Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hiking trip in rainforest of Senopi

Hiking trip through a pristine tropical rainforest is what a lot of travelers want to enjoy. As a hiking tour organizer, I have guided a lot of hikers on various hiking trips in the bird's head region of Irian Jaya. There is a place called Aiwatar in Senopi, a small village or district in Tambrauw regency of West Papua. It is a nice destination for travelers who want to go hiking along the tropical rainforest of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. Aiwatar hill is also one of the best birding destinations in West Papua. The hiking trip in District Senopi should be prepared at least one month in advance to check for the transportation, accommodation and weather condition. Aiwatar is a hill in the interior of bird's head region of West Papua where most of the plants that grow there are the same as the plants that are found in coastal region.
In addition to this uniqueness, Aiwatar is also the best birdwatching spot for hikers who want to see various species of birds that are endemic to New Guinea including the Western Crown Pigeon and the Lesser Birds of Paradise.
For the hiking trip in District Senopi, backpackers or hikers need to prepare waterproof tents, hiking boots and food. Bring a waterproof GPS device or hiking watch if you have one. If you don't have such device, try to order it from Amazon online store.
After receiving your GPS device, try to use it several times in your country until you know all its features. Because the temperature in the tropical region is quite warm, hikers need to bring tents that have got windows to allow air to circulate naturally.
The Aiwatar hill can be reached within 5 to 6 hours walking from District Senopi depending on the physical condition of the hikers. Food such as bread and biscuits can be bought from supermarkets in Manokwari city. Cassava, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables are available in District Senopi. I recommend that travelers buy local produce from the villagers in Senopi to support the local economy. For serious birders, they need to bring extra batteries for their telephoto, and video cameras. Hire one or several villagers as guide and porters to show you the way to Aiwatar hill and to carry your heavy backpacks.
To get to Senopi, you need to fly to Manokwari city from Jakarta or Denpasar Bali, and then continue your trip by a chartered 4WD pick up truck to Senopi. If going by a rent truck is expensive for you, you can fly by Susi Air to Kebar. And then you can continue your trip backpacking or by truck to Senopi.
There is a guesthouse in Senopi. It is located across from Pastoran Katolik (Priest house) of Senopi.
If you contact me before your arrival in Manokwari, I can arrange the pick up truck for you and contact the priest in Senopi by SSB radio so that he will prepare the guesthouse for you. Unless you have tons of money in the bank, traveling alone is not recommended. You need to go to Senopi in a group of at least two people or more to enjoy your hiking tour in Senopi in a shared cost. If you need more information about hiking tours in Manokwari, please, read my other articles in this blog, or contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Related article:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hiking tour from Mokwam to Anggi Lakes

The mountain range of Arfak is a great hiking tour destination. There are three hikers from Poland who are now hiking through the Arfak mountains from Mokwam village to Anggi Lakes and then down to District Ransiki. The terrains in Arfak mountains are quite demanding and often muddy due to high rainfall.
The Polish backpackers contacted me a few days ago asking whether I could arrange a 4WD car to transport them from Manokwari city to Mokwam region. After making a few phone conversations with car driver in Wosi area of Manokwari city and guesthouse owner in Kwau village, finally, I could send a green light signal to the Polish travelers that they could go to the mountains early the next morning.
They spent 2 nights in Kwau village where they enjoyed their hiking tour and birdwatching. Kwau is a small village in Mokwam region of Arfak mountains that has been listed in my eco-tourism program for tourists who want to watch the magnificent birds of paradise, the western parotia, the vogelkop bower bird.
The main goal of the ecotourism program is to empower the indigenous Papuan people so that they can economically improve their standards of living and at the same time preserve their natural environment. New Guinea is the largest tropical island in the world. Much of its territory is still covered by tropical rainforest. Yet, the rate of deforestation, particularly in West Papua province is high. Large areas of flat land in Prafi and Masni are being cleared for logging industry and palm oil plantation. The hiking tour packages that we provide to tourists will provide jobs to the indigenous Papuan people so that they will get economic benefits from their pristine rainforest and the wealth of bio-diversity in their natural surroundings without having to destroy them.
All travelers who want to go hiking or trekking through Arfak mountains must prepare enough warm cloth and food. Normally, it takes 2 days from Kwau to Anggi lakes but hikers with good physical condition and better preparation can do it in just one day walking from morning to evening.
Don't forget to bring matches, and if necessary some kerosene. Head light is also recommended but the most important thing is the food and warm clothing. Water proof sleeping bag and tents are needed especially when you have to sleep in outdoor environment by a river or in the forest.
Vegetables, sweet potatoes and fruits can be purchased from the local villages along the road from Kwau village to Anggi Lakes. Tourists must bring small bank notes for that purpose. The hiking trip from Anggi lakes to Ransiki is a down hill walk and can be accomplished in one whole day walking.
For safety reason, don't walk alone. You need to walk in a group of at least two persons (more is better) accompanied by 1 local guide/ interpreter.
Recommended Hiking Tent
Most often, hikers need to take a rest a places where there are no local villagers around. In other words, hikers need to spend one or two nights camping in the jungle. The wet climate of the tropical rainforest in West Papua will be a challenging experience for most of the hikers particularly during the rainy days. When it rains, the ground can be muddy. So, hikers need tent that is water resistant, and big enough to accommodate several people inside it. In addition, it will not soaked in muddy soil when the rain comes. As a tour guide, I recommend the following tent which you can buy it online by clicking the image of the tent. This hiking tent will keep hikers dry and away from snakes and bugs.

