Meet our team and partners
Sumatra Orangutan Discovery are a small friendly team of hand-picked local guides and staff. Managed by Tyson Sitepu and his wife Ellie, they are a down to earth team that work to make you feel like part of the family.
We believe in community-based-tourism; responsible tourism that benefits the local residents and improves livelihoods. We have partnered with local guides, farmers and artists in Bukit Lawang and around Sumatra to support their projects and businesses. We practice ethical trekking, using only certified guides who follow the jungle guidelines set by the Indonesia Tourist Guides Association (ITGA-HPI). All profits raised remain in Bukit Lawang and go back into the community.
Tyson spent his life exploring the outdoors and has a deep connection to the jungle and all the animals within it. He has spent many years working in the tourist industry and as a jungle guide. He organises the logistics of the trekking and tours and acts as the trekking guide and local expert.
Alif works as our chef and caretaker. He is affectionately named "camp mum" by many guests because of how he takes such wonderful care of everyone at camp and cooks the most delicious food!
Ruddy grew up in the rural village of Batu Katak. He is our flora specialist and works as our guide for off the beaten track trekking. He has a deep undertanding of the Rafflesia, the world's biggest flower, and has supported research projects to understand more about Sumatra's unique flora.
Levi is our Mentawai island partner. He works to help support and preserve the Mentawai tribe traditions and culture. He is our tribal expert, and works as our guide and organiser for tours.
Ellie is the co-founder of the agency, working along side her husband Tyson.
She is an experienced backpacker and traveler, having lived in 5 countries while working as a teacher and traveled to over 26 countries.
She has a life-long passion in conservation and ecology.
Nordic Educators is a network of entrepreneurs and educators around the world. Their mission is to discover why the Nordic education system is so successful. Then to share their finding globally.
Sumatra Orangutan Discovery is proud to partner with such a progressive educational company.
Ladi works as our jungle assistant. He is very kind and patient and always takes extra care of the guests in the jungle. Ladi is still learning English, but has shown incredible progress! He dreams to one day be a lead guide in the jungle, so we hope to make his dream come true.
Teger or 'Tiger', works as our tour driver and assistant guide. He has an extensive knowledge of North of Sumatra, and knows all the hidden gems! He is now working hard to become a lead guide to be able to run jungle expeditions.
Ainee is a local entrepreneur. She not only runs her own homestay, Rumah Papa Homestay, but also offers a variety of eco-concious activities. She is incredibly passionate about sustainability and community tourism.
Ponidi works as one of our lead guides. He is enthusiastic, friendly and very knowledgeable. He is passionate about the jungle environment and really enjoys helping his guests get the most out of their holiday.
The Sahnan family run a wonderful guesthouse in the centre of Bukit Lawang, situated next to the Bohorok river. The father is very active in the community and works with the jungle caretakers to ensure the campsites are well maintained and all rubbish is properly collected and returned to town to be disposed of. We support theur guesthouse and his continual hardwork to care for the rainforest.
Irma is a enterprising young woman living in Bukit Lawang. She is a trained masseuse and often provides massage for our guests after their long trek in the jungle. She hopes one day to open her own spa, and we support her in this venture.