Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hiking and Birdwatching in Sorong of West Papua

Malagufuk village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency is a new destination for tourists who want to explore the biodiversity of West Papua's rainforest. The valley is the natural habitat of birds, reptiles, insects, mammals and marsupials.
a male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)

Birdwatching
Tropical birds of New Guinea that thrive in lowland rainforest can be seen in the valley. Shining flycatcher (Myagra alecto), Sulphur crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), Pinon Imperial Pigion (Ducula pinon), Goliath Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus), Western crowned pigeon (Goura cristata), Blyth's hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus), Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Moustached Tree Swift, and Lesser birds of paradise (Paradisaea minora) are some of the many birds of New Guinea that visitors can watch while walking through the forest.
Western-crowned Pigeon
Hiking through the rainforest of Klasow valley is easy because the land is flat. However, the footpath to the display tree of Lesser Birds of Paradise is steep and slippery. It is approximately one hour on foot from the village. Visitors have to walk for at least 1 hour to reach the lek of the birds that is located near Klasow river.
Visitors can watch the birds in the mornings and in the evenings. Male lesser birds of paradise compete against one another to win the heart of female birds.
When the weather is good, the courtship dance performance usually lasts for 3 hours from 6 to 9 a.m.
After watching the paradise birds, visitors could walk back to the village and do birdwatching along the way. Binoculars, spotting scopes and laser pointer will be very useful during the morning walk.
Lesser Birds of Paradise
Leg-cramps and muscle pain is not very common among tourists but there was one or two cases where a tourist experienced it. Dehydration, salt depletion and fatigue of long day on the trail caused these severe leg cramps. When I was told about it, I immediately stopped the hiking tour and returned to our tents. In our campsite I cooked instant noodle and gave it to our guest.  The soup of the noodle contains salt that would reduce the cramp. The noodle soup resupplies our body with new electrolytes. To ease the soreness or pain in the muscles and joints, I gave gentle massage using coconut oil. I applied the oil on my palms, warmed them up on ember and then gave the relaxing massage to the tensed musles.
Massage also increases the flow of blood that brings nutrients and oxygen to underlying tissues. It relieves muscle tension, and stiffness.
The clearing area around the jungle village is a good place for birding in the afternoon particularly between 16.00 to 18.00 local time. Birds such as friarbird, moustached tree swift, large fig parrot, red cheek parrot, and black lorry often fly and perch in the nearby trees. Children in the village with their sharper eyes can spot birds in distant trees faster than most of the visitors.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra
What you need to bring:
  • Buy food such as instant noodle, biscuits, bread, canned fish, and some bottles of mineral waters from Sorong city that you can quickly prepare and consume.
  • Water shoes or trekking shoes and long sleeve clothing that will protect you from insect bites when you sleep.
  • Sleeping bags
  • Torch
  • Insect repellent lotion. Apply it on your skin, and the clothes that cover your body, including areas over your neck, armpits, chest, crotch and ankle. This is very important to protect you from tiny insects that can go through your clothes and bite your skin. 
  • Bring binoculars or digital camera with super telephoto lens if you want to take pictures of the animals that live in the jungle.
  • Extra batteries for your camera.

Klasow valley in the east of Sorong city

Itinerary of Rainforest Tour:
Day 1
Transfer from Sorong city to Klasow valley. You will stay in a basecamp in the jungle. Birding can be done directly along a small river. Local guides will accompany you to have a night walk in the jungle to find glowing mushrooms or wallaby. Sometimes Papuan frogmouth calls near the camp. If local guides hear them they could call to the bird to come closer to the camp.

Day 2
Early in the morning, after breakfast, you will leave your camp to walk deeper into the jungle to explore its biodiversity. Deer, porcupine, wild pigs and wallaby live in the jungle of the valley. At night, after dinner, local guide can accompany you to find cuscus possum that usually comes out at night to find food or to mate.
Day 3
We will go trekking and birding in Klaglas area.
Day 4
This is your last birding day, the easiest way to explore the forest is to walk around the forest through old logging tracks that are located near the village. Birds usually come to villagers' garden to find grains such as corn, peanuts and green beans.
In the afternoon 4WD pick up truck will transfer you back to Sorong city.
Unpaved road leading to Klasow valley

Costs:
On the average, the cost is very expensive if visitor travels alone.  Traveling in a group of 3 or 4 people will make the price cheaper.

Klasow valley is located in the west of Sorong city. Visitors need to rent a 4WD Pick-up truck to reach the valley. You could contact me if you want a more customized trips and different itinerary. Just send an email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or text message to my cell phone 006281332245180. I will be happy to arrange your trip to Klasow valley and other parts of West Papua. written by Charles Roring.