Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hiking in the tropical rainforest

Are you interested in hiking in tropical rainforest? If yes, then you need to read this post. I have guided a lot of tourists to various places in the jungle of New Guinea. I live in Manokwari, the capital of West Papua province. It is a recommended town for anybody who wants to explore the rainforest of this tropical island. New Guinea is the largest tropical island in the world. Its rainforest is the natural habitat of such animals as birds of paradise, tree kangaroo and deers.
Hiking and Camping Destinations
Senopi - This village is located between Manokwari and Sorong regencies. Now, it is a district in Tambrauw mountains. This is a highly recommended destination for visitors who want to go hiking and camping in the tropical rainforest. Birds of Paradise, Goliath Cockatoo, Deers and Cuscus are the animals that visitors may see while walking in the jungle of Senopi. When I and Wim (a Belgium tourist) along Kamundan river, we saw deers running into the woods. It was a fantastic experience for us after watching birds in Aiwatar hill.
Asai - This is a relatively new destination for hikers. Located in the north coast of Manokwari, Asai river is a nice place to watch Blyth's hornbills, and Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. Bring a tent if you want to stay in the jungle. Asai is also a nice place for tourists who want to do some snorkeling over its coral reef area.
Warmarway - Lesser Birds of Paradise live in the tropical rainforest of Warmarway. This is a small village that is located in the eastern coast of Arfak mountains. You can go there by public transporation. The slopes are quite steep so, you need to be physically fit to go there. Tents and cooking equipment have been prepared for tourists. So, you only need to buy food for you and the guides and porters for your hiking trip in the jungle.
Dopi river
This is a hiking destination that is not far from Manokwari. Visitors can do day trips and do not need to stay in the jungle. Apply insect repellent lotion all over your body before walking in the jungle.
Guides
I work as guide who arrange trips (including transportation, accommodation, food, and indigenous people as local guides) for tourists who want to go hiking in the tropical rainforest of West Papua. If I am not available for servicing you, I can contact other guides to accompany you traveling in Manokwari.

How to get there?
It's not difficult to go to Manokwari. First, you need to fly from your town or city to Jakarta. Then you can take a flight to Manokwari. Airlines that provide flight service between Jakarta and Manokwari are Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air and Express Air.

What I need to bring and wear?
Bring binoculars or digiscoping device if you want to watch birds or other animals that live in the trees. A GPS is also needed if you want to explore the jungle for several days. Wear sport shoes or hiking boots that are resistant to water. Put all your clothes and photographic equipment in a bagpack.


Travel Permit
Prepare photocopy of passport, visa and 2 pcs of recent photographs. You need them to get a surat jalan (or travel permit) from the local police in Manokwari.
Here is my e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com if you want to make a hiking trip in the tropical rainforest of Manokwari.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rainforest Animals in Manokwari

There are a lot of animals that we can see while hiking and camping in the tropical rainforest of Manokwari. Deer, cuscus, bandicoot, and kangaroo are mammals that have been hunted by the indigenous Papuan people. Since they are nocturnal, they usually go out a night to find food. Most of these animals are the source of food for the indigenous Papuan who live in the coastal and interior regions. Hunters usually kill them by using traditional weapons such as bow and arrows, spears and machete.
There are two kinds of hunting techniques which the hunters use to catch the animals. First, by going into the jungle and search the animals in every possible place that they can find them. When they are able to approach the animal, for instance: a deer, they will shoot it with a bow and arrow. Then, they will cut it into smaller pieces and bring them back to their village. The second technique is by setting up traps. Papuan hunters are experts in setting up traps. They can make tens of traps in certain areas of the jungle. Then they will leave them for 2 or 3 days. When they return to the forest again, they will check the traps one by one. They often see that the caught animal is still alive. So, they have to kill it.
Besides mammals, other animals that live in the jungle are birds, snakes, lizards, and colorful insects such as birdwing butterflies and eupholus beetles.
Nowadays, animals are facing extinction not because of the traditional hunting but the deforestation. Huge acres of Papuan forest are being cut and converted into monoculture-plantation. This kind of practice, pose more threats to the whole ecosystem of rainforest than traditional hunting. Therefore, the cutting of tropical ranforest has to be stopped now! If it is not stopped, this precious ecosystem will severely be destroyed and damaged. Animals will not be able to find food and die. By preserving rainforest, the bio-diversity in the jungle will be protected and it is able to supply food and medicines to the indigenous Papuan people depend on it. by Charles Roring

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rainforest Tour in Dopi River of Manokwari

