• Dore Atri
  • Triton Bay divers
  • Baliem
  • Baliem
  • Baliem
  • Korowai
  • Korowai
  • Manta

Tour module round trip Adventurous Papua - the Korowai

The Korowai tour module is our most adventurous round trip. In a mixture of short flights, boat trips and sometimes tough walks you cross the jungle to the Korowai tribes that live high above the ground in tree houses.

You sleep in small tents and sometimes in local primitive accommodations. Besides a guide you will also be accompanied by porters and a cook during your trip.
You need to be in good physical condition and have a great deal of adaptability as you will get into not everyday situations.
The round trip starts and ends in Jayapura. If you wish you can add the Baliem valley tour module to (before or after) your Korowai round trip.

Target prices

€ 3,385 p.p. based on 2 participants
€ 3,250 p.p. based on 4 or more participants
Included:
•Overnight stays with breakfast, lunch and dinner
•Transfers
• English speaking guide

Not included:
. Flights
. Local airport tax
. Optional excursions
•Tips and personal expenses
•Travel and cancellation insurance
•Booking fee and contribution Calamiteitenfonds €30 per booking

Day 1 Arrival Jayapura

Today you arrive at Sentani airport, Jayapura. Your driver is waiting for you outside the airport and drives you to your hotel in Sentani or the Suwae resort in Depapre.

Day 2 Departure to Dekai

In the morning you leave with the approximately one hour Trigana flight to Dekai. Dekai is modernizing after the greater autonomy of the province of Papua and the Manimo tribe is now fairly civilized. While the guide is taking care of the final preparations you have the afternoon for yourselves. Overnight stay in a simple hotel.

Filght Jayapura-Wamena-Dekai-Wamena-Jayapura

Flight with Trigana Air 5 Daily departures in the morning from Jayapura: Max weight: 10 kg. Extra weight ca € 5 per kg to be paid on the spot NB: Trigana Air figures on the list of flight companies that are not allowed to fly in European airspace.

Day 3 A day on the Brazza river

After breakfast, on the back of a motorcycle over a bad road you’ll be driven to the ‘port’ of Lopon. Here starts the trip of around 7 hours over the Brazza river. On our way we stop at some villages of the Citak Mitak tribes. They live along the river on fish and what the jungle behind their huts has to offer. Since there is more 'traffic' on the Brazza river these tribes have been westernising too and they often wear normal clothes. In the afternoon we arrive in Muara Siretz. We overnight in the village in tents.

Day 4 Trekking to the Korowai

The last boat trip takes four hours and then we reach the village Mabul. This is the first village of the Korowai that we visit. While the guide is announcing our visit to the chief of the tribe and arranges some porters we’ve got time to have a look around the village. The Korowai in Mabul work as farmers or hunters. Together with the porters we walk at a quiet pace in about three hours to the Korowai villages in the jungle. In every village we have to negotiate with the chief. If he accepts our presents we are allowed to enter the domain and you will sit amid the local people, as if you had travelled centuries back in time. Overnight stay in a tent (if you wish in a tent in a treehouse).

Day 5 Living with the Korowai

We spend two full days experiencing daily life with the Korowai. You can join them when they go hunting or for the sago harvest. The jungle is here warm and swampy. Sago is the primary food resource and is complemented with fish and meat, from the hunting. And of course fruit and vegetables from the jungle.

Day 6 Living with the Korowai

Another day among this primitive tribe. You’ll be invited to the sago harvest or catch fish. Of course you’ll also witness their traditional dances and music. The people here enjoy themselves as much as you do.

Day 7 Back to Mabul

We say goodbye to the Korowai in the jungle and walk and sail back to Mabul

Day 8 Brazza river to Dekai

In reversed order we now sail a full day against the current. In the late afternoon we arrive in Lopon, where you get on the back of the motorcycle again and will be driven to Dekai.

Day 9 Back to Wamena

From Dekai we fly with Trigana airlines to Wamena, a thirty minute flight. From Wamena we start our 3 day trip through the valley. We get in the car with our guide, porters and cook and drive to the village Sogokmo. Over hilly terrain we walk in an easy pace via the hills of Hesegem to Kilise. On the way we’ll meet local people at work and enjoy the beautiful setting of the valley. In Kilise we stay in a local accommodation. Instead of a more day trekking in the Baliem valley you can also choose for day trips starting from hotel Pilamo in the city Wamena.

Day 10 From Kilise to Wuserum

Today our trekking gets a bit tougher, over sometimes slippery paths we bridge a difference in height of more than 1500 meter. We criss-cross the Baliem river sometimes over small authentic hanging bridges. On the way we’ve plenty of time to enjoy the nature and of course the local people still wearing traditional Kotekas (penis gourds) or grass skirts. The trekking takes ca 5 hours

Day 11 Pig festival in Jiwika

After breakfast an easy about 3 hour trekking to the Kurima subdistrict. Here, the Dani women sell their local products along the path or the road. We arrive in Wamena, where the car is waiting and drives us to Jiwika, in the north of the valley. In Jiwika we visit the 250 year-old Mummy (most local people here are now quite used to tourists and won’t fail to try to sell you something!). Then we walk another good 15 minutes to the village Anemoigi where we will see the Dani war dance and the traditional Pig Festival. During this ceremony the custom is to share the meal with the Dani. After the ceremony we go back to Wamena. Overnight stay in the Pilamo hotel.

