Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainforest flowers from the slope of Arfak mountains

There are a lot of species of flowers in Arfak mountains if we visit a number of villages from Mokwam to Anggi areas. However, wild flowers that grow at the road side along the slopes of the mountains receive little attention from travelers. Last March, I guided 4 tourists from Czech Republic. We went there by a rent car. It's a 4WD Toyota Hilux. In the middle of our trip to Mokwam, Dr. Jaroslav asked the driver to stop for a while to let them take pictures of the slopes and ravines of the rainforest as well as the flowers and insects along the roadside. Stopping a car at a steep slope was very dangerous. We had to put big stones behind the tires to protect the car from moving down the slope unintentionally.
if you know the species name of these flowers, please contact me:

Not far from where the car stopped, I saw some flowers. One species of them is dominated by pink color. Unfortunately, I did not bring my digital camera. I walked closer to the flower plant to see its flowers. Honestly I don't know the name of this flower. So, I only name it pink flowers. I am not sure if this is an orchid. Dr. Jaroslav knew that I liked taking pictures for my blog, so, he shot some pictures of these flowers and told me that I might copy them when we had returned to Manokwari city again.
There are various species of rainforest flowers in Arfak mountains that attract the attention of many city dwellers in Manokwari. However, because the temperature in the city is hotter than the daily temperature in Arfak mountains, these flower plants will die if planted in the city.
Arfak mountains are not far from Manokwari city. I have been promoting them as a nice tourist destination in West Papua beside Raja Ampat. For birdwatchers, and trekkers, Arfak mountains with their massive tropical rainforest that are rich of bio-diversity are worth exploring. If you are interested in traveling to Arfak mountains, and need a tourist guide, please, contact me via my email I will be happy to arrange your trip and accompany you to explore the natural beauty the mountains. by Charles Roring

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beetles from Tropical Rainforest in Numfor island

The beetles that I am going to discuss here are not the types of cars that are manufactured by volkswagen but the insects that we can see in New Guinea - the second largest island in the world after Greenland. Because of its location in tropical region, New Guinea is rich in natural biodiversity Tropical Rainforest of Numfor island is rich of insects including beetles. Beetles that are common include the ones, I guess, from tricondyla aptera species. Another species of beetle that is very famous in the world is the eupholus magnificus. I personally am not an expert in the study of rainforest insects but when I see the eupholus beetle or weevil, I am amazed by the beautiful colors that it has. The insect looks like a mechanical, or robotic  plastic toy. When we look closer to the insect, we will realize that it is really an insect from the rainforest of West Papua. To see or watch it, we need to come early in the morning or before the sunset. It usually comes out from its hiding place and takes a rest on the leaves of bush plants.
Yesterday, I watched a program on DWTV - a German state television that is broadcasted throughout the world using satellites about a research in the country on the development of powerful tape that applies the principles of how a reptile called gecko sticks its feet on smooth surface such as glass window.
Another research on insects can also bring new inventions in the human world that will improve our living condition at least we can understand the roles of insects in equilibrium of rainforest ecosystem and world environment as a whole.
If you are interested in visiting Arfak mountains or Numfor island for studying tropical insects of West Papua, and if you need an interpreter or guide to help you arrange your trip and communicate with local people, please, contact me via my email:
Also read: Watching beetles in tropical rainforest

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trekking in Arfak mountains - a survey trip - part 1

