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THE PEOPLE OF THE TREES - KOROWAI TRIBE

WEST PAPUA, INDONESIA

EVERYTHING STARTS WITH AN IDEA

 

Have you ever considered time-traveling back to the Stone Age? Well, this is your chance, but it does have a tight expiration date tag on it. Take part in one of the most adventurous and unique expeditions that can be organized on planet Earth. We dare to claim that this is a lifetime experience and a journey that can change the way you see the world. This expedition will bring you to one of the most remote and least penetrated places in the world. Be aware – this won’t be an easy adventure – you’ll get tired, wet, and dirty, but again – isn’t it a price worth paying for traveling back in time? We’ve been visiting the Korowai tribe for almost 15 years now, and we have become particularly close with these people. Over the years, Korowais slowly started to adapt to the modernity, but there are still clans living on the three houses with limited, if not-at-all contact with an outside world. Are you ready?

What will you experience

  • Wake up in the treehouse on the top of the tree

  • Redefine yourself as a foodie. Try what’s on the jungle menu: flatbreads from sago, fresh fish, river prawns, or…hunters’ catch of a day. Are you up to the bigger challenge? OK, here comes the sagu worms (best eaten alive), roasted snake, parrot, or a wild boar
  • Cut your way through the dense jungle using machete;
  • Sit by the fire with Korowai elders and listen to their tales about evil spirits and head hunters
  • Keep your eye out for the Birds of Paradise
  • Take a dip in the wild river after a long day of trekking
  • Follow your hosts to hunt, build shelters and gather food;
  • Stay tuned for the beautiful way of singing by Korowai man and woman. They sing all the time
  • Try to learn the skill of pathfinding in the jungle
  • Understand the basic os survival in the wilderness
  • Try to use bow and arrows, cut a tree with a stone ax, make a fire without matches
  • Set a trap for a wild pig
  • Walk 100 meters through the jungle without the shoes
  • Find yourself at the end of the world, where Nature is everything, and man benefits the most by respecting it

Who is this trip for

  • People who aren’t affraid of getting wet n’dirty
  • Those who are OK with a “bush toilet” and “river bathroom”
  • Drama-free adventure hunters
  • Active and open-minded travelers
  • People at any age with average physical fitness and health
  • Culture lovers who dream of discovering faraway tribes
  • Photographers who want to capture the soul of the tribe
  • People who love nature and prefer outdoor activities
  • Those who can bear simple traveling conditions
  • Those for whom authentic experiences are more important than a comfy couch.

What to prepare

Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true.  An expedition is something a bit more special than normal travel so make sure you have:

proper jungle trekking boots, quick-drying, long jungle trekking pants, quick-drying, long sleeve trekking shirt, light waterproof jacket, light sleeping bag, light air mattress, training gloves, flipflops or sandals, trekking hat, comfortable, waterproof backpack (60L), personal, waterproof backpack (10L), dry-packs, mosquito repellent, own first aid kit, “Malarone” or other anti-malaria pills, torch and spare batteries, personal knife or multitool, vitamin supplements, power bars.

What do we offer

  • Duration:
    15 days / 14 nights (incl. 3d2n in Baliem Valley)
  • Best time to travel: XI – III
  • Weather:  hot & humid with frequent rainfall
  • Difficulty (1-10): 7
  • Comfort (1-10): 3
  • Be ready for: spending 2 days in a small motorized boat, few hours a day of jungle trekking, sleeping in basic conditions (tents, local huts), simple food (meals prepared by the expedition chef), getting wet n’ dirty
  • Departure location: Jakarta, Jawa
  • Price range: from 6000 USD/per person
  • The number of participants in the group: 6-10
  • Availability of the tour: on request

FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT WEST PAPUA

The largest and the easternmost province of Indonesia, compromising most of the western part of the island of New Guinea in the southern Pacific Ocean. By the way, New Guinea is the second-largest island in the world!

Covered mostly by dense jungle and mountains, this is why considered as one of the least explored places in the world;

Home to more than 250 diverse tribes, all speaking their own, unique languages with unique cultures. The majority of the indigenous population of Papua still live their traditional lifestyle and maintain limited contact with an outside world;

Motherland to a significant number of endemic flora and fauna, including Birds of Paradise, tree kangaroos, and the world’s most giant crocodiles!

The rainforest in Papua is one of the largest and oldest in the world;

The tallest mountain, Puncak Jaya, 4884 m, also known as Carstensz Pyramid, is the lowest peak of the Seven Summits;

WEST PAPUA in numbers

Capital city
Jayapura
Total area
319.036 km²
Population
3.347.100 mln
Population density
10 /km2

day-by-day itinerary

DAY 1

JAKARTA – JAYAPURA/OVERNIGHT FLIGHT

Selamat Datang. Welcome to Indonesia. Upon your arrival at the international airport of Jakarta, you’ll meet with the rest of the Expedition Team. Together you’ll check-in for the next overnight flight to Papua. 

Accommodation: overnight on the plane

Meal plan: dinner.

DAY 2

JAYAPURA TO DEKAI. WELCOME TO WEST PAPUA

Early in the morning, you’ll arrive at Sentani Airpot in Jayapura – the capital city of Indonesian Papua. After getting some additional supplies, you will embark on another plane. An hour-long flight over a wild interior of the island will be one of the highlights of this day. Get your camera ready for some fantastic shots of dense stretches of rainforest, serpentines of mighty rivers, hills, and jagged mountain peaks, with few traces of human presence in the vast ocean of the jungle.

Your destination today is Dekai – once a small town set by missionaries that’s now the last outpost of modernity in the region. Here you will get your local-style dinner and spend a night in a simple homestay in town. Enjoy it; you won’t be sleeping on the bed for another ten days. 

