Mt. Trikora (& Baliem Valley & Bird of Paradise)
14 days/ 13 nights from/to Jayapura
Travelling to remote areas of Papua is difficult, the conditions are harsh, there is no comfort at all. If you can handle such conditions, you will enjoy this trip. If you have any doubts, ask us before you book it.
Mount Trikora, until 1963 Wilhelmina Peak, is an approximately 4.730 m high mountain in the eastern part of the Jayawijaya mountains in the highlands of Papua. Behind Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) at 4,884 m, it is either the second or third highest mountain of the Australasian continent. As such it appeared and still appears on some Second Seven Summit lists.
In a long but doable tour, we want to reach Mt. Trikora starting from Indonesia’s highest lake, Lake Habema. Before and after our tour, we will spend several interesting days in the Baliem Valley, the home of the Dani and Lani tribes. Here we will also participate in a big pig festival in a remote Dani settlement. In the end of our journey, we will visit a bird sanctuary located at the North Coast, a region famous for its’ many types of bird of paradise.
Tour highlights: Baliem Valley, Lake Habema, trekking of several days’ duration in absolutely untouched nature, Trikora summit, pig festival, birds of paradise.
Jayapura – Wamena & Visit of Wamena market
In the morning arrival in Jayapura and short flight to Wamena. Lunch and visit of the local market in Wamena. Especially Dani women go to the market place every morning to sell fruit and vegetables. But the market is also the main trading place for the sought-after wild boars. Transfer to The Baliem Valley Resort, Dinner at the Resort.
Trekking South Baliem Gorge (day tour 6)
This day is for warming up. In the morning, drive to the southern Baliem Valley past Wamena. By the village of Sogogmo, not quite 2 miles outside Kurima, the road ends. This is where our hike along the huge Baliem river starts. First we cross the roaring Baliem river on a traditional suspension bridge. We continue through romantic Dani settlements with their terraced fields and wild sugar cane groves. Throughout the hike we enjoy magnificent views of the river and the narrow valley. Around noon we get to the church square of Seinma, where we eat our picnic lunch surrounded by stunning scenery.
Outside Kurima we cross the river again on a wild and romantic suspension bridge. To return to our vehicle we need to cross a few side valleys. There will be many unique photo opportunities today. We get back to the resort in late afternoon.
This tour should start early in the morning. Depending on the weather (rain!) the drive through the tall rainforests can be problematic! A 3-hour drive (about 55 miles) from the resort to the lake at about 50,000 feet altitude. We will pass all the vegetation zones of Equatorial New Guinea. The often savannah-like landscape of the wide bottom of the Baliem Valley gives way to gigantic mountain cloud forests and rainforests with truly monstrous tree ferns and screw pines. The giant trees are overgrown with moss, lichen and climbing plants – a wonderfully unique flora. Lake Habbema is located in the middle of a large upland moor, surrounded by magical meadows full of dwarf cypresses, little tree ferns, rhododendron and many different types of orchid. This beautiful nature will stay with us during the next couple of days. If the weather is nice we will already have spectacular views of the peak of nearby Mount Trikora. After arrival, 2-3 hours trekking to our first tent camp.
Full day trekking through untouched valleys full of tree ferns until we reach Somalak Cave. We will build our tents right next to the cave. The spacious cave itself will be used as our kitchen and the porters will sleep here, too. This cave was first used as a base camp in 1905 from Lorentz during his first expeditions in the area and has since then served as an important camp for all expeditions to Mt. Trikora.
Today we have time. After a short 2-3 hour trekking we will reach our base camp in approximately 4,100 m. From here we already have spectacular views over vast parts of the central highlands and the Baliem Valley. Only a few porters accompany us. Most porters will stay at the cave and await our return.
