the price of the programme.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

It is obligatory to get foreign health insurance before starting your journey. Before departing to Borneo, you should see your doctor to get advice on necessary/useful health measures and talk about travel vaccinations that are recommended. We recommend having vaccinations like measles-mumps-rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, influenza and pneumococcus. Also, you should consider getting vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhus and Japanese encephalitis. Moreover, you should pack long clothing and a suitable bug spray to protect yourself from mosquito bites. You should consider packing medication against malaria as well – contact your doctor for further information. Do not forget to pack enough sunscreen. If your state of health demands a regular intake of medication, you should make sure that you have enough medicine for your whole stay in Borneo. Generally, we recommend packing a first aid-kit for journeys which contains patches, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal agents, painkillers, antiseptic lotion, anti-histamines, broad-spectrum antibiotics and vitamin pills. You can get up-to-date information about specific travel alerts and safety information at your foreign office all the time.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

Please pack lightweight walking boots (rubber boots) as well as long outdoor clothes in jungle colours (green, brown) that also protects you from mosquito bites. Don’t forget to pack any personal medication, hygiene products, enough mosquito repellent, sun hat, sunglasses and a refillable 2-litre-water bottle. Moreover, you will need a sleeping bag/an inlay, a mosquito net, a daypack, a headlamp and a large towel. You also should bring along t-shirts, flip flops/sandals, a camera and maybe even a thin sleeping mat.

Arrival

How do I arrive at my destination, do I have to organize it myself?

You should arrive at the airport in the city of Palangka Raya on the day your project starts. An employee of the project will meet you there to pick you up. You will spend the following two nights in Palangka Raya, where you’ll have enough time for last-minute supplies and to learn more about the project. After two nights in the city you and your team will then drive you to your main accommodation, the project’s research camp in Sabangau National Park. It takes about one hour to drive there from Palangka Raya. At the end of the programme, you will be taken to Palangka Raya again and spend two nights in the city, before you will be dropped off at the airport.

What happens after my arrival?

After your arrival you will take part in an introduction meeting and get safety information about living and working in the rainforest. Project work will start the same afternoon or the next day.

During the project

What is the project’s procedure?

After an introduction and getting important safety information, you will start working in the project. Each day you will immerse yourself into the great Sabangau rainforest in the Southern part of Borneo which is home to various endangered wild animals. You will be supervised by experienced researchers and work in an international team with volunteers from all over the world in order to participate in wildlife and habitat monitoring and support renaturation measures. The project’s aim is to protect the actual flora of the rainforest and therefore to conserve it as a haven for the sensible fauna. Moreover, you will visit local schools and teach the children relevant environmental knowledge. Last but not least, you will dedicate yourself to maintenance work at the camp from time to time. During your stay you will also go in a one-week expedition to one of the project’s satellite camps to gain extended knowledge about deeper rainforest regions by being involved in various research activities. At the end of your voluntary project in Borneo, an employee will drop you off at Palangka Raya Airport.

How big is the group?

In general, the team consists of ten volunteers.

Life on site

What is the accommodation like?

Together with other volunteers and employees of the project, you will live in a research camp, located in the middle of Sabangau’s green foothills. The accommodation is very basic but provides everything you need. The camp provides shared single-sex dormitory huts, a kitchen, a laboratory, an office and sanitary facilities with bucket showers and squat toilets.

Is it possible to get placed with a partner or friend?

If there are capacities left, you can share rooms with your partner. You should contact us as soon as possible, so we are able to consider your wish. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that you will actually share rooms with your partner.

How is the food provided?

You will be provided with three daily meals which you will have together with other participants. Also, you have access to water and hot drinks (tea, coffee) all the time.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

It is possible to have vegetarian meals during the project but in the city it will be more difficult to get suitable vegetarian/vegan food. We recommend taking specific supplements, small snacks and/or multivitamin pills.

How are work time and free time divided? How can I spend my free time?

As a volunteer in this project you do have leisure time at camp. There is electricity at night, so you can charge your phones and use the camp’s signal for internet to email and use WhatsApp. You can read, learn Indonesian, play board games or badminton at camp or photograph wildlife. Sometimes we there’s a projector in camp for film nights.

Do I have a contact person on site?

There will be employees of the project on site all the time and you can contact NATUCATE at any time if there are any questions or problems.

What kind of costs do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

As you are living and working in the Indonesian part of Borneo, the currency is Indonesian Rupiah. Payment is usually in cash. Traveller’s cheques are pretty much impossible to change in Palangka Raya; it is extremely difficult to exchange dollars, pound sterling or euros. This is why the best and easiest option to obtain money during the programme is withdrawing cash in the local currency at the ATMs (cash machines) in Palangka Raya or at the airport on arrival. Don’t forget that you may be charged a transaction fee of approx. $5 each time you’re using an ATM. You should contact your bank at home concerning this money issue before departing to Borneo. In case you do take cash with you, you should do so in Jakarta. Contact your bank or use an online converter to get to know the current exchange rate. The only time that you need money is when you are in Palangka Raya at the start and at the end of the project. We recommend about Indonesian 1.000.000 IDR for food costs in Palangka Raya during the programme, but for leisure time activities or if you want to travel before or after the programme, then you may need to bring additional money.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

Participants can contact friends and family, because the phone signal at camp is strong enough for calls, emails and WhatsApp. We recommend unlocking your phone before arriving and then buying an Indonesian SIM card to use for internet and calls. Our partner will be happy to assist in the purchase of this.

What’s the climate/weather like?

Borneo is located in the Malay Archipelago and is shared by the states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The project is located in the Indonesian part of the island. The climate of that region is tropical, divided into a dry and a wet season. In Borneo, the wet season is between October and April; the dry one between May and September. But you should expect sudden rainfalls and tropical storms at any time of the year. Sabangau National Park happens to be a peat swamp forest which is extremely humid compared to more arid rainforest areas. During monsoon season it can be flooded waist-high. Temperatures are relatively high: during daytime temperatures can reach 32°C in the city and in the camp, in the jungle it is about 27°C. In the evening temperatures can drop by up to 7°C in the rainforest. The location you will be working and living in as a volunteer is challenging but extremely rewarding as well.

Is there a prohibition concerning alcohol?

It is prohibited to consume alcohol in the camp. Be aware: excessive consumption of alcohol makes you fragile for diseases, causes dehydration and can result in accidents.

You did not find your question?

Feel free to contact us under +49 241-91994357 or email us to info@natucate.com.

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