Talking Climate Change from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

kisu_620Chimp-n-Sea project,, has created a spectacular new vEcotour!

In this tour, join with me, Ian Redmond, to experience the exhilaration of reaching the nearly 6000m Uhuru peak on Mount Kilimanjaro.

I recently took on the epic climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to showcase the impact of climate change on our natural and cultural heritage sites. Joining my concerned climate colleagues Ian SingletonAndy Steel, and Abbie Barnes, the three of us climbed in aid of Ape Alliance, Born Free Foundation, Wild Futures, Gorilla Organization, The Orangutan Foundation, PATT’s Environmental Education Portal project and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

When I flew over Mount Kilimanjaro in the mid-1980s, the glaciers were far more extensive. To see the difference today was shocking. Glacier retraction seems to lead to reduced precipitation on the mountain, which will not only have an impact locally for those who depend on glacier fed rivers for water but also far more widely as rainfall lessens and the area become more arid.

Climate change will touch us all, every species will be affected. Launch this truly amazing vEcotour, experience the thrill of reaching the top of the world with me and grasp why we must come together to stop climate change.

If you’ve been inspired by Ian’s climb, please donate to his JustGiving page at

The vEcotourism team will be adding new parts to this tour featuring the climb itself and more so do check back!

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Yosina has taken her maiden voyage!

Witnessing the destruction of the unique Coral Triangle area between Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea faces by pollution, trawling and drift-nets as well as damaging and illegal cyanide and dynamite fishing, the Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation Fund and partner JARI had to do something. In 2013, the ‘Yosina’ was purchased with the aim of creating a “Floating Marine Park” to travel the seas, provide a research platform and to educate and raise awareness of the threats the marine environment faces.

Happily, the Yosina has just taken her maiden voyage! JARI staff visited several islands, dived both stunningly pristine sites and others which were ruined by bomb fishing, spoke to many locals and now have a list of priorities on how to best use the crowd-funding support given by many, including Chimp-n-Sea supporters, to get Yosina up-to-scratch and operating permanently. The video below from JARI features stunning footage of this ground-breaking voyage from a drone (with thanks to Elfian Djajaputra).


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Crossing paths with a forest elephant on World Elephant Day

© Ian Redmond / vEcotourism

The ambassador of (a Chimp-n-Sea project) Ian Redmond recently had the very good fortune to encounter a magnificent forest elephant while trekking to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

In this latest “taster” vEcotour, published to coincide with World Elephant Day, you’ll join Ian as he observes this marvellous creature calmly feeding in his native habitat, with a full-fledged version of this tour complete with video footage to follow shortly. Once you see this gentle giant quietly browsing you can’t help but be moved to help protect these peaceful forest gardeners from the deadly ivory trade.

Click the image above to start your tour. Make sure you also view Ian’s thought-provoking vEcotour of the Paris ivory crush that took place this past February by clicking through within this taster or by clicking here.

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A home away from home in Lombok, Indonesia

Home away from homeDr. Helena Baird, a volunteer with Chimp-n-Sea partner JARI, a marine protection organisation located in Indonesia, has created a fantastic vEcotour of her beautiful “home away from home”.

“Volunteering in a developing country is more than just the work itself” Helena explains, “it’s an entirely immersive, challenging and uplifting experience. I have almost been in Indonesia for six months now, so thought I’d give you a taste of my “home away from home” here on Lombok. As you’ll see it’s quite beautiful, but it certainly has its quirks…and it couldn’t be more dissimilar to my home in Tasmania!”

We hope that Helena will bring some vEcotours from the good ship Yosina in due course!

So click on the image above or map below to start your tour.  Find out how Helena is adjusting to living in Indonesia and discover the various residents, human and otherwise, with whom she shares her home.

To find out more about JARI, please visit their website and Facebook page

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Chimp-n-Sea project,, engages with Ugandan students at Makerere University

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism with Mark O!

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism!

Chimp-n-Sea project,, recently broke new ground as vEco’s Ugandan blogger and photographer, Mark Olokotum (a.k.a. Mark O!), introduced students of the Department of Biological Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda, to the wonders and possibilities of vEcotourism on June 6th.

Introduced by vEcotourism Tour Guide and Content Developer, Jackson Efitre, Mark O dazzled the group with stories about vEcotourism, its origins, how the tours are created, their potential and how the projects and partners featured within our vEcotours help local communities and work to protect wildlife and its habitat. Mark O also personally guided the group on a vEcotour through vEco’s Murchison falls and Albertine Escarpment.

“Many of the students, despite living here their whole lives, had never visited the Ugandan vEcotour locations I showed them”, explains Mark O, “They were extremely curious about how we created the tours. Their interest and engagement demonstrated the huge potential for vEcotourism not only for people around the world but also for those who live locally who are not able to visit these extraordinary places.”

Following the talk, many of the students spent time immersing themselves in the various vEcotours on our website, connecting with vEco through social media and several people even wanted to volunteer and expand the potential of vEcotourism.

As Mark O concludes: “It is immensely satisfying to present vEcotours to my counterparts and see them engage with the remarkable Ugandan landscapes. I very much look forward to showing the wonders of vEcotourism, of our incredible natural world, to many more people.”

