Discover the rich culture and incredible biodiversity of West Papua on this rugged, 12-day adventure. Get to know the people of the Dani tribe as you're welcomed into remote villages and embark on short, scenic hikes to the sweeping highlands and rushing rivers of the Wamena Valley. Then it's time to set out on an unforgettable multi-day trek through the jungle, exploring your lush environs by day and camping under the stars by night. After celebrating your achievements at a local Dani Pig Festival, transfer to Nimbokrang to search for the island's spectacular birds-of-paradise and end your adventure with a scenic boat trip across Lake Sentani.

Highlights

  • Learn about the rich culture & daily life of Papua's Dani tribe
  • Embark on a multi-day trek through jungles & valleys
  • Join a traditional Dani Pig Festival
  • Search for the rare & colorful bird-of-paradise
  • Take a scenic boat ride across Lake Sentani

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Jayapura, Transfer to Wamena Wamena
Day 2 Trekking & Village Life in Jiwikia Wamena
Day 3 Trek to Sogogmo & Seinma  Wamena
Day 4 Excursion to the Northern Baliem Valley & Kotilola Cave Wamena
Day 5 Trek to Lake Habema Wamena
Day 6 Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 1 Wamena
Day 7 Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 2 Wamena
Day 8 Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 3 Wamena
Day 9 Traditional Pig Festival with the Dani People Wamena
Day 10 Fly to Jayapura, Transfer to Nimbokrang & Bird Sanctuary Nimbokrang
Day 11 Transfer to Sentani, Boat Trip on Lake Sentani Sentani
Day 12 Transfer to Jayapura & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Jayapura, Transfer to Wamena

A little boy welcomes you to Papua
A local child welcomes you to Papua

Welcome to West Papua! In the morning, you'll arrive at Jayapura and take a short flight to Wamena. Upon arrival, have lunch and visit the local market of Wamena where the Dani women go every morning to sell their fruit and vegetables. This market is also the main trading place for the area's highly sought-after wild boars.

In the afternoon, your driver will transfer you to the Baliem Valley Resort, where you can get settled in and enjoy dinner before turning in for the night.

Day 2: Trekking & Village Life in Jiwikia

A Dani woman is carrying her baby inside a string bag called 'Noken'
A Dani woman carries her baby inside a string bag known as a noken

This morning, you'll meet your driver for the hour's drive to Jiwikia, in the middle of the Baliem Valley. Start the first hike of your trip with a one-hour uphill trek through the stunning mountain rainforest to reach the traditional salt spring of the Dani tribe. Local women dressed in traditional tribal clothes will accompany you and demonstrate their ancestral salt production techniques.

After the descent, enjoy a picnic lunch at the foot of the mountain before walking to the nearby village of Kurulu. Here you can admire the ancient mummy of the famous Dugum clan. Afterward, the local women will show you how they process the brine extracted from the spring, and you'll have the chance to see more picturesque Dani homesteads. Wherever you go, friendly Papuans offer their arts and crafts, weapons, and all kinds of curiosities for sale for you to bring home as souvenirs.

In the afternoon, your driver will be waiting to return you to the resort.

Day 3: Trek to Sogogmo & Seinma 

Beautiful panorama of Baliem Valley
A beautiful panorama of Baliem Valley

After breakfast, your driver will take you through the southern Baliem Valley past Wamena. Near the village of Sogogmo, just a few miles outside Kurima, the road ends, and your hike along the vast Baliem River begins. Set out across the roaring waters on a traditional suspension bridge, and continue through romantic Dani settlements with their terraced fields and wild sugar cane groves.

Throughout the hike, you will be able to enjoy magnificent views of the river and the narrow valley. Around noon you reach the church square of Seinma, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by stunning scenery. On the way back, you'll cross a few side valleys and be presented with countless photo opportunities en route. Arriving back at the resort in the late afternoon, you'll have the remainder of the day free to relax.

Day 4: Excursion to the Northern Baliem Valley & Kotilola Cave

Beautiful Scene of Wamena
The rugged landscapes of Wamena

Today's drive takes you to the northern part of the Baliem Valley via Jiwika and Kurulu. A few miles beyond Kurulu, you'll find the famous Kotilola Cave with its gigantic stalactites and stalagmites. This magnificent cavern has collapsed in places, promoting lush vegetation. After exploring the cave, you'll continue driving north to the market town of Uwosilomo, where even more photo opportunities await.

Continue high up into the mountains to the Pass Valley. Along the way, the road is lined with dense mountain rainforest with fantastic lush vegetation. Find a scenic stop to have your picnic lunch, and take a short excursion to see some of the rare local flora. On the way back, a short detour takes you to Meagaima, where you can see the mummy of a tribal chief in a small village on the Baliem River. To reach this tucked-away village, allow for a 30-minute walk.

