Hiking in Senopi village
Senopi, a beautiful village in New Guinea island
Senopi is a small village in New Guinea, the largest tropical island in the world. If you don't know where it is, please, check, the map below. At the end of this article, I provide some flight and accommodation information for tourists who want to visit this village. Senopi is a good travel destination for tourists who like hiking and who want to see the natural beauty of the wildlife of tropical rainforest and the unique culture of West Papuan people. The villagers live in small cottage styled houses made of wood. Most of them work as farmers, hunters. They also raise chickens, cows and pigs. When I was there I saw that people do not put their pigs in the pigpens. The Papuan people just let their livestock walk around the village and the nearby forest to find food. I remembered last year when traveling with two Belgian tourists to this village in August 2010, a big cow walked into the front yard of the tourist guesthouse and began eating the flower plants. I had to drive him away out of the fence and close the gate to prevent him from entering the yard again. Coconut palm trees grow on nearly every corner of the village. Located between Manokwari and Sorong cities, the village can be reached by small airplane and 4WD car. Last month, I arranged a trip for four tourists from Czech Republic to Senopi for a four-day hiking tour.
Staying Close to Nature
The Czech tourists liked hiking in the forest to take pictures of birds, various species of butterflies, beetles and flowers. They said that they really enjoyed watching the green vegetations that were different from the ones that they usually see in their country. Because the village is surrounded by tropical rainforest as well as some rivers. It's not difficult to watch birds and insects there. Every morning and afternoon, we could see cockatoo and hornbill birds flying over the trees near the village. Beautiful butterflies often come to eat the sweet nectar from the flowers that grow around the tourist guest house. Because there are no cars or motorcycle passing around, the sounds that we heard were the natural ones, the sounds of the green leaves and branches of trees blown by the wind, or the sounds of birds singing in the nearby forest. If the sound was a long moo......, then it's a cow.
Hiking and Bird Watching
Hiking is one of the activities that most tourists do when visiting Senopi village. Before hiking, they have to make some preparation. Here are a number of articles to bring before hiking:
- Compass or GPS
- Some food and water
- Torch or flashlight
- Tent (for overnight stay in the jungle)
- Binoculars or long lens camera (including extra batteries)
Because electricity only runs from 6 to 10 p.m., don't forget to recharge your camera batteries during these hours. It is better to bring extra batteries when taking pictures is very important for you. There is no cell phone signal in Senopi. If you want to contact your family or relatives back home, you can ask to staff of the Senopi guesthouse to help you. They have a satellite phone. You can also buy a satellite phone so that you can call anybody when you are in the jungle.
The best time to start hiking in the forest is at 5.30 a.m. Wear socks and boots, before begin walking to the jungle. The birds begin their morning activities during that time. Since there are a lot of trees and bush plants in the forest, it is not easy to take pictures of the birds. When they are eating fruits on the twigs of a tree, some or the whole part of their body is covered with leaves. To take picture of birds in tall trees, use a long lens camera.
The tropical rainforest of New Guinea island is really beautiful to be explored. On the other hand, it is a harsh environment. During World War II, tens of thousands of Japanese troops died in the jungle while battling against the US and Australian troops. Most of them died not because of enemy shots but malaria and lack of food.
If you plan to visit Senopi to trek its rainforest, don't forget to bring a bottle of mosquito repellent lotion and mosquito net. The humidity in the rainforest of West Papua is very high. It is an ideal breeding ground for the mosquito. So, before walking inside the Papuan jungle, apply the mosquito repellent lotion on your exposed skins.
Where is Senopi and how to get there?
Senopi is located in New Guinea island between the towns of Manokwari and Sorong. Administratively, it is under West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. How to fly to Senopi.
- Fly to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, or Makassar.
- Then find a domestic flight to Manokwari city
- After that you can fly with a small airplane operated by Susi air or Merpati to Kebar and continue your trip by car to Senopi village. Or from Manokwari city, by a rent a car you can go directly to Senopi village.
Cost of traveling to Senopi
- The price of domestic airplane ticket from Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) to Manokwari city is approximately Rp. 2,300,000 (around 255 US dollars)
- The price of ticket from Manokwari to Kebar (go only) is Rp. 120,000 (around 15 US dollars)
- Car transfer from Kebar to Senopi village is Rp. 500,000 (around 60 US dollars)
Recommended Accommodation for Eco-tourists in Manokwari town
- Kagum homestay Rp. 180,000 (around 22 US dollars)/room/night (bed and breakfast)
Staff of the homestay provide assistance and tips for tourists who want to travel to Senopi and other destinations in West Papua)
Recommended Accommodation for Eco-tourists in Senopi village
- Losmen Senopi Rp. 350,000 (around 42 US dollars) /room/night (breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided)
- Tourist fee (contribution to church, school and land rights) Rp. 250,000 (around 30 US dollars)/trip to Senopi village.
- Experienced English speaking guide Rp. 500,000 (approximately 50 US dollars)/day. If you hire a guide who is still learning and speaking very basic English, you will spend approximately Rp. 150,000 (around 18 US dollars)/day.
- Car rent for Manokwari - Senopi trip (go and return) Rp. 5,000,000 (approximately 600 US dollars). The car is a 4WD Toyota Hilux with capacity of 4 tourists. If you travel by the rent car alone, you will feel that it is expensive but if you travel in a group of two or four tourists, you will be able to share the transportation cost.
The prices may change anytime depending on the flight season, exchange rate or changes made by local service providers.
Rupiah as the official Indonesian currency
When you have arrived in Jakarta or Makassar, change your money to Rupiah currency. It is better to change your money in Jakarta than in Manokwari because you will get better value for your US dollars or Euros.
Still need more information?
If you still need more explanation about traveling in Senopi, or even in West Papua, you can visit a website called SDSP at http://sdsp.nl or you can read my blog about ecotourism and preservation of coral reef and rainforest at http://manokwaripapua.blogspot.com or contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to guide and arrange your trip around this region.