Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Traveling around Arfak Mountains

I have just completed a tour for an Austrian family. We traveled around Arfak mountains to watch birds, see magnificent scenery of Anggi lakes, meet and stay with the indigenous people of Sougb tribe and explored the tropical jungle of Arfak mountains.

The Adventure
Day 1
The family arrived in Manokwari early in the morning. I met them at the airport and arranged their transfer to a hotel in the city. While they took a rest, I went to the police to get the Surat Jalan (travel permit). After getting the letter from Police Station, we visited Mansinam island to see its coastal village.

Day 2
We went to traditional market to buy food as contact materials and then continued our trip by 4WD car to Arfak mountains. Our first stop was Kwau village. After having lunch, we walked up steep slopes to watch Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata). We spent one night in the guesthouse that was located in the jungle.

Lake Anggi Giji in Arfak mountains
Day 3
We woke up early in the morning and went hiking again to watch Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata). The visitors were surprised to see the dance performance of the birds. We continued our trip again to higher elevation area of Arfak mountains. We traveled around Lake Anggi Giji. I asked our driver to stop several times during the trip so that I could gave photographs from my previous trips to the villagers. I also bought some vegetables from local people. It was around 15.00 local time when we ascended the steep slopes of Gunung Maut (meaning Mount Dead). We saw wonderful scenery of the lake and the mountains that surround it. There was some rain. When we reached the higher slope (around 2,500 meters above sea level), we had sunlight coming from behind us. The sunlight created a big arch of rainbow. The rainbow over the lake with the background of the mountains gave us a fantastic view of Papua's nature. We continued our tour to Cirnov village and stayed there for one night in the house of a villager. Again, the mountainous scenery was spectacular. Cirnov village was a country above the clouds.

Lake Anggi Gida in Arfak mountains
Day 4
The next morning, we continued our trip to the top of Mount Sensenemes. We took a lot of pictures of the scenery, and flowers in the area. There were a lot of Rhododendron flowers, myrmecodia (ants plants), and orchid at the elevation between 2500 to 2730 meters above sea level. We traveled to along the villages of District Sururey and then up more steep slopes to Mount Kobrey where we were able to see both Lake Anggi Giji (meaning lake man) and Lake Anggi Gida (meaning lake woman). We stopped at a village to buy passion fruits. We went down steep slopes of Arfak range to Neney waterfall. There, we had our late lunch. We arrived in Ransiki before dark. We could feel the atmosphere of Christmas every where. We stayed at the house of a Papuan family who was the relative of our driver.

Cirnov village, a country above the clouds
in Arfak mountains
Day 5
It was around 08.00 in the morning when we left the house for the traditional market. We bought fruits and vegetables at the market and then continued our tour that day to Warmarway. We stopped at the entrance point of Mount Mabowi. I asked my guests to unload their bags. I asked them to wait for me at the foot of the mountains. After that I and Tobias (our driver) went to Warmarway village to pick up our local guides. We began trekking up the steep slopes of Mount Mabowi at 12.00 and reached our base camp one and a half hours later. We still had time to continue our rainforest tour to watch Birds of Paradise.
We decided to walk up steep slopes again to reach the lek of Lesser Birds of Paradise. I stopped just around 40 meters below the birding site and asked our local guide and our guests to continue walking to the display tree. I did this to increase the chance for them to spot the birds. Unfortunately, they could only see the tail of the male bird that was perching in high branch of the tree with a lot of twigs and leaves covering him.
While sitting and waiting for them, I sat on the ground. Suddenly, a bird was flying over my head and landed on a branch some 10 meters on the right of my head. I quickly turned on my camera and aimed it on the bird. I was lucky enough to make two or shots of the bird before he flew away and disappeared behind the dense trees of the jungle. It was Little Paradise Kingfisher. It was the first time for me to see the bird.
After dinner, they had another night walk with our local guide and successfully saw cuscus possum and numerous glowing mushrooms that were growing in the decaying segments of fallen bamboes.

Traditional house of indigenous people
Day 6
Christmas time. We took a rest and only explored the forest near our tent. We were able to see two pigeons in a tall tree near our tents using my spotting scope.

Day 7
Sergius, another local guide, accompanied our guests to the lek of birds of paradise. This time they were successful. We left the jungle of Arfak mountains for Manokwari after brunch.

Passion Flower in Arfak mountains
This was a long land tour covering the mountains and valley of Arfak mountains. Our tour participants were able to see beautiful scenery of islands and mountains in Manokwari. They also saw lesser birds of paradise, vogelkop bowerbird, western parotia, pigeons, cuscus possum, and glowing mushrooms and a lot of colorful flowers and unique plants. We met the indigenous people and stayed with them.

I offer this trip to any body who is interested in taking the Arfak range tour. If you are interested, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com
I suggest that visitors go in a group of at least 3 to 4 people to share the cost.