Day 12 Back to Jayapura

After breakfast we leave the hotel and take the Trigana flight from Wamena, back to Jayapura. After arrival, we make an excursion to the Mc Arthur monument and a trip over Lake Sentani. After lunch we visit the capital city Jayapura, former Hollandia and visit there a museum, the local market and the remains of the colonial era. Overnight stay in Jayapura city, Sentani or Depapre.

Day 13 Departure from Jayapura

After breakfast your driver will bring you to the airport for your next destination.

Korowai region

Korowai

The Korowai, also called Kolufo, are the people who live in southeast Papua, the southeastern part of West New Guinea. They number about 3000. It is possible that the Korowai were unaware of the existence of any people besides themselves, before outsiders made contact with them in 1970.
Some sources say this group belongs to one of the few peoples that until today have practised cannibalism. Other sources contradict this and say cannibalism hasn’t been practised anymore for 20 years now.

The term Korowai is a Malaysian derivation of the name Kolufo, refers more to commonality in language, than to tribe unity. The patriarch is for the Korowai themselves the relevant unity if it’s about self-identification. These Papua people, from subdistrict Kouh in the southern district Merauke of the Indonesian province Papua, live between the islands and the upperstream of the Beckingrivier.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Living on the rhythm of the Sago palm

Without the sago palm the Korowai would be lost. This palm tree is not only used for the construction of their houses, it’s also their main food. Sago is a sort of flour made from the pulp of the sago palm. It’s a very laborious process. One family uses one tree per week! So, when there are no sago palms left the tribe has to move. The sago palm that provided food and construction material is finally used as fuel. The Korowai hunt (e.g. wild pig and Kasuaris) and fish, with arrows they make themselves.

Korowai customs

Houses

The treehouses can reach heights up from 12 to 50 meters. The bark of the sago palm is used for the wooden floor and walls, and its leaves for the roof. The frame of the house is made of branches which are tied together with straw. To climb to the house they suspend a ladder made of a dry trunk in which notches are cut. This ladder trembles by each step and warns the occupants that a visitor is coming. Because of their small and muscular body the Korowai easily climb trees.

A marriage is often an occasion to build a new house. Even the families from neighbouring tribes come over to help.
Hostility towards strangers

Some Korowai-tribes refuse receiving white people and are hostile towards strangers. Arrows sometimes fly over the heads. Other tribes, living closer to the city, gave up their traditional equipment and receive tourists. But it is almost impossible to go there unannounced.
Korowai-jewelry

Entirely in accordance with their tradition the Korowai wear strange jewels. Their nose is pierced with the bone of a kasuaris-wing. Some also have special marks on their face and braids from sago palm fibres.

Wamena

Wamena

Wamena is the capital of the Baliem Valley. It’s a pleasant little town with nice shops.
The Baliem valley lies at an altitude of 1600-1700 metres in the mountains and has therefore a temperature of 15 – 20 degrees. In the valley live some 100.000 people, of whom most are original Papuas and the rest transmigrants from especially Sulawesi and Java.

Baliem valley - Tribes

The original population are the Dani people, a well-known tribe in Papua. The Dani are known for their war-minded attitude. When the valley was discovered, people noticed that everywhere high, slim towers had been built. These were lookouts to warn the villagers that hostile clans were approaching. These lookouts were little by little put down when the area got under Dutch administration and war-making was forbidden. The Dani of the Baliem valley are related to the tribes from the mountains west of the valley, that are called western Dani or Lani. Their area is more densely populated than the area of the Dani. A third tribe are the Yali, who live in sparsely populated areas high on the mountain flanks of the Jayawijayain mountain chain.

Under Indonesian administration in the 70’s the situation became tense with the Dani, who were considered as underdeveloped people. In the early seventies the Indonesian government tried with 'Operation Koteka' to motivate the Dani to change their Koteka for clothes and to house them in modern square houses. Many Indonesian soldiers, who had to carry out the policy, regarded the Dani as 'savages' (little more than animals, an attitude that’s still alive among many Indonesians) and treated them very badly. Opposing Dani were sometimes even killed. In 1977 the Dani rebelled led by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka, the Dani fought with bow and arrow against Indonesian soldiers with rockets, attack planes and helicopters with which they bombed the Dani villages. It is estimated that 500 Dani died during the fighting, that was concentrated around the villages Pyramid and Bokondini in the north of the valley. 'Operation Koteka' was a complete failure.

In the nineties a new fight broke out for independence, which also was put down violently by the Indonesian government, that in 1997 even tried to put up the tribes against each other and thus stay out of range itself. Until the middle of the 20th century the valley was closed territory. A lot of Indonesian government officials still consider the valley as ‘the end of the world’.
(Source: Wikipedia)
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