The latest news and stories...
The concept and inspiration for RAW Wildlife Experiences was first born by CEO Jess McKelson in the rainforests of North Sumatra for good reason.
There are so many incredible things to see and do in this region alone that it would be easy to fill up several months exploring. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of time, so we’ve picked our top three favourite experiences in North Sumatra that we recommend.
Pulau Weh, also known as Weh Island or Sabang, is a small island just off the northwest coast of Sumatra. It can be reached by flying direct from Medan (flights only operate twice a week and take about 70 minutes) or by ferry from the main port in Banda Aceh.
Most famous for the diving and snorkelling around the protected coral reefs, Pulau Weh manages to walk the fine line between popular tourist destination and undiscovered paradise, making it an ideal place for people who want an Indonesian tropical island getaway without the hordes of tourists in places like Bali.
I have been a Wildlife Leader for RAW since 2013, making me one of the most experienced leaders in the RAW family. I am passionate about Sumatra – its people, culture, wildlife, landscapes and food. I’ve been privileged to have led many guests from all over the world on eco-adventures around North Sumatra and here are my top five destinations that I highly recommend you add to your bucket list.
I am constantly asked where to volunteer in Asia with wildlife. Most places don't provide this option so its often very hard and confusing finding the right ethical place to spend your time and also money. Here are my top 5 locations in Asia that I recommend you start volunteering at!
Today is World Ranger Day. A day where we should all stop and take moment to think about the brave men and women out there fighting to keep our wildlife and wild places safe. I’ve been lucky enough to have spent 3 years of my life living in and learning about conservation in South Africa. I don’t really classify myself as a full on ranger but I’ve done my fair share of ranger work.
Our Forever Young adventure is desgned for all groups to enjoy the beauty of North Sumatra over a slow, relaxed pace. Here is our TOP 5 activities and why you will love this adventure with wildlife expert and host, Amy Robbins.
Buffer Zone protection in the Leuser ecosystem. The Rangers of Tangkahan is a grassroots, community conservation initiative; the only one of its kind protecting the buffer zone of the endangered Leuser ecosystem. I was lucky to spend time with the patrol unit this July, collecting data, conducting surveys, and community engagement sessions in our focal communities.
We have put together our Top 3 tips on how to be a responsible and conscious tourist; helping you to get the most out of your trip and leave your own little positive mark wherever you go.
There is nothing more exciting than heading into the unknown! The nerves, anxiety and wonder that fulfil you when you’re getting ready for your next adventure.
My first time into the jungle was thrilling, but I was also scared to the hilt with what may happen. Mostly it had to do with packing my bag! How much time and thought do we put into packing our bags for overseas travel? Then when you get there, you realise not all the items are actually required.
We've put together a list of our top 5 travel destinations for 2017. We encourage you to take some time to consider your next travel adventure, and think about exploring one of these destinations with us.
Spending most of my time in Asia, it's hard to travel to other Asian countries and sometimes justify some of the costs such as transport, accommodation, food and also the actual activity/experience, and at the moment I'm finding it incredibly hard to pick my next choice destination of travel.
This month, some of our fabulous RAW guests took part in one of our jungle adventures in North Sumatra. Two of these guests were 11-year-old Luke Arnason from Western Australia and his mum Maree. They had been wanting to come along on a RAW tour for the last few years, and this year the timing was perfect. Like many RAW guests, Luke wanted to take part in eco-tourism that makes a tangible difference.
I love to travel and am a devoted fan of wildlife. Combining travel with being able to watch wildlife in its natural habitat doing what it naturally does, is my idea of living. However, with all the stories you hear floating around these days, it is hard to know which travel companies are helping and advocating for the animals they work with, and which ones are merely exploiting them.
In April this year, I led a group of nine guests on a seven day Sumatran Wildlife Fundraising Adventure. All my guests fund-raised to contribute to two of RAW’s community programmes – The Rangers of Tangkahan and Sumatran Dog Health Program. They got to witness directly where their money will be used, to help benefit the wildlife and people of the Leuser ecosystem. Here are the highlights of our awe-inspiring adventure.
The wildlife is amazing. The culture is so RAW and you really feel special, as you discover the beauty of the Karonese people. The rainforest is breathtaking, with so many hidden gems to explore. But my favourite location is our Rimba Lestari Ecolodge. This gives you the tranquility, peace, wildlife and rainforest environment for you, to enjoy your private getaway.
I've explored Asia many times, however one of my favourite places that I highly recommend to visit is Sri Lanka. It has everything that an adventure traveller will fall in love with.
The Rangers of Tangkahan is a new community conservation initiative in North Sumatra, the only one if its kind, that aims to provide long term protection of the Leuser ecosystem buffer zone environment. The Leuser ecosystem is one of the worlds’ richest, yet least known and threatened forest ecosystems and acts as a life support to around four million people who live in and around it.
Berastagi is a cool, lush, fertile highland area located in the province of North Sumatra. With stunning farmlands nestled at the foot of towering volcanoes, this area is as refreshing for the spirit as it is for the body, with a temperate climate providing a pleasant change from the suffocating heat of the nearby city of Medan.
No matter what age you are, travel can be life changing, eye opening, exciting, and engaging. As a family, it can bring you together like nothing else, and inspire passion and a sense of wonderment.
In January 2017, the Mount Gambier SA AU Days for Girls team packed up 300 kits, made by their volunteers and headed to North Sumatra. We were travelling with Raw Wildlife Encounters (Raw), and contributing to the Priority Community Programs that run in conjunction with Raw. With a diverse team of eight, ranging in age from 19 years to 55+ and with our lone brave male Des in tow, we set off with a small degree of trepidation.