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Papua Expedition Baliem Valley Korowai Tribe Tree House

Duration: 11 Days

Overview

High up in the mountains of central Papua at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, hemmed in by steep green mountain walls, lies the stunningly beautiful Baliem Valley, home of the Dani tribe. Baliem valley is 72 km long, and 15-31 km wide in places. It is cut by the Baliem River, which has its source in the northern Trikora Mountain, cascading into the Grand Valley, to meander down and further rushing south dropping 1,500 meters to become a large muddy river that slowly empties into the Arafura Sea. The first outsider to discover the valley was American Richard Archbold, who, on 23 June 1938 from his seaplane, suddenly sighted this awesome valley dotted with neat terraced green fields of sweet potatoes, set among craggy mountain peaks. The only access to the Baliem Valley is by flying to the town of Wamena from Jayapura . There are a number of carriers to Jayapura from Jakarta, Ujung Pandang and Bali

Discovered only in 1974, the Korowai live high above the ground in forest tree houses, relying on their environment to protect and nourish them. As a semi-nomadic tribe with an ancient culture, the Korowai live an almost entirely self-sufficient lifestyle in the dense jungle of Papua. Today, their unique way of life is undergoing rapid change, under the impact of modernity and the actions of the Indonesian government.

he Korowai are hunter-gatherers who live in a small, close-knit society that fosters strong family ties. They need to share all that they have and to work together in order to survive. We estimate that they number about 3,000 in southeastern Papua. Traditionally, the Korowai live in small isolated groups, and each group, or clan, has a particular territory. There are usually no more than five tree houses in one settlement, and typical family home is built about 8 to 12 metres above the forest floor. However, in certain areas some of the tree-houses reach as high as 45 metres.

The distinctive high stilt architecture of the Korowai tree houses, well above flood-water levels, is a form of defensive fortification. They are intended to prevent rival clans from capturing people (especially women and children) for slavery or cannibalism. It is also a form of protection from biting insects and helps to ward off annoying evil spirits.

Highlights

  • Explore Wamena area and get first impressions of another world. Napua Hills with its panoramic view of the valley, Wesaput village and its traditional hanging bridge, some Dani villages and a traditional market.
  • Sogokmo village at southern part of Papua Baliem valley, and start to have a day trek for about 4-5 hours through Dani sweet potatoes gardens and enjoy the gorgeous scenery surrounding, you get to Kurima the sub-district. Along the trail you will meet local people with friendly smile in their traditional clothes
  • Jiwika in the Northern part of Baliem valley to see the 250 years old Mummy. Then walk 10 minutes to village of Anemoigi where you can view the Dani Mock battle and Pig feast.
  • 40 minutes then by speed heading to Mabul, whole day will spend on the boat about 9hours
  • Trek in about 5 hours to see Tree house people of Korowai tribe. Afternoon learn way of life of the Korowai
  • See the Korowai collecting food from Sago palm tree, we learn how they process it

Itinerary

Arrive at Sentani airport of Jayapura met by the guide for Papua expedition and then within 35 minutes by Trigana IL 271 flight to WAMENA, arrive at WAMENA airport short transfer to hotel, after check in drive to the north to enjoy the Dani Pig feast and dance, after that see the Mummy of Himotok Mabel, then with the some women hike up to Mili mountain to see how they make salt in traditional way, then hike the same way down and visit some other villages on the way. Then on the way back to hotel drop by at Jibama local market to see people selling their garden products, afterwards drive to hotel.

After breakfast at hotel transfer in 45minutes by car to Sogokmo (Yetni river), from Yetni we start the circle Baliem valley trekking to Kurima area then visit villages on the way. We will pass 2 hanging bridges one in Sogokmo and another one in Kurima Trek will be about 5-6 hours, afternoon back to Sogokmo area then by car back to Wamena.

After breakfast at hotel then transfer to airport then by Trigana IL221 flight within 30 minutes to Dekai, arrive in Dekai airport by car to hotel, the rest of the day is free Lunch and dinner at local restaurant. We stay here tonight because the rest of the day we need to prepare for the trip such as shopping our foods for trekking in Korowai.

After breakfast, by car to Logpond (harbor) then by boat go down river to Muara Siretj village then up river until Mabul. Arrive in Mabul late afternoon then check in to local people house for dinner and overnight stay. Approximately 8-9 hours in the boat.This is the best to do according to our experiences.

Day 5: Mabul – Korowai Village (Ngguari) (B,L,D)
In the morning prepared all the needs like porters etc., we begin our 4 hours trek passing through the swamps, sometimes walk over the log or fallen tree and crossing the river with or without bridge. This is the tropical rain forest in the vast-green lowland of South Papua, there are many exotic things to be discovered and experienced but with a great deal with mosquito, swamp, heat and high humidity (85 – 100%). Our trek in the forest will support by our local porters who carry our bags or gears and will love to help you to do some difficult section of the trip when you need. Korowai is a nomad people who always move from one place to another at least once every 3 years. They are not live in large group, that at every location of the tree house we only see 2-4 tree houses built side by side.

The Korowai also a great hunter who hunted pigs, Cus-Cus, birds most of their time in life. After we met the Korowai and family on their tree house, we may interact with them help by our guide and experience their life. Overnight at our tent or at shelter we build near the tree house soon after we arrive. During the time with Korowai we can follow their daily activities: hunting, setting trap of wild pigs, gathering Sago flour, fishing in traditional way and also may have opportunity to see the tribe building their own house about 25-30 above the ground.

After breakfast we continue to another Korowai village name Lemaha in about 4hours, after lunch we will see people setting animal and fish trap and looking for sago worm to eat.

All the way will be muddy and we recommend you to bring rubber booth, the accommodation we will set tents for you under the bevak (roofed long house) please bring your air mattresses and sheets for sleeping, the sleeping bag is not necessary. As the wheater in Korowai in warm.

Whole morning we will see the locals process Sago as their main food, we will see them from the beginning to the end after lunch we will enjoy the locals arrow’s dance there might be 20 orang Korowai dancing with the arrow in the hands. We don’t move to other korowai village because we will have no time to see the activities if we move everyday.

We will trek back from Lemaha to MABUL in about 6hours arrive in Mabul we say good bye to our porters you may tip them and then within 1.5 hours by our motorized canoe back to SEPANAP village,we sleep in tents inside the building.

After breakfast, by our charter motorized canoe back to LogPond about 7-8 hours, then by car within 40minutes transfer to hotel in Dekai, upon arrival check in to hotel. The rest of the day is free dinner and overnight at hotel.

After breakfast at hotel drop by car to airport, then by Trigana IL222 flight to Jayapura within 1hour, arrive in Jayapura immediately make sightseeing tour to visit Asei island on the lake, afterwards spend the day in Sentani lake festival, late afternoon drive to Yougwa restaurant for dinner afterwards drive to hotel in Jayapura.

In the morning transfer to airport for flight to next destination.

More Information

  • All land transportation including airport transfer in Jayapura and Wamena
  • Accommodation at Baliem Pilamo hotel in Wamena and Swiss Bel Papua based on twin share room.
  • Accommodation in villages
  • Tour and meal base on above program
  • English speaking guide during trip
  • 1 person cook during trip to Korowai
  • 4 persons local porters during in tree houses
  • Traveling permit arrangement
  • Pig feast
  • Donation / Entrance fee
  • All activities mentioned on the above program

  • Travel insurance, extra baggage charge
  • Domestic air ticket approximately Jayapura – Wamena – Dekai – Jayapura USD.350/person

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