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Bird Watching in Tropical Rainforest of Arfak Mountains

Updated on August 12, 2011

Watching tropical birds that are endemic to Papuan rainforest

Tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains is a great place for tourists or birders who like hiking and bird watching. There are three places in Arfak mountains that I am now promoting on the internet as tourist destinations. They are Kwau village, Syioubri village and Warkapi village. There, tourists or birders can watch magnificent birds of paradise, bower bird, sulfur crested cockatoo, palm cockatoo, hornbills and various other species that are endemic to New Guinea island. If you are not familiar with the species of birds from this tropical island, you can read a book entitled, "Birds of New Guinea" written by Bruce M. Beehler.

Female magnificent bird of paradise (Cincinnurus Magnificus) in the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains
Female magnificent bird of paradise (Cincinnurus Magnificus) in the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains

Birding Equipment

All birders know what to bring before hiking in a tropical rainforest such as the Arfak mountains. If you are an amateur birder then you need to include the following things in your list of equipment to bring:

  • binoculars
  • long lens camera with its accessories. The word rainforest means that you may experience rainy days while traveling through woods of the forest. So, a watertight bag for your digital camera is also important. Paper tissue to wipe water vapor or moisture from the lens will also be needed to keep your lens as clear and as clean as possible.
  • extra batteries both for your camera and cell phone
  • book entitled Birds of New Guinea by Bruce M. Beehler
  • boots
  • lamps
  • mosquito repellent lotion
  • mosquito net
  • raincoat
  • sleeping bag

Where are Arfak mountains?

Arfak mountains are located in the bird's head region of New Guinea island. Just fly to Jakarta or Denpasar of Indonesia, first. Then take a domestic flight to Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province. Batavia air, Express air, Sriwijaya and Merpati Nusantara airlines provide regular flights to and from Manokwari. You can order your tickets through the websites of the airlines.

When you have arrived in Manokwari city, take a rest for one day. You also need to buy some food before going to Arfak mountains. As a tourist guide, I will arrange your car to one of the villages that I have mentioned above. I also need to go to the local police station to get a "surat jalan" for you. "Surat jalan" means "walking permit." You need this document for traveling inside West Papua province of Indonesia beside visa. After getting the surat jalan and buying some food, you can continue your trip to the Arfak mountains which is to the south of the city. It is a 2.5-hour car ride.

As a tourist guide, I have prepared a brochure that contains tour packages of anybody who wants to go to Manokwari and Numfor island for hiking, birdwatching and snorkeling trips. Please, download Traveling in Manokwari for detail explanations about them.

Car Ride to Arfak mountains

Along the way to Arfak mountains, you will be able to see various natural scenery of this tropical island. From the blue sea of the Dorey bay to the vast valley of Prafi to the steep slopes and ravines of Arfak mountains. You can ask the driver to stop for while so that you can take pictures as documentation of your trip to the largest tropical island in the world. It is not only the beach and the forest that you can see along the way to Kwau village. You can also see the natural green water and the emerald color of tropical rainforest near Lake Kabori.

After sitting in the moving car for one hour, we will arrive in Prafi valley. Here is the agricultural area of Manokwari regency. Huge area of palm oil plantation covers the valley. On the other side of the road, we can see farmers working in their rice and vegetable fields.

Spotted cat bird was eating banana in the rainforest of Kwau village of Arfak mountains
Spotted cat bird was eating banana in the rainforest of Kwau village of Arfak mountains
This is a road leading to Arfak mountains in Manokwari regency of West Papua Province of Indonesia
This is a road leading to Arfak mountains in Manokwari regency of West Papua Province of Indonesia

Bird Watching in Kwau village

After around two and a half hours sitting in the 4WD car that brings us to Kwau village in the Arfak mountains, we still need to walk for another one hour to reach the tourist house that has been built in the middle of the rainforest. If we leave Manokwari city at 9 a.m., we will still have the chance to watch birds in the afternoon starting from 3 p.m.

The villagers have built some bird watching huts (called blinds) for birders to watch such birds as the magnificent birds of paradise, western parotia and the bowerbird. Birders have to be quiet and patient while waiting for the birds to come to their playing ground. They must not make noise, either or the birds will fly away.

Lake Kabori at Maruni beach of Manokwari regency of Indonesia
Lake Kabori at Maruni beach of Manokwari regency of Indonesia

Eco-tourism and the Preservation of Tropical Rainforest Environment

The bird watching trip that I offer as tour package for tourists who want to visit Manokwari city of Indonesia is part of the eco-tourism program that I am now developing for the indigenous Papuan people. Through this eco-tourism program, I and some other nature lovers want to preserve the rainforest in New Guinea island and at the same time improve the economic condition of the local people. Tourists who come to hike and watch birds have automatically create jobs to the indigenous Papuan people who will work as birding guide, porters and cooks. We expect that this environmentally friendly tourism industry will be able to discourage the illegal logging industry in New Guinea island.

If you are interested in traveling, hiking, bird watching, and snorkeling in Manokwari regency of West Papua province of Indonesia, please contact me via my email I'll be happy to arrange your trip and guide you around this wonderful tropical island of New Guinea.


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      6 years ago

      Kebetulan juga sy tinggal di Manokwari dan berharap suatu saat bisa pergi melihat burung di pegunungan arfak setelah perlengkapan kamera sy lengkap dengan lensa tele.. Terima kasih atas kerja kerasnya utk menjadi guide khusus pengamatan burung dengan ini sy sebagai penggemar birding dimudahkan utk mewujudkan cita2 yg ditangani oleh orang yg berpengalaman..


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