Is Biosphere Expeditions the most decorated volunteer organisation on the planet?

We reckon this must be so. Just look at the list of awards & accolades below!

Let us know if you know of another volunteer non-profit with that many awards.



Biosphere Expeditions has won the following awards (our definition of “award” is a process that requires an entry via an application form and where a winner is chosen on a competitive basis by a judging panel).


World Travel and Tourism Council

World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism For Tomorrow Awards: Finalist in the “Environment” category (international award scheme)  


First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards

First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards: Winner of the “Best Volunteering Organisation” award (international award scheme based in the UK)  


Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards

Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards: Winner of the category “Countryside and wildlife” (international award scheme)


  UIAA Mountain Protection Award

UIAA Mountain Protection Award: Winner of the category “Best Initiative” (international award scheme)  

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards: Highly commended in the categories “Best for Protection of Endangered Species” and “Best Volunteering Organisation” (international award scheme based in the UK)  



EcoTrophea: Finalist in the category “environmental protection and social responsibility in tourism” (international award scheme based in Germany)  


Reef Check

Reef Check Awards: Our executive director is made a “Hero of the Reef” for services to coral reef conservation worldwide (international award scheme based in the USA)  



Best Volunteering Holidays Award: Award by (international award scheme based in the USA)  



Future 50 Award: Our Executive Director, Dr. Matthias Hammer, is named in the Future 50 class of “ones to watch” (UK award scheme based in Norfolk)  



Best Practice and Environmental Excellence Award: From Greenstop.Net, who assess eco-friendly practices and responsible tourism (international award scheme based in the UK)  


SealSkinz Extreme Award

SealSkinz X-treme Award: Winner (UK award scheme)  



Website Award from the publishers of the Encyclopedia Britannica  



Biosphere Expeditions has also won the following accolades (our definition of “accolade” is a listing, usually through an editorial process, which does not require an application).


National Geographic

National Geographic “100 places that will change your life” accolade for Costa Rica expedition; National Geographic Adventurer “Best New Trip” accolade for Slovakia expedition.


BBC Wildlife

“Top Wildlife Conservation Holiday” for Sumatra expedition; “Top Ten Conservation Holiday” for Altai expedition.


Conde Nast Gold List

Our Tien Shan expedition is honoured on Condé Nast Traveller’s “Gold List” of “the world’s most extraordinary travel experiences”


Condé Nast

Our Armenia expedition is honoured on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of “Ten of the world’s most admirable voluntourism trips that will actually make a difference”


Travel + Leisure

“Best Adventure Outfitter” and “Best Save-the-Earth Trip” listings


Wall Street Journal

“Best Volunteer Travel” for Namibia expedition



“Unforgettable Travel Adventure (Unvergessliches Reiseabenteuer)” for taster days and Honduras expedition

“Top Responsible Holiday” for Amazonia expedition


Travel with a mate

“Best Volunteer Dive Organisation” (international online magazine)



Biosphere Expeditions makes it on “The Go List” for “novel vacations”; “Trip of the Year” for Maldives expedition


Endless Vacation

“Best Trip that Offers a Way Back” for Malaysia expedition



“Great Humanitarian Travel Option” for Amazonia expedition



“Top 25 Wildlife Conservation Blogs” for our blog


Get Lost!

“30 Great Escapes / Best Adventure Trips on the Planet” for Slovakia expedition; “Top Trips: Great small group adventure across the globe” for Arabia expedition.


The Independent

“Best Holiday for Green-Minded Travellers” for experience days; “Top Ten Outdoor Pursuits” for Altai & Azores expeditions; “Best Desert Adventure Holiday” for Arabia expedition; “Best Activity and Adventure Break” for Musandam expedition; “Best Volunteer Career Break” for Brazil expedition; “Best for the Wild at Heart” for Slovakia expedition.

“Life-changing volunteering trip” for Tien Shan expedition


The Guardian

“Ten Best Wildlife Volunteering Holidays” for Oman expedition; “Ten Best Wildlife Holidays in Europe” for Azores expedition.



“Most satisfying trip of the year” for Altai expedition



“Top Holiday For Nature” listing in the category “Where can I do something for nature during my holidays?” (Wo kann man im Urlaub etwas für die Natur tun?)



