Pristine jungle, white sandy beaches, breathtaking highlands and friendly locals .
West Papua’s capital is located at a splendid bay. Manokwari, ‘old village’ in local language Numforese, is better known as the ‘fruit city’. Its people (population 130.000) predominantly live of the trade in fish, wood and fruit.
The exquisite nature of Manokwari’s direct surroundings and the proximity of the Arfak Mountains, the Anggi Lakes and the Kebar Valley, make Manokwari the ideal destination for nature lovers and adventurers. Divers and snorkelers will appreciate the surrounding clear blue waters of the Pacific and the islands of Lemon, Raimuti and Mansinam. There are plenty of coral reef sites that stretch from the northern coast, along the Dore bay and the southern coast to Cendrawasih bay. We recommend checking out the website of Abasi Surfing Club if you would like to go snorkelling or (free)diving. Don’t forget to bring your own snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel and fins)!
Manokwari is also the gateway for trekkings to areas like the Arfak Mountains, Kebar Valley and the Tambrauw regency. From Manokwari’s main harbour, you can also take ferries or fastboats to Numfor and Biak. Manokwari has an airport that frequented daily by several Indonesian air carriers.
For up-to-date information about birding trips around Manokwari, we highly recommend checking out Charles Roring’s blog birdingbird.com.
The Raja Ampat (‘Four Kings’) archipelago is nothing less than paradise: covered in bright green rainforest and lined with white sandy beaches. The island group is often mentioned because of the discovery of several new fish species in its colorful tropical waters.
The “Raja Ampat Marine Park” nature reserve offers excellent opportunities to divers and snorkelers to admire the marine life; dolphins, turtles, manta rays, pilot whales and so much more. At Mansuar, a neighboring island to Gam, you can arrange scuba diving or snorkeling trips with a respected dive center.
By arranging your overnight stays through our Microtourism Raja Ampat or Stay Raja Ampat partners, you will support the local community based holiday concept that lets local Papuan people benefit from their own efforts.
Trips to the islands, including meals, transport, accommodation and local guide can be arranged and customized according to your wishes.
A water taxi ferries from Pasir Putih to the tropical island of Mansinam. Missionaries Ottow and Geisler were the first men to set foot on the land here and a beachside monument serves as a reminder. When travelling along the coast by ‘prahu’ (a small boat made from a carved out tree trunk), do stop at one of its deserted beaches to swim or snorkle in the warm waters. In the relatively shallow ocean waters near the coastline you can find an easily accessible wreck of a Japanese WWII patrol boat.
Tambrauw regency is located at the north of the Bird’s Head province and can be reached from both Sorong and Manokwari, but chartering a 4WD from Sorong is the easiest and quickest way.
Although Fef is the capital town of the regency, most activities are concentrated at Sausapor, a small town on the northern coast.
The area is famous for its variety in birdspecies and while hiking along the Syugrar river, through Ases valley or along the Cuan river you will definitely spot a lot of birdspecies and probably also cuscus possums, birdwing butterflies, deers, wild pigs, cassowary birds and colorful beetles.
Klasow valley, located in the Sorong regency, is a fantastic destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers. During your trip to the valley, you can spot Lesser Birds of Paradise, Twelve Wired Birds of Paradise, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Blyth’s hornbills, Spotted Goshawks, Golden Myna’s and other tropical birds that have Klasow as their natural habitat.
From Sorong, it takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach the valley by a 4WD car followed by 2 hours on foot to reach the guesthouse that is in the middle of the jungle in the village of Malagufuk.
Between Manokwari and the island of Biak lies the beautiful and unspoiled island of Numfor. Few tourists have visited this tropical and hospitable island. Surrounded by corals and tropical waters, the indigenous Papuan people live primarily off fishery and the cultivation of coconuts. The Numfor inlands show pristine jungle where you can discover birds of paradise, reptiles and tree kangaroos. This is also the habitat of the very rare Paradise Kingfisher!
It is also possible to travel through the extended mangrove forests and local guides are happy to take you on a daytrip to the uninhabited island of Manem. Trips to Numfor, including transport, meals, accommodation, guide and excursions can be arranged and customized according to your wishes by our eco-tourism network partners.
In Kebar Valley, Papuans still live in traditional villages, such as Asiti and Senopi, although modern developments are also on their way. Kebar Valley is a short 20 minute flight away from Manokwari and is very much worth visiting on a tour around the Birds Head peninsula. Here you will encounter original ‘adat’ (custom) of the indigenous Papua people and they are happy to show you how they live in harmony with the surrounding nature.
The Kebar Valley is known for the vibrant green colours of the mountains and grassy fields. A priest once called Kebar Valley “God’s backyard” because he so enjoyed its magnificent grasslands, rainforest, raging rivers and countless bird and wildlife species just waiting to be discovered.
Our eco-tourism network partners can arrange trips to Kebar Valley for you on request, including meals, transport, accommodation and a local guide.
From Manokwari, a two hour drive by jeep will bring you to the foot of the Arfak mountains; highlands with mountain peaks that reach up to 2900 meters. Covered with pristine jungle and inhabited by hospitable locals, this is the place to be for nature lovers to enjoy the indigenous forests and wildlife. Scientists and adventurers travel here from all over the world, just to catch a glimpse of the birds of paradise, the tree kangaroos or the world’s biggest butterfly; the infamous Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly.
The Arfak Nature Reserve definitely holds the world’s biggest treasure in rare and endemic flora and fauna, covering almost 63.000 ha. New species of animals and insects are still discovered here regularly. Local guide Zeth Wonggor is specialized in tracing the famous Bower bird, which attempts to seduce the female by gathering and displaying all kinds of berries and shiny objects in its nest. You can spend the night at the Arfak guesthouse which is situated in the jungle, close to the village of Mokwam, or at one of the other guesthouses in the area. Trips including meals, accommodation, transport and professional guiding services can be arranged and customized to your wishes by through our eco-tourism network partners.
For avid explorers anxious to roam the jungle for a longer period of time, the Anggi lakes in the Arfak mountains are an excellent destination to travel to. Trekkings here from Manokwari take around four days (one way). Two-day trekkings can be arranged by driving to Ransiki from Manokwari and starting the walk to the Anggi lakes from there. The local mountain climate is cool, making warm clothes and a comfortable sleeping bag essential.
The Anggi lakes offer dense, ancient rainforests with a broad diversity in wildlife and plants, including many types of orchids, butterflies and birds, amongst which the Bower birds. Several trails cross the surrounding villages. Endurance, willingness to accept extremes and an adventurous spirit are key requirements for travelers in this rugged area. Never travel without a guide. If you are keen to stay up to speed with the local guides, we recommend you to hire a porter. Ask your guide for details.