We believe strongly that ecotourism can help safeguard the still-untouched forests deep within the Kerinci Seblat National Park. With a growing population within a valley completely surrounded by protected land, and a severe lack of reliable employment opportunities, ecotourism goes a long way in giving people alternate means of income without further encroaching into the National Park. Protecting the rainforest is not just about wildlife and the environment – over 7 million people (about 15% of the total population of Sumatra) and 10 million hectares of agricultural land rely directly on waters that these forests provide, including the cities of Padang, Palembang, Jambi, and Bengkulu. Primary forests help to reduce flooding in the rainy season and reduce drought in the dry season – vitally important for people who live and work so closely with the land. They also capture millions of tons of carbon every year, and likewise produce oxygen, helping to slow the effects of climate change and giving us all a breath of fresh air.
We are proud that 5% of the total cost of our trips goes directly to 21st Century Tiger in support of wild tiger conservation projects in the Kerinci Seblat National Park and other areas of Sumatra. After all, a healthy tiger population means a healthy forest.
Until now, there has been very little quality information available online to make traveling here accessible — even for the adventurous. There is also very little infrastructure and few English speakers ready on the ground. This has made travel, especially to the most wild places of Kerinci, challenging without prior planning and connections. We know it’s popular among backpackers and independent travelers to try to do everything on their own for a more “authentic” experience, and many believe that they’ll see more if they strike out on their own. However, in our time here, we’ve seen that many who travel to Sumatra with this idea usually end up trapped in the same touristy areas as everyone else, as it’s the path of least resistance. If they do get off the beaten path, often they end up frustrated that things didn’t go smoothly, or that they weren’t able to find that hidden gem that they’d heard about. Don’t underestimate the importance of a cultural insider!
For the people of Kerinci, despite their eagerness to show the world their piece of heaven, they often need support in connecting and communicating with travelers abroad. That’s where we come in. Since we live and work in Kerinci 24/7, we know the area and the people here on the ground on a personal level, and are able to connect them to visitors interested in really exploring Sumatra, trying new experiences, making friends, and escaping the tired tourist trail. And in doing so, it’s creating a fine alternative means of income to support Kerinci families and protect these beautiful forests.
We believe strongly that forest conservation through ecotourism is most effective when local community members are directly involved and empowered in their roles. This is why we only use guides from Kerinci, and work hard to make sure that all guides come from the communities as close as possible to the forest-edge or site of interest. We also strive to work with guides that are both experienced in the forest, and experienced with English. However, as tourism to the area is still so new, many guides are still in the process of learning, and may not be 100% proficient. Thank you for supporting and encouraging them in this learning process!
To be clear: as advocates of community-based ecotourism, only local guides accompany visitors on trips with Wild Sumatra unless it’s an exploratory or training trip. Our guides are all independent—we simply work together with them in equal partnership to support their goals and assist them in areas like training, marketing their services, networking, email communication, logistics and planning. Wild Sumatra in Kerinci is not a tour operator, but rather a platform for local guides to promote their services to a wider global audience. When you book a tour on this website you are booking a tour directly with the local guide. In this way, it is the locals at the grassroots who have full ownership and control, with us non-locals only in a supporting, consulting, and partnership role. After all, they will be here long after we have gone. Below are just a few of the folks we’re lucky to be working alongside.