If you are interested in taking a hiking tour in Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency, please, contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hiking Tour in the higland forest of Arfak mountains

The mountain range of Arfak has been a hiking and bird watching tour destination for tens of years. Ornitologists go there to see various species of the birds of paradise that live in the tropical rainforest of the mountains. Arfak is also the natural habitats of birdwing butterfly - one of the largest butterflies in the world.
How to get there?
To go to Arfak mountains, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia) or Bali (a tourist hub in Asia). After that you can take a domestic flight served by Express Air, Sriwijaya Air, or Batavia Air to Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province. From this city, you need to rent a car to bring you to Arfak.
There are some hotels in the city. But I recommend that you stay in Swiss-Belhotel or Mansinam Beach Hotel. If you travel on a limited budget, you can stay at Losmen Kagum.
Preparation Prior to Your Hiking Trip
Before you go hiking in Arfak mountains, you need to make some preparations such as getting the "surat jalan" (walking permit) from the police station, buying foods at the supermarket and traditional market of Sanggeng or Wosi and contact local guide, if you do not have hiking gear (such as backpack, boots - I recommend vasque breeze or vasque vista ultra dry, sleeping bags, head lamps and mosquito net). You can buy them in the city. I, as a hiking tour guide, know several places that sell such equipment in affordable prices.
Going to Arfak mountains by a 4WD pick up truck
When you are ready with your hiking gear, you can now begin your trip to the mountains. If you travel with me, I will contact my coleague who has a 4WD pick up truck. It is a Toyota Hilux G series. The truck is powerful in climbing the steep slopes of the Arfak mountains.
With that car, we will stop for a while at the supermarket of Orchid or Hadi to buy some noodles, rice, coffee and milk and other food stuff. If you need fresh vegetables, fish or meat, we can go to the traditional market of Sanggeng or Wosi to buy them. I know how to preserve the fresh fish when hiking in the mountains. I learned it from the indigenous Papuan people who live in Kwau village. To preserve the fish, I need to boil it in a cooking pan and after that put it into a string bag. Then, the bag will be hanged above the fire to preserve it for a few days or even a few weeks.
Hiking Tour Destination
There are three destinations for hiking tours in Arfak mountains that I promote,i.e. Kwau, Syioubri and Anggi. The most popular one is Kwau. Before leaving the city of Manokwari, I usually call my friend in Kwau village to prepare some porters who will carry our food and backpacks to a guesthouse located in the middle of the forest. Car cannot reach the tourist house because there is no road leading to it. So, we will stop at certain place in the jungle before continuing our trip by walking through the jungle. It takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour walking from the main road to the guesthouse. It is a basic accommodation facility for hikers. There are plates, cooking and eating utensils and water. Three rooms can be used by hikers.
Watching the Birds of Paradise
When we have arrived, we need to take a rest for a while, drinking some tea and eating some bread. At 2 p.m. we can begin our hiking tour around the tropical rainforest to watch the magnificent birds of paradise (cincinnurus magnificus). If we are lucky, we will be able to see male magnificent birds of paradise display his beautiful plume to several female ones as his way of attracting them. The terrains in the highland of Arfak are quite steep. You need to wear a pair of hiking footwear that are light but durable enough for walking along the steep and muddy path. We will walk back to the guesthouse again at around 5.30.
The next morning, we have to wake up early at around 4.30 to have some breakfast and make preparation before continuing or hiking trip to watch western parotia. Before dawn we will leave our guesthouse. This is a unique bird that perform his courtship dance like Michael Jackson. You need to be patient if you don't want to miss the natural dance performance. Most often hikers have to sit inside a blind (birdwatching hut) for several hours to wait for the birds to come. You can listen to music (use headphones) or read e-books (from the screen of your cellphone). Don't forget to turn off the flash feature of your camera and if possible carry a tripod with you to make high quality photographs and videos. some extra batteries are also needed if you want to spend several nights in the mountains. Another hiking tour attraction in Arfak mountains is a village tour where we can see the indigenous Papuan people in their daily activities.
The mountain range of Arfak is not crowded with tourists so, don't expect to see hundreds of travelers when you visit it. You may see some European hikers there particularly during holiday seasons.
Going back to Manokwari
When the whole hiking trips have been completed (usually in 3 days/ 2 nights), we will go back to Manokwari by the same pick up truck. You may feel exhausted after walking for several days in the mountains and I recommend that you stay in the city to relax or one or two days. I can arrange a massage service for you so that you have the tensions and stress in your muscles released. Your vacation in Manokwari can be extended to another hiking tour in the lowland rainforest or a snorkeling trip in one of the islands near Manokwari. I can arrange it for you. Some travelers ask me to bring them to Ransiki, and Oransbari. If you are interested in hiking in Arfak mountains, contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to arrange your trip in Manokwari. by Charles Roring
Related article: Hiking tours in the rainforest of Arfak mountains

