Thursday, February 11, 2010

What you need when traveling inside rainforest

I like going into the tropical rainforest of Papua. I have been doing it since I was in elementary school. Green trees, exotic wild life, sounds of beautiful birds always attract my attention. Since the beginning of this year I began escorting tourists to the Table Mountain of Manokwari. Most often when we are in the middle of the forest, we will need a machete to create pathway when we see that the bush a head of us is impenetrable. We also need it to cut wood for making tents and campfire. I always suggest foreign tourists to set up camps near a village. But it is not always possible. 
For tourists who are in the middle of the jungle, the safest place to build a camp is the river bank. Why? Because when we stay in the forest for several days, we will need water, we need to cook some food and we need to clean our body. When we feel that our staying time in the forest is over, we need water from the river to put out the fire completely to make sure that it will not spread into big fire that can cause dangerous forest fire.
So, based on that explanation, if we stay inside the forest for several days, besides bringing some machetes, we will need a tent, some small rope, and eating and cooking utensils. Most tourists will not go deeper into the jungle but for nature lovers, biologists, or researchers, they will need to go further into the interior region of the Papuan mountains where the forest is still in its pristine condition and no hunters or villagers around. If it is the case then we need GPS equipment, or map, satellite phone, head light, torch, several sleeping bags and enough food.
From my personal experience, I always ask one or two local Papuan as forest guides who can also use their skills in making traps to catch small but edible animals that we can eat when we are running out of food in the forest. But we must always keep in mind that we must minimize any destruction when we travel inside the forest by not cutting bush if it is not necessary, by not throwing plastic garbage and by not killing animals except for food. Actually there are many foods inside the forest such as fruits, edible tubers, vegetables, and fish, so hunting wild animals such as boars, cuscus, soa-soa, tree kangaroo or deer must not be done.

camping-in-manokwari.jpg Some tourists bring anti malaria pills and first aid kit. Indigenous Papua know a number of plant species for curing malaria, and other tropical diseases, I usually ask them to explain these medicinal herbs to the tourists whom I escort with the Papuan guide when we walk in the forest. The last time when I accompanied an Indian- Norwegian student, my Papuan colleague showed her a tree whose resin has the merit of curing asthma. When he cut its bark, she tastes some of the resin hoping that it can cure the disease that she suffers from.
The last but not the least, we need to bring digital camera or video recorder to make some documentation for our trip. by Charles Roring
Also read: Traveling Inside the Tropical Rainforest of the Table Mountain in Manokwari Papua