Accommodation: basic hotel in Dekai

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 3

DEKAI – MABUL. THE WILD RIVER

The real adventure begins today! The first thing in the morning, you’ll get on board of a small, motorized boat and set out for an all-day-long up the river Brazza. This is going to be a long journey, and you should be prepared for changing weather conditions – from burning sun to the pouring, tropical rain. Keep an eye out for endemic wildlife to be spotted on the way – world’s biggest crocodiles luring in the waters, turtles, hornbills, colorful parrots, and other birds.

There will be many small villages on the way, dwelled by various tribes living by the river. Late in the afternoon, you will arrive in Mabul – a large village being Korowai’s gateway into an outside world. You’ll get accommodated and served dinner in one of the local houses, while the expedition leader will conduct all the necessary preparations for tomorrow’s trekking. 

NOTE: There is a small chance that reaching Mabul would take two days – all depends on weather conditions. In such a case, you’ll spend one night in one of the Citak tribe’s villages on the way.

Accommodation: local house

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner (prepared by expedition’s chef).

DAY 4-10

TREKKING THROUGH KOROWAI TERITORIES. GONE IN THE JUNGLE

This is it. You’ve made it to the end of the world; now it’s time to push even farther.

The following week you’ll spend exploring one of the wildest and densest jungles in the world, a homeland of Korowai and Kombai tribes. Depending on the weather and pace of marching, each day, you will be trekking four to eight hours. Be ready to get wet and dirty – your way will take you through vast swamps and rainforest, sometimes corssing rivers and small lakes.

At all times, you will be accompanied by the local porters and guides, offering you a helping hand, and making sure that you’re safe and on the right path. During this week, you will visit several treehouses and its dwellers. Your expert expedition leader will choose the most accommodating spot where you’ll stay for a few nights to spend more time with the indigenous inhabitants of the jungle and to observe their fascinating culture.

You’ll get to see your hosts hunting and collecting food in the woods, setting-up traps for wild animals, building shelters, making sagu, and showing you all the skills essential for surviving in the jungle. You’ll experience the breath-taking beauty of the wilderness and spot endemic wildlife, including legendary Birds of Paradise. Most importantly, you’ll meet those fascinating people who have been living in the jungle for generations, without knowing that an outside world even exists. This is going to be a genuinely unique and lifechanging experience, even for the most traveled explorers. 

NOTE: Each expedition follows a slightly different route, depending on the information gather by our scouts. Korowais are nomads, and they change the location of their treehouses following the availability of food in the area. 

Accommodation: tents or treehouse in the jungle

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner (prepared by expedition’s chef).

DAY 11

RETURN TO DEKAI

After spending the last night in Mabul, today, you’ll embark on the boat again and start the whole-day-long journey back to Dekai. You should reach the town in the evening, depending on the weather conditions. You’ll spend a night in the same hostel in Dekai, but this time – after a week spent in the jungle – it might feel like the most luxurious accommodation in the world. 

Accommodation: basic hotel in Dekai

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 12

DEKAI – WAMENA

Depending on the weather conditions, today, you’ll catch a regular flight to Wamena – a small city that emerged in the middle of once mysterious and unpenetrable Baliem Valley. Upon arrival, you will be accommodated in the proper hotel where you can relax after recent adventures. The rest of the day will be free to rest or to stroll through the city, which is a fascinating mix of modernity and indigenous cultures. 

Accommodation: Baliem Pilamo Hotel, Wamena

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 13

BALIEM VALLEY

Today you’ll spend the whole day exploring the Baliem Valley – spectacularly beautiful place and a home of Dani and Lani tribes. You will visit several Dani villages, including Jiwika, which famous for over 200 years old, a smoked mummy of tribal leader that is kept there. Another highlight of this day will be a ceremonial feast held in your honor in one of the villages. This will be an excellent opportunity to take some amazing pictures of Danis in their traditional outfits and performing their traditional dances. 

Accommodation: Baliem Pilamo Hotel, Wamena

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 14

WAMENA – JAYAPURA

Early in the morning, you’ll get to the airport to catch the first flight to Jayapura. After landing at Sentani Airport, you’ll drive to Sentani Lake, which you will explore during a short boat trip. After lunch, you will continue to the city where you’ll visit a fascinating anthropological museum and a local art market. In the afternoon, you will be accommodated in Swissbell Hotel – the best hotel in the city. There you will have dinner and a good sleep in a proper bed – a small but enjoyable return to the simpler things in life.

Accommodation: basic hotel in Jayapura

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 15

JAYAPURA – JAKARTA. END OF THE ADVENTURE

Time to leave Papua behind and get on board the flight to Jakarta. From there, you will catch your return flight home. The adventure ends here. Thank you for being part of it.

NOTE: You’ve heard of Bali, right? Known for its stunning scenery, tropical climate, and kind hearted people over cultural richness. We’ll be happy to extend your stay in Bali for an extra cost, so think of staying for a bit longer in Indonesia, making sure you enjoy Bali’s laid-back atmosphere, beach and fantastic food!

Accommodation:

Meal plan: breakfast.

Happy Customers

{

We’re Seth and Ethan Waxman, we just immersed from the jungle of West Papua, Irian Jaya. Trip organized by Far Horizon, one that take “Father and Son” trip for 2 weeks to an extremely interesting and remote place. The company and Adam have been absolutely terrific, we can’t recommend them more highly. It was unlike anything we’ve done before. Far Horizon has planned the trip of lifetime.”

- Ethan & Seth Waxman

Independent Travelers

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