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

6 Hiking Tour Destinations in the Bird's Head Region of West Papua

The bird's head (vogelkop) region of West Papua have got a number of destinations for hikers who want to explore the mountains, the rainforest and the coastal areas of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. Here are some hiking tour destinations that travelers can choose to explore:
Trail 1. Prafi - Mokwam - Minyambouw - Anggi - Ransiki (a walk through the Arfak mountains)
This is the longest trail which you, as hikers, can explore while walking up the Arfak mountains. The whole route can be finished in 4 to 6 days depending on how tough you are. Carry big backpack complete with food and tent along the way. When you have arrived in Anggi, you will be able to see the magnificent view of 2 lakes. The next pathway after the lakes will be down the hills of Arfak mountains to District Ransiki. I don't recommend traveling alone. Hikers need to travel in a group of at least 2 people. It's very cold at night in Anggi lakes, so, don't forget to wear several layers of cloth or thick jacket.
Trail 2. Mountains and slopes in the Mokwam region of Arfak mountains
There are two villages in Mokwam area that have been promoted to tourists as hiking destination, Syioubri and Kwau. There are local guides that can accompany you during your day-trips in the hills and ravines of the Arfak mountains. Hikers will be able to watch magnificent birds of paradise, western parotia, bower bird and various species of butterflies there. Tourists do not have to bring tents because there are guesthouses available in Kwau and Syioubri.
Trail 3. Lowland Rainforest of Warmarway
Although Warmarway as a hiking destination is considered as lowland rainforest, the terrains in this area are not flat. To reach the camping ground, travelers need to climb steep slopes for around 1 hour. Some Papuan villagers in Warmarway have built tents as basic accommodation for tourists who want to explore the Arfak mountains by walking through dense tropical rainforest. Food, cooking gear have to be brought from Manokwari city if you want to stay for several nights in the jungle.
Early in the morning, after walking for around 45 minutes, hikers can watch the Lesser Birds of Paradise (paradisaea minor) dancing on the branches of a tall tree at the edge of a steep slope. For night walk, Yunus Sayori - a local guide who accompanies tourists will imitate the sounds of a female cuscus (a nocturnal marsupial animal) - that is still in the same family as tree kangaroo - to attract a male cuscus to come closer to you so that you will be able to take picture of him. Yunus Sayori can be contacted by cell phone through this number: 081343316087. You need an interpreter who speaks Indonesian language if you want to talk to him.

Trail 4. The lowland Rainforest of Inggramui
I have written several articles about hiking tour in Inggramui forest. You can read them in this blog.
Trail 5. Hiking tour in the North Coast of Manokwari
Asai is a village in the northern coast of Manokwari regency. There is a river that that has been promoted as a hiking trail for hikers who want to enjoy walking along the Asai river while at the same time exploring the rainforest. Birds such as blyth's hornbill, sulphur crested cockatoo and sand piper are the common bird species which travelers will be able to see while walking in the Asai forest.
Trail 6. The Botak Mountain of Ransiki
This is a great place for travelers who want to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Cendrawasih bay. Travelers can walk in the morning from the Botak mountain to District Ransiki. The hiking trip in this area is highly recommended for anybody who wants to meet Papuan villagers along the way and have some nice conversations with them.
There are still more hiking trails that I haven't put in this list that are also good to be explored. I will write about them in my next post. 
If you are interested in taking wildlife tour in Sausapor, Klabili, Sorong city, Raja Ampat, as well as Minahasa highland in North Sulawesi Province of Indonesia, and need a guide like me, please, send a message to my email: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.
Also read:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hiking tours in Inggramui forest

