Gunung Lesung National Park is possibly the most popular place for trekking in Sumatra. A UNESCO World Heritage site and named one of the most important ecosystems in the world, Gunung Lesung has trekking options from as little as 3 hours to as long as several days. The parks 2000 hectares is home to approximately 400 wild and semi wild orangutans as well as tigers, pythons, a variety of monkeys and other interesting wildlife.
Semi wild is the name given to those orangutans who were rehabilitated at the hands of the old Orangutan rehabilitation centre which was based in Bukit Lawang from 1973 to 2001. The centre came about when a traveller became an advocate for change after noticing a large number of orangutans being used as circus acts or cages pets. Together with the Sumatran government, a rehabilitation programme was developed and those formerly exploited primates gradually taught to forage for food in the wild and build nests. Some 200 orangutans through the programme now roam totally freely through the Gunung Leuser National Park together with their young, who are the wild orangutans.
It is illegal to trek Gunung Lesung National Park without the assistance of a guide and travellers would be foolish to attempt doing so. There are 5 patrol towers being erected to manage attempts at trekking without a guide, and fines are enforced. if this isn’t deterrent enough, there are plenty of stories of travellers attempting to trek in the Sumatra jungle without a guide who a lost for days until rescued by locals. The region is easy to become disorientated within.
For the intrepid traveller who enjoys an authentic jungle experience, with a true wildlife component, Sumatra jungle trekking in Gunung Lesung National Park cannot be missed.