Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cycing and Mountain Biking in Manokwari

Manokwari has been a famous destination for people who are interested in hiking or trekking in Arfak mountains and the lowland forest of Pantura. As a matter of fact, this town is also a recommended place for cycling and mountain biking. As a tour guide, I have guided cycling enthusiasts from the United Kingdom, Finland, the United States and the Netherlands on various mountain biking and cycling tours across this tropical regency. Tourists like to take a cycling tour because they can explore the suburban areas of the capital of West Papua province at their own pace economically. 
My recommendations for elderly cyclists are the coastal villages of Manokwari such as Arowi, Abasi and Bakaro. For youngsters, more challenging routes in the jungle with more slopes will be an interesting option. We have a lot of mountain biking routes in this town and its surrounding forests that can be explored by ordinary cyclists and mountain bikers. 
I personally have completed a long route between Bintuni town (in the south of the bird's head region) and Manokwari (in the north of the bird's head region) covering a distance of approximately 300 kilometers. This is a trip that can be accomplished in 3 to 4 days. Experienced mountain bikers can try District Senopi as their destination. 
Because I am a member of MTB Manokwari, it is easy for me to find more bicycles for your cycling tours in Manokwari. Members of the club will lend you their bicycles and can accompany you to explore this beautiful town.
For a one or two day cycling tour in Manokwari, visitors can ride bicycles to Asai or even the Yonsoribo beach and meet local people there. An alternative destination that provides you with scenic view of the coastal villages are cycling routes to Ransiki. For further information, please, read more articles of this blog and contact me. by Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rainforest Trekking in Manokwari

by Charles Roring
The tropical rainforest in Manokwari is rich of bio-diversity. Birds, insects, reptiles, marsupials, and mammals live in the jungle of Arfak mountains. Tourists who go trekking in Arfak can watch birds of paradise, and cuscus possum which are the most popular attractions. Several species of birdwing butterflies can be found in the jungle too. There are several trekking destinations in Manokwari. Some that I recommend are the jungle of Warmarway in Arfak mountains and Mesirrokow lowland forest in northwest region of Manokwari. Use a good pair of trekking boots, and sleeping bag for exploring the jungle of Manokwari. 

A camp for tourists has been built in Warmarway. It is not easy to reach the camp. Visitors need to walk up steep slopes of Arfak mountains for approximately one hour. Cooking and eating utensils have been prepared by local people to serve the visitors. So, they don't need to bring their own cooking gear. Early in the morning when all the people in Manokwari town are still sleeping, visitors have to wake up to start their journey into the jungle to watch the lesser birds of paradise. They usually start to dance at around 5.45. Trekking route to the dancing site is quite difficult. It is steep and slippery. Visitors need to walk through several small streams of mountainous water that flow down through the granite rocks of Arfak. 
To capture the fleeting moment of the dancing birds, visitors need to bring telephoto D-SLR camera. Today, Nikon have developed super zoom digital camera that is more affordable to travelers. The latest type is the Coolpix P510. It is a telephoto device that sports 42x optical zoom, equivalent to 1,000 mm in 35 mm lens format. Canon also has manufactured a bridge camera with specifications that are higher than the P510. Canon Powershot SX50 has got 50x optical zoom that is equivalent to 1200 mm in 35 mm lens format.
Trekking in Senopi
The toughest destination is District Senopi. The district is located between Manokwari and Sorong. Visitors need to buy enough food, and bring cooking gear if they want to go trekking in District Senopi. The best trekking route in District Senopi is the walking path to Aiwatar hill where visitors can see hundreds of species of birds. Mammals such as deers, and wild pigs and cows can be seen in the jungle. Buy a bottle of mosquito repellent lotion and waterproof tent if you want to stay for several nights in the jungle. Local villagers will be happy to accompany and guide you to Aiwatar.
If you are interested in taking a trekking trip in Manokwari, please, contact me by e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp message to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to arrange your transportation and accommodation as well as the hiking trip by contacting local people in the mountains to serve you. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flowers in the Rainforest of West Papua

There are a lot of flowers that we can see while hiking in the jungle of Manokwari. Some have fragrant smell whereas others release stink smell. One species that attracts my attention is the Faradaya splendida. This plant grows on the bank of Dopi river. It has got abundant flowers whose color is white. Anybody who is interested in growing it outside his or her house must provide a lot of water for this plant. I think that the flowers from Faradaya splendida vine can be used as raw material for extracting its essential oil that is good for aroma therapy.
Another species that is commonly seen along the edges of the tropical rainforest is the blue bell vine (Thunbergia grandiflora). The vines of blue bell flowers hang on the branches and twigs of trees that are exposed to sunlight. Sometimes they can be found hanging on the twigs of bamboo shrubs that grow near a river.
For coastal region, the most common species that can be seen is hibiscus. They have got white, red, yellow and pink colors. There is another one that is quite unique called Barringtonia asiatica. This hairy flower will develop itself into a seed that is poisonous. Local fishermen use the seed of Barringtonia asiatica to poison fish. Before frying the fish, they will take out its gills and intestines. Barringtonia asiatica flowers come from a big tree that can be found near at the beach along the coastal region of Manokwari.
In the high elevation region such as the Arfak mountains, passion fruit flower vines climb the shrubs and trees that are not far from the local villages. This passion flower whose photograph is shown below is not a native plant from this mountain. Its fruit has got sweet taste. I heard that it was introduced by missionary and local people who went to Wamena (in the Central Mountains of West Papua) and returned to Arfak mountains with the plant.
Below is the picture of Medinilla flowers. I saw these flowers while hiking in the jungle of Arfak mountains particularly on 1400 meters above sea level. The flower species found around this elevation are totally different from the species that usually grow in lowland or coastal region of West Papua.
In addition to Medinilla, some other flowers that attract the attention of visitors are the Rhododendrons.  A few months ago, a student from the United Kingdom visited Arfak mountains to see several species of Rhododendrons. The one that is shown below has got very fragrant smell. Its physical appearance is similar to the above Faradaya splendida. This rhododendron can be found at the top of Mount Syoti (which is part of Arfak mountains and located in Kwau village).
In addition to the above flowers, visitors can also see various kinds of orchid that grow on the branches of big trees of the tropical rainforest of Manokwari. Some of them have got medicinal merit and are used by the indigenous people to cure their diseases or wounds. by Charles Roring

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