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 charlesroring@gmail.com. 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

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