“The 50 greatest wildlife holidays on Earth” for South Africa expedition; “Twenty of the world’s greatest adventures” for Brazil expedition; “50 amazing wildlife adventures” for Musandam expedition; “Top 10 rare wildlife encounters” for Azores expedition


Business Insider

“Best Volunteer Vacation” for Namibia expedition


World Travel Guide

“Ethical experience” for Sumatra expedition, “10 of the best conservation holidays” for Slovakia and Malaysia expeditions


de Volkskrant

“Top Ten Ethical Operators” listing for Biosphere Expeditions


The National

 “World’s most interesting (and conservation-focused) wildlife trips” listing for Arabia expedition



“Top Rated Noprofit” listing for Biosphere Expeditions by


Dear prospective Sumatra expeditioners

During my recent visit to the island, Dr. Marcelo Mazzolli, our big cat expert, and I put most of the finishing touches to what we hope will be our next expedition launch. We were kindly hosted by Wishnu and Febri from our local partner WWF Indonesia.


Febri will be the scientist for the expedition and is looking forward to it all, albeit with some trepidation of being overwhelmed by foreigners 😉

Pekanbaru, our assembly point city, certainly has zero foreigners in it. Marcelo and I were treated like celebrities with frequent requests for photos. The further away from Pekanbaru we travelled, the more frequent they became, especially at the hospitals and medical posts we inspected for our medical umbrella plan. Full of smiling and laughing nurses, they looked like good places to have a twisted ankle treated in. In the field, WWF’s Subayang field station is certainly a beautiful place


as is the expedition study site of Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve

and the gibbon wake-up calls in the morning are even better

The biggest change to what was quoted on the website so far is the dates. We have to work around Ramadan, when Febri has to fast during the day and therefore cannot be in full action in the field. Our new prospective dates are 2 – 15 May | 17 – 29 May | 31 May – 12 June || 26 July – 7 August | 9 – 21 August | 23 August – 4 September. These may yet shift by a week or so and we should know the final dates this month. When we do, we will send around the expedition briefing to the waiting list (which now has over 150 people on it). Once this is done, we just need to wait for the final ok from WWF head office in Jakarta and their signature on the dotted line of our collaboration agreement. Once we have this, we will launch the expedition hopefully sometime in June. Once launched (first to the waiting list for a few days before going fully public), places will be awarded on a first-deposit-first-served basis. We cannot accept deposits/reservations until then, but if the experiences of other launches are anything to go by, then we should be able to accommodate everyone on the waiting list on their preferred dates.

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Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director

Continue reading “Dear prospective Sumatra expeditioners”

Friends get-together at WWT Wetland Centre in London

We couldn’t have picked better weather, making our time outdoors exploring the wetlands even more enjoyable! The day started at 10:30 where we all met and introduced ourselves, often talking about which expeditions we’d been on with Biosphere Expeditions and when we hoped our next one would be.

At 11: 00 we watched the Asian short-clawed otters get fed, they keep a male and a female and are hoping to breed them. This is always very entertaining, particularly for the children that came along. We also heard a talk by one of the keepers about their feeding habits, distribution in Asia and breeding cycles.

From there, a volunteer ranger talked us through a map of the wetlands, its history and some key species that we could potentially see, which was all great to learn about! We did a 1 1/2 hour guided tour, stopping at points of interest and regularly keeping an eye out for the wildlife that was there. Particular highlights were the peacock tower with many viewing areas on different levels, the bat house and learning about the environmental sustainability of the centre.

After enjoying the wetlands under the sun and a good walk and talk, it was definitely time for lunch. Most of us headed over to The Red Lion pub (highly recommended!) for a bite to eat and to continue catching up with old friends and making new ones! Keep an eye out for the next planned event with the Friends of Biosphere Expeditions, which will be happening soon!

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More accolades!

Our Malaysia coral reef conservation expedition ( has been honoured on Endless Vacation’s “Best Trips that Offer a Way Back” list.

Our Namibia big cat conservation expedition ( has been honoured in Business Insider’s “Best Volunteer Vacations” list.

2012 Biosphere Expeditions magazine now out!

Our 2012 Magazine is now online at

The Magazine is on a marine theme with articles from the Azores, Malaysia, Oman, Western    Australia.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Highlights of the magazine include:

Overview of all our projects and expeditions around the globe > pages 6/7

Ten tips on how to tell the good from the bad from the downright ugly in this expanding & now treacherous market of volunteering > 40-43

Capacity-building and educational work around the world > 36-39

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