Your driver will be waiting in the afternoon to transfer you back to the resort,

Day 5: Trek to Lake Habema

Camping in Lake Habema
Set up camp on the shores of Lake Habema

Wake up early this morning for the start of your multi-day trekking adventure! Depending on the weather, the drive through the tall rainforests can be a rugged one. The 55-mile (88 km) journey from the resort brings you to Lake Habema, at an altitude of about 10,500 feet (3,200 m). On the way, you'll pass all the vegetation zones of Equatorial New Guinea, from the savannah-like landscape of the Baliem Valley floor to mountain cloud forests and rainforests with enormous tree ferns and screw pines. The giant trees are overgrown with moss, lichen, and climbing plants—creating a wonderfully unique ecosystem of flora.

Lake Habema is located in the middle of a large highland moor, surrounded by magical meadows full of dwarf cypresses, tree ferns, rhododendron, and many different types of orchids. If the weather is nice, you will have spectacular views of the peak of nearby Mount Trikora. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake in this highland landscape, and if conditions allow, take an excursion into the surrounding area. In the evening, you'll get settled into your tent and fall asleep to the sounds of nature. 

Day 6: Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 1

Start your three-day trek into the Wamena Valley

In the morning, you'll have some free time to enjoy the unique landscape of Lake Habema. Then it's time to set out on your trek back to Wamena. The first section follows the Ibele River on its way down to the valley. The mountainous forest up here is untouched, and you'll have the trail all to yourselves. In the afternoon, you'll reach a clearing in the forest, and accompanied by your guide, cook, and porters, you'll set up camp and spend another night in the forest. 

Day 7: Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 2

Lani Tribe is often labelled as Western Dani
Members of the Lani tribe, also known as the western Dani

Today, continue your trek towards Wamena. Around noon, you'll leave the forest and reach the populated Baliem Valley. Walk past the first small settlements of the Lani tribe and take this opportunity to experience the scenes of rural life. Enjoy a lunch break next to the Ibele River, which is also a refreshing spot for a quick swim. Later, you'll set up camp in a small settlement along the route.

Day 8: Jungle Trek Towards Wamena - Day 3

A typical Papuan village

Today, enjoy a half-day of trekking to reach a small missionary station with an airfield—an outpost that once served as the basecamp for the first explorers of the Baliem Valley. From here, the road starts again and you will be picked up by car for the two-hour drive back to the resort, where you'll enjoy a well-deserved dinner and a relaxing evening.

Day 9: Traditional Pig Festival with the Dani People

Dani people during pig festival
Dani people prepare for their pig festival

Today, participate in a traditional one-day pig festival, either on the resort grounds or in a traditional Dani village nearby. Many locals from the Dani tribe, dressed up in traditional clothing, will take part in the festival. These food celebrations with hot stones and earth pits are a highlight of any visit to West Papua. If you like taking photos and videos you will certainly get your money’s worth today! It is difficult to describe what is so unique about these food celebrations; you will have to see and experience it for yourself. Lunch will be a picnic in the village. The curious are welcome to taste the food from the traditional earth pit afterward—don't forget to sample the freshly cooked pork and delicious sweet potatoes.

Day 10: Fly to Jayapura, Transfer to Nimbokrang & Bird Sanctuary

Cendrawasih is often called as Bird of Paradise
Search for Papua's spectacular bird-of-paradise

Bid Wamena farewell this morning as you transfer to the airport and catch a flight back to Jayapura. Upon arrival, you'll be met by your driver and transferred two hours west to Nimbokrang. Here you'll check into a small guesthouse with a neighboring bird sanctuary. The owner of the guesthouse, Mr. Alex, is a well-known ornithologist who offers guided tours to see the island's most famous emblem—the colorful bird-of-paradise. After a quick lunch prepared by Mr. Alex’s family, you'll set out on foot for your first birding tour to search for these spectacular creatures.

Walking in the beautiful forest is the easy part—the more important aspect is practicing a little patience! This area is home to several bird-of-paradise varieties, including the lesser bird-of-paradise, the king bird-of-paradise, and the twelve-wired bird-of-paradise. Almost daily, the males of the species put on incredible shows to impress and attract females with their singing and dancing. If the weather is good, you have an excellent chance of spotting multiple varieties of the birds and their flamboyant mating dances.

In the evening, you'll enjoy dinner and overnight at the guesthouse, which offers simple but clean bedrooms complete with private bathrooms, mosquito nets, and fans.

Day 11: Transfer to Sentani, Boat Trip on Lake Sentani

Lake Sentani
The lush surrounds of Lake Sentani

Rise early this morning and enter the forest once more at the break of dawn. The very early morning is the best time to see the birds-of-paradise, as well as many other species. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy another guided birdwatching experience before heading back to the guesthouse in the late morning.

Then it's time to say your goodbyes and transfer to Sentani, where you'll embark on a scenic boat tour on Lake Sentani. In the afternoon, check into your accommodations at the Hotel Horex and enjoy your final night in Papua.

Day 12: Transfer to Jayapura & Departure

Sunset over Jayapura

After breakfast, a private transfer takes you to Jayapura Airport to catch your onward flight. Safe travels!

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