I have written some articles about rainforest tour in West Papua especially in Manokwari regency. This time, I want to talk about tours in Dopi. It is a river around 2 hour on foot from Manokwari city. Tropical trees and shrubs that grow on both sides of river are the natural habitat for various species of birds including pygmy parrots, lesser birds of paradise, hornbills and hawk.
Because Dopi is quite close from but untouched by city dwellers of Manokwari, it is a nice destination for budget travellers who want to experience or see the ecosytem of tropical rainforest by staying in the jungle for several nights. On my efforts to reduce the hunting of endangered animals, I try to recruit the indigenous Papuan to work as guides and porters. They know every corner of the jungle so they can give you accurate information about the time when hornbills fly back to trees where they usually sleep in.
From my previous tours in Dopi river, I saw birds of paradise dancing on the branches of trees and snake moving on the ground. Insect lovers will find that Dopi river is a must see place to photograph colorful butterflies, beetles or cicada. Male cicada is a unique insect that creates noisy sounds to attract female cicada for mating. His mating sound can be heard from several hundreds away.
The tropical rainforest near Dopi river is also the natural habitat of tikus tanah (literally mean ground mouse). But scientifically, it is called bandicoot. The marsupial animal like to eat small fruits that come out of the roots of a tree trunk just above the ground. Birds such as the beautiful fruit dove also like the fruits.
Visitors who plan to go hiking in the rainforest of Dopi river must wear proper hiking boots that are light, comfortable and strong enough for walking for at least four hours. Two camps have been built for tourists who want to stay for several nights. Here is my email: peace4wp@gmail.com that you could send email to if you are interested in taking a hiking tour in Camp Dopi . by Charles Roring
Map:
Dopi is the tributary of Pami river. The river flows to the north coast of Manokwari. So, it is important to keep the rivers clean while trekking through the rivers by not throwing any plastic wastes into the water to protect the coral reef in the region.
Related article Hiking and Birdwatching in Dopi river

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rainforest Preservation through Ecotourism

Rainforest is an important ecosystem that we must preserve. It is home to thousands of species of plants and animals. Rainforest is also the source of food and firewood for villagers or indigenous people. All of us depend on the rainforest for its function in absorbing CO2 gases and releasing Oxygen. We can get fresher air and cleaner drinking water if our forests are in good condition.
I have been working on the preservation of tropical rainforest in West Papua through ecotourism since 2010. This ecotourism program is aiming at providing alternative jobs to the indigenous people in Manokwari. To reduce the hunting of birds of paradise, I hire hunters to work as hiking and birding guide. When birdwatchers come to Manokwari to see lesser birds of paradise, they will be guided by these hunters. Other eco-tourism activities that attractive to foreign tourists are hiking and snorkeling. These activities can be combined in a one week tour program in Manokwari regency.
Since the number of tourists who come to Manokwari town is still low, promotional articles like the ones in this blog will be useful to introduce this eco-tourism scheme to anybody who reads them. There are a lot of things that I must do to improve our services in supporting tourists while they go hiking and birding in the tropical rainforest of Manokwari. Some of them are providing basic English course and guiding etiquette.
I also hope that the local government will support this ecotourism innitiative by helping us build better accommodation for visitors and building better roads to all of the hiking and birding destinations.
Contact me by sending email to: peace4wp@gmail.com if you want to take a rainforest tour in Manokwari.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mangrove Forest in South Sorong Regency

I made an exploratory rainforest tour in Kais village of South Sorong regency early this year. My initial intention was to assess whether the region is a suitable destination for rainforest tour program. I went to Kais village. It was quite expensive to go there but I did not regret of going to Kais. I went there by boat. The wetland of South Sorong regency was covered with hundreds of kilometers of mangrove forest and hundreds of big and small rivers. I saw a lot of birds including the Blyth's hornbills, brahminy kite, fruit doves, and sulphur crested cockatoo. I saw bats hanging in the leaves of nipa palm trees. The bio-diversity of this mangrove forest is very high. Shrimp is abundant in the river. It was much easier to catch them than fish. The mangrove forest in South Sorong regency of West Papua province is perhaps the largest mangrove eco-sytem in South East Asia. The dry land of Kais is also covered with pristine rainforest. Visitors can go hiking in the jungle guided by the villagers. I asked the villagers in Kais whether some tourists or birdwatchers had visited the area or not. They said, "no."
District Kais is a small village. Its population was less than 500 people. I stayed there for 2 nights and returned to Teminabuan early in the morning. On the way back to the town, I saw a bird that I could not identify. I usually use Birds of New Guinea to match the name of bird with the picture that I took from my rainforest trips.
Please, look at the following Google Earth Map which I have modified by adding the names of towns. District Kais is the one below Teminabuan town with small red dot.
The best way to explore the mangrove forest and see the wildlife is by traveling with boats. I suggest that visitors go there in a group of 3 or 4 people to share the cost of transportation, food and accommodation. If you are interested in visiting Kais, please, contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com
Mangrove is an important part of coastal marine environment especially in tropical region. Coral reef that is near mangrove area will have higher fish stock than the one that is far from the mangrove forest. Here are some books that are related to mangrove:

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