Today, we have to get up at the break of dawn and start our final approach to the summit. Right at the beginning we have to surmount a very steep grass wall, probably the most difficult part of today’s climb. After the grass wall the way is rather easy, but long and it should take us around 5 hours to reach the summit ridge. The last few meters to the summit (summit crag) are difficult again and only possible for professional mountain climbers with respective equipment (we do not provide). In the morning, the weather is usually good but in afternoon rain clouds often appear. Therefore, we should quickly begin with our descent. If we have enough time, we can walk a little detour to an old plane wreckage. In the late afternoon we will be back at our base camp.
For lunch we want to be back at the Somalak Cave. Here we will meet the other porters again and continue our descent back to Lake Habema. Tent camp later in the afternoon in a small valley full of tree ferns.
Full day trekking to Lake Habema. Tent camp in afternoon.
Around noon we want to be back at Lake Habema and the road. From here we will be picked up by 4x4s again and return to The Baliem Valley Resort, where a first hot shower awaits us.
Traditional pig festival (day tour 3)
Traditional one-day pig festival in a traditional Dani village, either in the resort grounds or in the Jiwika region. Many adorned people from the Dani tribe in traditional clothing will take part in the festival. Such food celebrations with hot stones and earth pits are probably the most interesting part of a trip to New Guinea. If you like taking photos and videos you will certainly get your money’s worth today! It is difficult to describe what’s so unique about these food celebrations; you will have to see and experience it for yourself. Lunch will be a picnic in the village. If you like you can taste the food from the traditional earth pit afterwards. The freshly cooked pork and sweet potatoes are delicious! Back to the Resort in the late afternoon.
Salt Spring, Kurulu Mummy, traditional Dani hamlet (day tour 2)
In the morning, one-hour trip to Jiwikia, in the middle of the Baliem Valley. Start of a one-hour uphill hike (approx. 1,000 feet altitude difference) through stunning mountain rainforest to the traditional salt spring of the Dani tribe. Local women dressed in traditional tribal clothes will accompany us and show us their ancestral salt production techniques. After the walk down we will take a picnic lunch at the foot of the mountain. We will then walk to the nearby Kurulu village where you can admire the ancient mummy of the famous Dugum clan. Afterwards, the women show us how they process the brine they extracted from the spring. We will see more quaint and picturesque Dani homesteads. Wherever we go, friendly Papuans offers their arts and craft, weapons, and all kinds of curiosities for sale. Return to the resort in the afternoon.
Wamena – Jayapura – Nimbokrang (Bird of Paradise)
In the morning, transfer to Wamena and flight to Jayapura. Directly after arrival, transfer to Nimbokrang (1,5 hour drive) to a small guesthouse with neighbouring bird sanctuary. The owner of the guesthouse, Mr. Alex, an ornithologist, is very well known for his guided tours to the birds of paradise. After a quick lunch, prepared by Mr. Alex’s family, we directly start with our first birding tour in the early afternoon. Walking in the forest is easy, more important is a little patience. In this forest several types of bird of paradise can be seen, among which are the Lesser Bird of Paradise, the King BoP, and the 12 Wire BoP. Almost daily, male bird of paradise come to their trees to impress and attract females with their singing and dancing. The chance to see one or more different types of bird of paradise on this guided tour is high. Only when there is rain the birds do not show up. In the evening, dinner and overnight at the guesthouse. The guesthouse has simple but clean bedrooms which are all equipped with private bathrooms, mosquito nets, and fan.
Nimbokrang – Jayapura
In the very early morning, with the break of dawn, we enter the forest once more. The very early morning hours are the best time to see the birds of paradise but during our walk through the forest we will realize that many other birds are also active at this time of day. We have time and there is no need to rush. Return to guesthouse in late morning and transfer back to Sentani where we directly continue with a boat tour on Lake Sentani. In afternoon, check in at Hotel Horex in Sentani.
After breakfast, transfer to Jayapura airport. Departure to your next destination.
Prices in EUR per person sharing a double room
Price per Person2 persons
3.490 Single supplement +€ 400
Price per person3-6 persons
3.090 single supplement +€ 400
Price per personSingle traveller
on request single room included