Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rainforest of Aiwatar Hill in District Senopi The Best Birding Destination in West Papua

I have traveled to many places in the bird's head region of New Guinea on various hiking and birding trips but the only place that I really admire for its abundance of birdlife is the Aiwatar Hill in District Senopi of Tambrauw Mountains.
When I was traveling with two European tourists in Senopi, I saw various species of birds such as the lesser bird of paradise (paradisaea minor), Blyth's hornbill (rhyticeros plicatus), yellow faced mina (mino dumontii), various fruit doves, goliath cockatoo (probosciger aterimus), great cuckoo dove (macropygia nigrirostris), rainbow lorikeet, and some other birds that I could not identify. The best way to watch birds in Aiwatar hill is by setting up a campsite at the foot of the hill. At dawn, you need to walk up the slopes of the hill to reach it before sunrise. When the sun light hits the tree tops and the ground of the hill, birds will begin to land on the ground to drink the warm salty water that springs out of the sharp porous rocks. Don't forget to bring extra batteries for your camera because you will have endless subjects to shoot. Bring your sleeping bag and tent if you want to stay for several days in Aiwatar.
During the hiking and rainforest tour in Senopi, I also saw snake, deers, cow and kangaroo. I consider my trip to Aiwatar hill of District Senopi as my best birding trip so far in my life. I have been to Arfak mountains, Numfor island, the Northern Coast of Manokwari, Bintuni and Kais river in the south of the bird's head region of New Guinea for exploring their tropical rainforests but I still consider Aiwater Hill of District Senopi as the richest place in terms of birdlife.
So, if you are interested in visiting Senopi for hiking, butterfly and birdwatching, you can contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com for detailed cost estimation and my guiding services.
Located between Sorong and Manokwari regencies, District Senopi is can be reached by car and airplane. The cheapest way to go to Senopi is by airplane. First, you need to fly with Susi Air from Manokwari to District Kebar before continuing your trip by car to Senopi. However, if you are traveling in a group of tree or four people with heavy camping gear and optical devices for hiking and watching birds, you can share the cost of the car transportation and accommodation during the trip. by Charles Roring
Also read:
  • Hiking trip in the rainforest of Senopi
  • Senopi village and a jungle walk to Aiwatar hill
  • Birding in Aiwatar hill of Senopi
  • Palm Cockatoo in Senopi forest

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rainforest Tour in Kais Village of West Papua

Rainforest tour is a kind of tour that is conducted inside a rainforest. As a complex environment, a rainforest is the natural habitat of various species of animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Trees that can be seen in the forest are more diverse and have got trunks whose diameters are bigger than 1 meter. The rainforest tour that I promote in this blog is aimed at providing alternative tourism scheme to travelers and at the same time promote the conservation of this precious environment.
The Lowland Rainforest of District Kais
I went to District Kais early this month for a 2-day tour in its lowland rainforest. I visited Kais as part of my survey trips in the bird's head region of West Papua for developing and promoting ecotourism. Kais administratively is under South Sorong regency whose capital is Teminabuan. The regency is a neighbor of Raja Ampat - a world class diving destination.
The southern land of New Guinea is more flat and swampy with sago and nipa palm trees grow along the banks of its rivers. Mangrove trees grow in the coastal area. The vegetation that I saw in the dry land of Kais was unique compared to other parts of the bird's head region of West Papua province.
However, one thing that attracted me the most is the abundance of birdlife in Kais' rainforest. During a short tour through a small tributary river of Kais, I was able to see various species of birds including the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), Blyth's hornbill (Rythiceros plicatus), Pinon Imperial Pigeon (Ducula pinon) fruit doves, lorry, eagles, drongos, kingfisher and bats.

How to get there?
  • First you need to fly from your country to Indonesia. Jakarta is the capital of the state but Denpasar is the most popular tourist hub. 
  • From these cities, take one of the domestic flights served by Batavia Air, Express Air, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air or Merpati Air to Sorong city. You will need to stay for around 1 or 2 days in Sorong to get a Surat Jalan (Travel Permit) from the local police station and buy some food and gasoline. 
  • Then you need to go to Teminabuan - a small town in South Sorong regency by car. 
  • Before continuing your trip by a motorized outrigger boat to Kais village, make sure that you have got at least 120 liters of gasoline. The boat trip itself is a nice river tour that you will enjoy very much. The cost of this rainforest tour depends on how many days you want to explore the forest and how many of you who will take this tour. I can calculate it for you. So, if you are interested in taking this tour, please, contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will arrange your accommodation and transportation as well as contacting local people in Sorong, Teminabuan and Kais to support your birwatching trip to one of the most beautiful tropical rainforests in the world. I will also work as your guide, translating conversation between you and the local Papuan people. 
The easiest way to explore the rainforest was by using a boat. After conducting a little walk around the jungle in the vicinity of Kais village, I continued my day exploration of the forest by a small outrigger boat. Two Papuan guys paddled the boat with me sitting at its front. As we entered the Kerzek river which was the tributary of Kais river, we could hear the sounds of some sulphur crested cockatoes warning their friends about our arrival. These birds had got very sharp eyes. They could easily identify us even though we were rowing the boat quietly under the overlapping branches and leaves of the trees that cover the river.
The tropical rainforest of Kais is still in pristine condition. It is a nice destination for travelers who are interested in taking a rainforest and birdwatching tour in South Sorong regency for several days and nights. by Charles Roring
Also read: Tropical Rainforest of Numfor island