Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Rainforest Tourism West Papua

West Papua is the western half region of New Guinea island. It is now under the administration of Indonesia. There are two provinces in West Papua, i.e. Papua and Papua Barat. Papua Barat itself, in English, means West Papua. 

Most of the land in West Papua is still covered by huge tropical rainforest. A lot of species of plants and animals live in it. In recent years, rapid economic development has caused rapid shrinking of rainforest. Road construction, logging activities, monoculture plantation, the opening of new human settlements, and mining concessions occur in almost all parts of West Papua both along the coastal and remote mountainous areas. 

The Covid Pandemic that curbs most of the economic activities around the world did not stop that rapid deforestation of West Papua's land. Tropical forest of West Papua can still be preserved. One of the ways to do that is by developing environmentally friendly tourism.

A road between green rainforest in Tambrauw mountains

In 2018, local government of Tambrauw regency in bird's head (vogelkop) region of Papua Barat province declared their territory as the regency of conservation. With this declaration, the local government of Tambrauw will automatically reject any applications for permits on logging, plantation and mining operations. 

Environmentally friendly tourism is seen as one of the alternative income generation schemes for local communities. Agriculture is also encouraged by the government. 

The capital of Tambrauw regency is Fef town which is a valley surrounded by hills and mountains of Tambrauw. There are some guesthouses for tourists who want to stay while enjoying birdwatching and wildlife watching activities in Tambrauw. 

flight route to Wondama regency in West Papua province of Indonesia
Flight route to Wondama (Wasior town)

Another important rainforest area is Wondama regency. Its capital is Rasiei which is an integral part of Wasior town. Tourists who travel to Wasior can enjoy both rainforest and marine tourism. Wondama has got a lot of islands. Visitors can start their exploration of the tropical rainforest inside the Wondiboy nature reserve and then continue their activity by enjoying swimming and snorkeling in Yoop and Roon islands. Wasior town can be visited by airplane from Manokwari city. There are several flights in a week served by Susi Air from Rendani Airport in Manokwari to Wasior town. Some passenger ships travel between Wasior and Manokwari harbours every week too. Hotels, guesthouses, shops, and restaurants can be found in Wasior town. For communicating with the outer world, visitors need to buy telkomsel mobile phone simcard in town to get 4G internet connections. 

wildlife watching trip in Indonesia
Cuscus Possum in the forest of Manokwari

Manokwari city as the capital of Papua Barat province is the main gate for visitors who want to enjoy birdwatching and sightseeing in Arfak mountains. The landscape of Anggi lakes is very beautiful. Visitors can visit Anggi by 4WD car. Rhododenron, passion flowers, canna are some of the many flower plants that grow along the banks of Lake Anggi Giji and Lake Anggi Gida. Nephentes in this elevation looks different from the one in a karst in Kabui bay of Raja Ampat. 

rainforest tourism in Arfak range
Arfak mountains as seen from Rendani airport of Manokwari

Most visitors go to Mokwam region (Kwau village and Syioubri village) to watch birds of paradise. Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black Sicklebill as well as Vogelkop Bowerbird of Paradise are some of the many birds that visitors can watch while hiking in the forest of Arfak mountains. 

birdwatching in Raja Ampat islands
Red Bird of Paradise

Raja Ampat is also a highly recommended destination for rainforest tourism. Waigeo island is where most visitors go to watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise. Actually, visitors can watch a lot of other animals there from colorful butterflies to soa-soa monitor lizard and green turtles. In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, visitors can go hiking in hills or coastal areas of Waigeo to watch wildlife. 

Most of the rainforest tourism activities in West Papua are served by local people especially the indigenous people who live near the forest. They work as local guides, cooks, porters and suppliers of food materials to visitors. They earn money when tourists visit their forest to watch tropical birds and other wild animals.

Environmentally friendly tourism is an alternative income generation scheme which can help indigenous people improve their economic life and at the same time bring in foreign exchange to government's cofers.

This can be a win-win solution both for the rulers of this country and the indigenous people who have lived in their traditional lands for centuries. by Charles Roring - Email: & Whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Please, support this blog by buying art drawing or illustration of birds, flowers, baby turtle that are printed on t-shirts, tank-tops, laptop skin, cell phone case, spiral notebook, poster, coaster, and a lot more. They are available at Wildlife Artshop in my redbubble webpages.

baby turtle was crawling to the sea
Illustration of Baby Turtle Crawling to the Sea

Water colour painting of paradise birds for sale in redbubble
Lesser Birds of Paradise in the forest of West Papua - watercolour pencil on paper

flower painting for home decor for sale
Water Lily - a framed art print

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