As a new hiking destination, Inggramui forest is the natural habitat of various species of animals that are endemic to New Guinea island. Last October I conducted a tour for two Dutch tourists, Sandra and her father, to the area which lasted for 4 days/3 nights. It was really an amazing adventure for her because she was able to watch tens of blyth's hornbills (Rhyticeros Plycatus) flying back to their sleeping trees after sunset. I and the local Papuan guides who work together in developing the hiking tour program in this Inggramui forest built a small camp as a basic accommodation for tourists.
We don't use RV or recreational vehicles because such vehicles do not exist in Manokwari. This campsite is located near a river. This is an important place for watching birds, soa-soa (giant lizards) and snakes. Two days before our arrival, the Papuan guides had gone into the forest to set some animal traps. When we came, the traps got some animals such as soa-soa, fruit dove and deer. They were released after I and Sandra took pictures of them. The deer had died when the hunters found it so they cut its meat in pieces and brought them back to our camp. The next morning we were able to eat some noodle soup with chips of deer meat. The low elevation forest in Inggramui is rich in orchid flowers such as dendrobium and other tropical flowers that grow in high trees.
The Inggramui forest is a perfect destination for multiple day hiking trips. I don't recommend it for one day hiking trip because it is very far from Manokwari city. And also because there are a lot of things that you can see and do there.
The above glory vine (faradaya splendida) flower plant grows near the bank of a river around 300 meters from our base camp. Its flowers are fragrant and abundant. Because I saw it near the river, it must need a lot of water to grow.
Hikers who want to experience living in the middle of a tropical jungle should try visiting it.  The terrains are not steep in general although there are some slopes that are quite demanding to hike. Visitors do not need to bring their own tents if they want to go hiking in Inggramui forest of Manokwari. Things that they need to bring are food, sleeping bag, mosquito net and photographic equipment. A set of GPS and compass devices are also good if you want to find out where you are on the map while walking in the middle of no where. Raincoat is also needed especially during the rainy season. Hikers need durable footwear or hiking shoes that are resistant to water.
If you need a guided hiking tour in Inggramui forest of Manokwari regency, please, email at: charlesroring@gmail.com
Also read:
Hiking tours in the rainforest of Arfak mountains
Hiking and birdwatching in Arfak mountains

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hiking tour in the north coast of Manokwari

Hiking and birdwatching in Arfak mountains are two popular eco-tourism activities that tourists like to enjoy while traveling to Manokwari. As a matter of fact, there are other destinations that I offer to tourists who like hiking. One of them is the north coast of Manokwari. There are two hiking tour routes in the north coast of Manokwari that I have developed and promoted to visitors. The first one is in Asai and the second one is in Inggramui. The hiking track in Asai is more moderate for jungle explorer because it is located along a river and can be covered in one or two days hiking. Inggramui forest is more suitable for multiple day hiking. Both routes are unique and beautiful. As a hiking guide who have accompanied a lot of tourists, I highly recommend Inggramui forest due to its isolated location and abundance of wildlife. Last year I guided two Dutch travelers on a 4 day/ 3 night hiking tour in the tropical rainforest of Inggramui. This tour had been prepared for them two months earlier. During the jungle walks in Inggramui, we were able to see a lot of hornbills, sulphur crested cockatoo, fruit dove, two big soa-soa (giant lizards whose overall lengths were between 1.6 to 2 meters) and colorful orchids.
To make pictures of the birds in high trees, you will need a photo camera with telephoto or super zoom capability. If you don't have one, you can buy a Nikon Coolpix P510. It has got 42 x optical zoom (which is equivalent to 1,000 mm in 35 mm lens format) can easily magnify tiny subject such as the birds of paradise in tall trees. Nikon Coolpix P510 is a compact point and shoot camera that is suitable to hikers. It can produce images with 16.1 MP picture quality. This affordable camera will be available on the shelves of camera stores in March 2012.
The tropical rainforest of Inggramui, located in the northern area of Manokwari regency, is unknown to tourists because it is a new hiking destination in Manokwari. I highly recommend this forest as hiking tour destination to tourists to support my program in converting local hunters to become hiking guides so that the ecosystem of the Inggramui forest can be preserved for future generations of Papuan people.
Travelers who take hiking tour in Asai can also enjoy snorkeling on the second day of their trip in the northern coast of Manokwari particularly between May and October. The coral reef along the shore of Asai and Kaki island are worth snorkeling. Most tourists bring their own hiking shoes or camping boots when going to West Papua but I suggest that they buy a pair of jungle boots in Manokwari city for a price that is less than 7 Euro. The jungle boots are made of rubber and are more durable for walking in the river. If your feet size is larger than 42 (which is the maximum size of boots that are sold in Manokwari), you need to buy boots in your country. Or you can buy them through an online store. Please, try the following hiking boots by clicking on the picture below:

In addition to wearing hiking shoes or jungle boots and t-shirts, tourists need to apply insect repellent lotion all over their exposed skins to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Such lotion is sold in most of the shops in Manokwari. Mosquito net is also needed if they want to stay for several nights in the forest. I can provide mosquito net. You need a high quality waterproof backpack for hiking through the north coast of Manokwari. If you haven't got one, I recommend that you buy it from your local backpacking supply store. Or you can buy the following backpack from online store if you click on the image.
Because tours to the rainforest of Asai and Inggramui have been part of my eco-tourism program, transportation, local guides, and campsites (including tents) have been prepared for receiving tourists. Please, contact me via my email peace4wp@gmail.com or call me or send whatsapp message via my cell phone +62081332245180 if you are interested in hiking in Manokwari. by Charles Roring
Also read: Go hiking in the Table Mountain

Hiking tours in the rainforest of Arfak mountains of Manokwari

Hiking and camping tour
in the jungle of Arfak mountains

I have been guiding tourists on a lot of hiking tours in Arfak mountains since 2010. There are several destinations that I provide to tourists. The most popular location is in the jungle of Mount Mabowi, It is located in the lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. The hiking trips that have been developed are integrated with one or two hours birdwatching activities where travelers can watch endemic bird and butterfly species from the vogelkop region of New Guinea island. Four important bird species in high elevation forest of Arfak mountains are the magnificent bird of paradise, the bower bird and the western parotia and the owlet night jar. In low elevation rainforest of Arfak mountains and the northern coast of Manokwari, travelers can watch hornbills, cockatoo, and the lesser birds of paradise.
Other interesting destinations in the bird's head region are Klasow valley and Tambrauw mountains.
Our basecamp in the jungle of Mount Mabowi
of Arfak Mountains
There is a base-camp located in the middle of the jungle where hikers can stay for two or three nights while doing the hiking tours along the slopes and ravines of the Arfak mountains. Because the accommodation facilities are in basic condition, travelers are advised to bring their own sleeping bag. During the hiking tours, all travelers have to be guided by at least 2 people (an indigenous Papuan as local guide, and an interpreter - which is usually me). In addition to the sleeping bag, travelers need to bring extra batteries for their own camera, and watertight bags to keep their electronic devices during rainy days. Trekking shoes, t-shirts, and raincoats are needed for your journey through the tropical rainforest of New Guinea.
Travelers from Germany, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and many other countries from around world have come to Manokwari city and enjoyed hiking tours with me. If you are a single traveler, you can take hiking tour with me to all of the destinations that I have promoted in this blog. As a guide for bird/ wildlife watching, hiking and camping tours in Manokwari, I could guide single traveler who wants to visit Arfak mountains in Manokwari or other parts in West Papua. I will adjust or adapt the trips that are more suitable for his or her budget. You need to be physically fit for taking this hiking tour package. Usually after joining the 3 or 5 day hiking tour in Arfak mountains, hiker will feel very exhausted and pains all over the body. Sometimes, visitors asks me to arrange massage service to sooth the muscle pains or tensions. I could arrange it too.
In addition to hiking or trekking along the steep slopes of Arfak mountains or moderate terrains in the north coast of Manokwari, other interesting ecotourism activities that tourists can enjoy in West Papua and its surrounding region are swimming, snorkeling and wave surfing (don't forget to bring your own gears).
Since the main goal of this ecotourism project is to empower the indigenous Papuan people, I will always try to hire local people as local guide, porter, or cook during the tour program that you take with me. All of the rainforest hiking tour packages in Arfak mountains, Tambrauw mountains and Klasow valley in Sorong regency or even the forest of Fish Lagoon in Raja Ampat islands have been developed in cooperation with the indigenous Papuan people who live in the area. For further information about hiking tour in Arfak mountains, the north coast of Manokwari and Numfor island, Tambrauw mountains and Sorong regency, please, email me at peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message/ whatsapp message to +6281332245180
Also read: Hiking and birdwatching in Arfak mountains