Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hiking Camping and Wildlife Watching in Arfak Mountains

Camping in the jungle of Arfak mountains - Manokwari
I often organize hiking and camping tours in Mount Mabowi of Arfak mountains for tourists who want to watch birds, several species of cuscus possum, bandicoot, tree dragon lizard and other reptiles, unique insects and colorful butterflies.
Butterflies such as Ornithoptera priamus, Papilio ulysses, Taenaris catops, Vindula arsinoe, Parthenos tigrina can easily be seen in the clearing area around the Campsite.
Tourists who take the tours come from Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. Participant can be a solo traveler or a group of 2 - 4 visitors who want to see the complex ecosystem of tropical rainforest.
Tree Dragon Lizard in Arfak Mountains

Staying in Tents
The most favorite site in Arfak mountains for hiking, rainforest tour and wildlife watching is Mount Mabowi. It is located in the eastern area of Arfak range. There are no luxurious gueshouses in the jungle. I and local villagers built simple campsites in the jungle.
As a tour guide, I provide camping gear such as tents, sleeping bag, cooking and eating utensils for visitors who want to stay for a few nights. Our camping ground is located near a small stream.
Nature Lover Paradise
In the jungle of Manokwari, visitors can see wild flowers, various kinds of mushrooms, butterflies, birds, lizards, glowing mushrooms, cuscus possum and a lot of tropical plants.
Duration of Stay
Most Tourists who go to Mount Mabowi of Arfak mountains spend between 3 and 4 days in hiking in the lower montane forest.
Day 1 
Arrive in Manokwari city. Transfer by car to Mount Mabowi in the east of Arfak Mountains. Hiking to the Campsite 1. Nature walk in the jungle to see the wealth of the biodiversity of tropical rainforest.
Day 2 
Wake up early in the morning. Hiking to the birding ground of paradise birds. We will watch Lesser Birds of Paradise. After that we will walk back to our tents for breakfast. In the middle of the day, we could move deeper into the jungle to Campsite 2. We will explore the forest again to see its unique plants, colorful butterlies and other beautiful insects. At night, we could do night walk to find cuscus possum.
Day 3
We could make second attempt to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise again or explore the forest to find Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise or just do the sightseeing.
In the afternoon, we could walk down the steep slopes of Arfak mountains to the main road and then return to Manokwari city by car. Or you could stay longer in the forest to explore its higher or lower elevation areas.
Optional: Upon special request, visitors can extend their stay in the jungle of Arfak mountains if they want to see more wildlife in the area. This request should be informed in advance so that local guides could buy more food for that purpose. In general tourists stay between 3 to 5 days to explore the rainforest.

Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea) in Arfak Mountains
Wildlife Watching Equipment
To enhance wildlife watching experience, I highly recommend that each tourist bring his or her own binoculars. I provide a good pair of 10x42 binoculars and a 20-60x60 spotting scope with a tripod.
Arfak mountains have been famous among birdwatchers as birding destination. The tropical rainforest that covers the mountain range is the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds including Common Paradise Kingfisher, Hooded Butcherbird, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and etc.
Visitors who go birding in Arfak mountains could buy Birds of New Guinea as their field guide. The book was written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.

Paradise Birds in Mount Mabowi
The best way to see the wealth of bio-diversity of the forest is by exploring it on foot. Hiking can be carried out early in the morning to see paradise birds, during the day - to see a lot of unique plants in the tropical rainforest such as lianas, bamboo, large trees, mushrooms and orchids. Butterflies, beetles, beetles, soa-soa lizard, frogs, snakes, bandicoot, and birds can also be seen during the hiking trip. Night walk can also be organized for visitors who are interested in seeing cuscus possum, and glowing mushrooms. The slopes of Mount Mabowi are very steep and sometimes slippery. Good hiking shoes are needed during the rainforest tour.
The slopes in Mount Mabowi are very steep and covered by pristine tropical rainforest. I highly suggest that visitors wear a good pair of hiking shoes if they want to explore the bio-diversity of Arfak Mountains.

Cuscus Possum
Leg-cramps and muscle pain is not very common among tourists but there was one or two cases where a tourist experienced it. Dehydration, salt depletion and fatigue of long day on the trail caused these severe leg cramps. When I was told about it, I immediately stopped the hiking tour and returned to our tents. In our campsite I cooked instant noodle and gave it to our guest.  The soup of the noodle contains salt that would reduce the cramp. The noodle soup resupplies our body with new electrolytes. To ease the soreness or pain in the muscles and joints, I gave gentle massage using coconut oil. I applied the oil on my palms, warmed them up on ember and then gave the relaxing massage to the tensed musles.
Massage also increases the flow of blood that brings nutrients and oxygen to underlying tissues. It relieves muscle tension, and stiffness.

How to come here?
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia
  • Fly from Jakarta to Manokwari city
  • I could meet you at the airport or hotel to arrange your trip to Mount Mabowi of Arfak mountains.
Please, contact me by email to: or send text/ whatsapp message to +6281332245180