I went to Warkapi village this morning. It is located at the foot of Arfak mountains, a popular trekking destination for travelers who want to see the nature and the wildlife of New Guinea island. Tropical rainforest in Arfak mountains in Manokwari regency has been a world-class trekking destination for those who have visited it. I left home at 7 a.m. to Wosi terminal. It is a bus station in Manokwari city where travelers can catch a bus to the village. I thought I was late for morning bus but as a matter of fact, I was the first passenger to arrive there. After finding a bus that was waiting for passengers who want to go to Warkapi, I got into the minibus (called taxi) and sat on the front seat next to the driver. Fifteen minutes later two women entered the taxi from the back door.
Another fifteen minutes had passed and the minibus was still empty. The women who were at the back bench now had left for another minibus that was going to Mupi village. Here I was alone waiting for some more passengers heading for Warkapi village.
I got bored waiting for thirty minutes in the Wosi terminal that was now becoming busier with people. I took my notebook out of my bag and began drawing things that I saw in a close distance around myself. The first object that I drew was a cart that belongs to an ice cream vendor. It was around five meters from me when I was drawing it. Later I could not continue drawing the details of the cart because the vendor pushed it away from me and put it in the middle of the rows of cars that were also waiting for passengers to several destinations outside Manokwari. I saw two children were buying some cones of ice cream from him. This is a traditional Indonesian ice cream. It is made of coconut milk called santan. The next object of my illustration was a Love doll.
It was a pink rabbit. Then I continued drawing another object which was a handle which passenger can hold when the bus goes on a bumpy road. It's shape like a "heart" or a love symbol.  I saw the handle in the car mirror that was located at bottom right corner of the window. the Finishing all these drawings, I found out that the car was still empty.
Suddenly the car driver of the empty bus told me that there was another car about to leave the terminal for Warkapi. He advised me to go with another minibus. It was a Mitsubishi L-300. I went into the car and sat on the back bench. We left for Warkapi at 8.51 a.m. It stopped for a while at a petrol station on Jalan Baru and then continued a one-hour trip to Warkapi. We arrived at 10.05 a.m. near a bridge. I got out of the car and met a man near the road side. I asked him whether he knew someone named Hans. Hans was in Warkapi to meet his uncle who was interested in developing his village as a starting point destination for foreign tourists who were interested in hiking or trekking in Arfak mountains. I had to walk for around 100 meters to find the house where Hans stayed. Finally I met him. Hans had a guesthouse in the territory of Kwau village far in the other part of Arfak mountains. He has received three groups of tourists coming from the Netherlands. His relatives in Warkapi want to make money from eco-tourism project that I am now promoting on the internet.
We talked for a while in his uncle's house and began surveying the nearby forest behind the village. We walked through the Warkapi river. Hans and his relative Hami said that we can see birds of paradise, tree kangaroo and other animals of Arfak mountains if we start trekking from this village. I conclude that the village can become the starting point for travelers who want to climb Arfak mountains but I need to make some discussions with his uncle first.
However, since there is no guesthouse in the village, tourists need to set up camps near the river if they want to start trekking in Arfak mountains. There are a lot of things that I need to do before the village can really become the recommended starting point for hiking and bird watching in Arfak mountains. The most important thing is how to inform or "educate" the local people about what the eco-tourism means, rainforest preservation and domestic wastes management. It is true that eco-tourism can provide alternative jobs to people living in and around the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains but tourism and travel industry must not be considered as the only solution of the preservation of the forest and wildlife in Arfak mountains. Sustainable agriculture and fishing practices should be implemented in this village too.
There are some more stories that I still want to write about this small village and its people but I think I should save them for my later posts. Finally, I left the village at around 1.30 p.m. I now can  clearly  conclude that the blue Arfak mountains that I always see from far distance in Manokwari city are actually green in closer distance because they are richly covered with tropical trees where the mystery and beauty of Papua's wildlife are waiting to be discovered by us. If you are interested in trekking in Arfak mountains and need a guide to accompany you, please, contact me via my email: I will be happy to arrange the trip and become an interpreter for you while traveling in one of the most beautiful tropical mountains in the world. by Charles Roring
Also read: 
Hiking and Birdwatching in Arfak mountains Tour Package

Monday, April 4, 2011

Senopi Village and a Jungle Walk to Aiwatar Hill

Senopi is a small village in Tambrauw mountains. It is located between Manokwari and Sorong. Although it has not been listed by Lonely Planet in its Indonesia's travel guide book, the tropical rainforest near Senopi village has got a world class birding center in Aiwatar hill where only very small number of tourists has ever visited.
The picture of male lesser bird of paradise (paradisaea minor) was taken by Wim Boyden when we were hiking in the rainforest near Aiwatar hill. 
I went there last year with two tourists from Belgium, Wim and Vicky. Guided by three local guides, we walked through the tropical rainforest of Senopi for around 5 hours to reach the hill. The species of plants that cover the rocky hill of Aiwatar are different from plants that grow in other hills and mountains outside Aiwatar. They are the same as the species of plants that we can find in the coastal area. Aiwatar is located deep in the inland area of the Tambrauw mountains. However, beach plants and flowers are not the only attraction that we can see in Aiwatar. If we walk up the slopes of the hill to reach its top, we will see warm water comes out of the ground. It is not fresh water it is salty. When I was there with Wim Boyden and Maker (our local guide), we were able to see various species of birds on the branches of the trees around the hill. The best time to watch birds on this hill is early in the morning. It means that we need to be on the hill before the birds come or before dawn. It's a hard journey but Aiwatar hill is worth visiting.  It is not only birds that you can see while hiking to Aiwatar. Perhaps, you may see wild deer, tree kangaroo, boar, wild cows, kuskus and snakes too.
If you are an adventurous person, you can go further by visiting Sekwa village. Try to meet Paul Warere, a local Papuan villager who can guide tourists in the jungle. He will accompany you to explore the rainforest and watch wildlife or see waterfall.
There are two ways to reach Senopi. The first is by car, and the second is by airplane. The cheapest is by airplane (because the ticket is subsidized by the government). Since a lot of local people choose to go by airplane, the seats for tourists may not always be available. If you are interested in visiting Senopi and trekking to Aiwatar and the surrounding rainforest of Senopi, inform your planned trips at least 3 months prior to your arrival in Manokwari city. To secure your flight seats to Kebar valley, you can contact me via my email I will try to reserve your ticket(s). If you cannot get the airplane ticket(s), the cost that you will spend for paying a rent car will be very expensive. by Charles Roring

Also read:
  • Palm cockatoo in Senopi forest
  • Birding center in Aiwatar hill of Senopi village