The latest news and stories...
North Sumatra and its amazing people stole my heart!
I remember when they had just finished illegal logging, and were finding it hard to seek employment that was sustainable and alternative to their current damaging processes!
A unique Valentines to remember! Escape with your adventurous love one to the island of Sumatra, and enjoy getting up 'close and personal' with the elephants before arriving at Bukit Lawang, home of the endangered orangutans
Raw Wildlife Encounters (RWE) in partnership with The Jane Goodall Institute Australia and Raw Africa Eco-Tours give travellers the chance to experience close encounters with gorillas and chimps in the wild, while making sure that their travel dollars go to a good cause.
Raw Wildlife Encounters (RWE) first venture into Cambodia was a huge hit for RAW travellers whose focus was on immersing themselves into the local culture, and giving their time back to local charities.
One of the highlights of our Indonesian tours is when you experience the colour and richness of the Karonese culture. A favourite dish shared with all is the Pineapple Pajri.
As November see’s the wet season moving in and the tourist’s slowing to a trickle in Tangkahan, we start to look forward to the availability of the guides and rangers to help and inspire the students of Tangkahan English Club (TEC). It has been a very busy few months in the community of Tangkahan and the English Club has been no different, busy, busy, busy!
It’s the people that make Flores enchanting, with the amazing wealth of cultures, languages and history. With limited access to inner areas and communication between the single communities difficult, it has preserved a huge range of long-standing local peculiarities.
Our Cambodian tour was truly amazing, in so many ways. The action began at the 'Free The Bears', Phnom Tameo Wildlife Rescue Centre, just south of Phnom Penh, and ended in the beautiful Siem Reap province.
Lesley Small shares more of her 'Free The Bears' Cambodia Tour with you...
"When we were at a village we met a woman and her daughter. The daughter was not much older than I was, but she had to stop school because it cost too much money for her family to afford. This made me feel sad because her opportunities are less than mine. By sponsoring a girl to go to university from the village, it means that they will have the opportunities that I wish everyone could have. I don't know if I will go to university, but at least I can choose!"
I didn’t expect I could be a bigger fan of Sumatra than I already was, having fallen in love with this place the minute I first stepped off a plane in Jambi five years ago. I was taken aback to be so instantly and all-consumingly besotted with a destination I randomly picked from a map!
The smallest bear in the world, a sun bear also known as a honey bear, can be found in Sumatra. It is very rarely seen due to its solitary and secretive nature so not a lot is known about this bear in the wild. We happened to encounter one very soon after setting off on our morning trek having just spent the night sleeping in a cave behind a waterfall.
Did you see Dr Jane Goodall while she was in Australia recently on her 80th Year Tour? I have such vivid memories from my childhood of watching her with Chimpanzees in TV documentaries and I also remember that I was so inspired by her ground-breaking work with these creatures in the Gombe National Park, Tanzania. I wanted to be just like her – she has been one of my longest-standing role models and definitely helped shape my life and what I do today.
The river is low in Tangkahan, the lowest many of our friends here say they have ever seen. The rainy season has not really delivered and down river the river stones are being removed by the tonne. Many fishermen balance for hours on the rocks around Green lodge, and motorbikes come and go all through the night as locals take their spears and flashlights into the river under cover of darkness. The fish are easier to catch with the river so low and clear, it is stunningly beautiful but perhaps a warning sign of how easily the strength of the river is diminished by lack of rain and hungry excavators.
This month we welcomed Sumaraja back to Tangkahan! Many of you may remember Raja as the motivation behind the beginning of the English Club in Tangkahan, and the energetic and spirited teacher you may have met in the classroom. He has returned to Tangkahan at our request to assist in the planning and implementation of the education program. The response from the children has been astonishing, and Raja has already been teaching additional classes to satiate hungry minds!
Raw Wildlife Encounters has been awarded Highly Commended in the Travel Company category of the 2013 Green Lifestyle Awards.
The 2013 Environment Day event in the village of Batu Katak promoting forest conservation was attended by representatives from National Parks, local government, environmental and education NGOs, and local stakeholders. Raw sponsored 200 trees for the community reforestation program, some of which were planted on the day, with the remainder being planted by Raw guests and local guides
340 Works of Art by Melbourne school students, exhibited at Zart Art, will help buy better lives for orangutans. Art 4 Orangutans was inspired by a 35-year relationship that has deepened over a mutual interest in art. Once or twice a week Kiani (Suma), Melbourne Zoo's oldest female orangutan, and I sit quietly together while she watches me draw, paint or model with clay.
The English Club itself is a community creation aimed at providing the children with opportunities to learn skills relevant to improving potential career options in the future.
Some tips on how to travel responsibility – tips that can and should be applied both at home and abroad. But before that, a quick look at why plastic is such a problem.
On our way we stop at the Lingga village, a small Karo village with a strong link to Karo culture. Here some of the people still live in the traditional Karo houses, many of which are being restored