To learn more about vEcotourism and to experience your own virtual tour, visit

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Yosina project gains momentum / needs your help

With less than 1 week of our current IndieGogo fundraising campaign left to go we’d like to take the time to thank all of our generous contributors so far. Wow – we’ve already raised over $3,700! Thank you! This will go a long way towards the completion of the boat’s infrastructure and some of the materials on board. Hopefully Hani, Boen & Helena will be able to get out to Sumbawa in the next couple of weeks to give Yosina a test run. In the meantime, they have been working hard to promote marine conservation in Lombok, through the education program Laut Sahabat Kita (The Sea is Our Best Friend), swimming between the islands off Sekotong, and other activities (see JARI’s Facebook page Please encourage everyone who might be interested to contribute and let’s see whether we can reach our goal by July 2 🙂

We're all on the same boat, yes?

We’re all on the same boat, yes?

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Experience a virtual tour of JARI HQ, Chimp-n-Sea’s Indonesian partner

We are pleased to present the first vEcotour created by JARI volunteer, Dr. Helena Baird featured by, a Chimp-n-Sea project.

JARI HQ panoExperienced marine ecologist Dr. Helena Baird has joined the team as a volunteer at Lombok-based NGO JARI in Indonesia. Helena will help JARI develop a new ecotourism initiative onboard the ship ‘Yosina’, the floating marine conservation and education vessel developed in partnership with Chimp-n-Sea.

“JARI, or “Juang Laut Lestari”, is a small but fiercely motivated locally-run NGO based in Lombok, Indonesia” explains Helena, “JARI’s overarching aim is to improve the condition of Indonesia’s threatened marine ecosystems through outreach, education, research, and most importantly, by working together with local communities.”

Current JARI projects include a marine conservation education program for primary schools called “Laut Sahabat Kita” (“The Sea is Our Best Friend”) and the conversion of a fishing boat into a conservation and education platform named Yosina, co-funded by Chimp’n’Sea. The boat will visit remote villages in Sumbawa to help them grow through sustainable fishing and ecotourism.

Immerse yourself in this amazing experience alongside Helena: “I will be working to help increase JARI’s capacity for the next year and would like to bring you with me on this journey through Here is my first vEcotour of the humble headquarters of JARI, from where many great conservation goals are currently being initiated. I hope you enjoy it!”

If you would like to help JARI and Chimp-n-Sea to add the final touches to the Yosina, click here!

View the tour by clicking on the image above or by clicking here.

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Last resort: rescuing an orangutan from its natural habitat

OrangFamilyChimp-n-Sea project,, recently reported on an article from Lucy Radford, Development Officer at Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation which provides a moving account of her trek through fragmented forest in Langkat, North Sumatra.

Supported by stunning photography from wildlife photographer Andrew Walmsley, Lucy outlines the plight of wildlife that is being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas as oil palm plantations continue to consume habitable forest. So much so that organisations such as the Sumatran Orangutan Society are being forced to relocate orangutans out of forest fragments to safer areas.

Travel through the forests of Langkat, North Sumatra with Lucy and Andrew and find out how it is possible for a forest to no longer be a forest. Read the full article here.

You can take an immersive and interactive vEcotour, created by, in Sumatra with expert guide, Ian Redmond, by clicking here!

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Yosina fundraising–You’re invited!

Dear Family & Friends,

I’m writing to let you know about a fundraising site we have just set up. Our 51ft fishing-turned-conservation-education-research boat ‘Yosina’ in Indonesia is undergoing its final renovations and outfitting and we need some help to get it finished, launched, and its initial projects underway. I hope that you will consider supporting this project.

Take a look at the campaign site: Make a contribution, share it with your friends, or simply follow updates. The more people who get involved, the more likely we are to be able to make this happen.

Thank you all for whatever support you can give.

Best wishes,
Sara, Mark & the rest of the Chimp-n-Sea and JARI teams

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Explore the latest trek from!

Enjoy the latest immersive vEcotour from, a Chimp-n-Sea project!  This multi-pano experience sees Ugandan blogger Mark O visit the Albertine Graben region in the East African Rift Valley

Today we are travelling to the Albertine Graben region in the East African Rift Valley. I visited this area to perform an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Chinese oil giant, CNOOC, as the Rift Valley is thought to contain large amounts of natural gas and oil. To access the site I had to climb roughly 300m down the steep escarpment, or cliff, which takes about 45 minutes. It might not look that hard, but because of the heat and the climb you sweat and pant for breath going up and going down!

There a group of able bodied men who wake up every morning and come below the escarpment to work as “helpers” to carry luggage for most of the people who come to the site. I tried to descend with my back pack but I was breathing heavily and drinking lots of water. To my surprise there were young girls who also come to this place to help ferry sugarcane down the escarpment. The biggest problem is during sharing of the money given to the “helpers” as they might not agree on how much each man gets because they help lift luggage of different weights and dimensions. It was on my way back up the cliff that I made these panoramas for

At the bottom of the cliff, you can see the young men have tied up our luggage ready to ascend the escarpment as a young boy rests nearby with his sugar cane. At the base of cliff there are motor bikes (also called “boda boda” in Uganda) waiting to move travellers to their destinations in the Rift Valley, be it CNOOC’s installations, the Kingfisher oil site, local fishing villages or farm lands.

Click on the image or here to begin your tour!

– Mark O

Would you like to get more involved with vEcotourism and get sneak peeks of the latest and greatest innovations?  Become a vEconaut!  Visit the new Facebook group here for more!


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