Benny Mambrasar

Benny Mambrasar - Waigeo Bird of Paradise guide

Benny Mambrasar is specialist birding guide based at Saporkren on Waigeo, where he can take you to see (among others) both Red and Wilson’s Birds of Paradise.

Wilson’s and Red Birds of Paradise tours cost IDR 200,000 per person, plus a payment of IDR 300,000 for the guide.

Benny has excellent English, an encyclopedic knowledge of West Papuan bird species and can organise birding tours anywhere in West Papua, including the highlands.

A Kabui Bay birding tour by boat is also available and costs IDR 2,000,000 per group.

Phone: +6285244871706

Email: None

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  1. Carole McIvor on

    Four of us hired Bennie to take us to see the Red & Wilson’s BOP. We were told to be ready to depart at 5 AM for an uphill 1.5 mile walk to the Red BOP site. The walk began on the hilly paved road but quickly tuned off onto an unpaved limestone track where two of us used walking sticks to assist the steady climb in pitch blackness. All possessed flashlights, reasonable hiking shoes and roughly 1 liter of water each. We reached the Red BOP display area shortly after dawn began breaking and observed the display from some 50-60 ft underneath the display tree as expected. We returned to the main track and continued on a stated one hour walk in daylight to the Wilson’s blind. Wilson’s was visable low to the ground cleaning leaves from his display area on our arrival at the blind on a subsidiary track off the main one. We observed for about 30 minutes watching one or more individual males visit the area in front of the blind 4 times. The viewing was the culmination of a lifetime dream for me. Benny showed us what he said he would and also pointed out about 10 additional taxa including the grey-headed goshawk, Blyth’s hornbill, Western crowned pigeon, palm and sulphur-crested cockatoos, and very brief looks at two more primitive BOP (brown-headed crow, glossy manucode). We clearly got our money’s worth and Benny really knows his birds. Two of our four hikers began to have serious difficulties on the long hike out. The main track was deeply eroded in places and very slippery from finely pulverized limestone pebbles rolling under foot as well as from extreme slipperiness caused by at least three types of extensive algal cover. The day heated up quickly and we lacked sufficient water. One hiker exacerabated a known knee weakness but limped out assisted only by a fellow hiker. A second hiker suffered from heat exhaustion near the end of the hike and had to be assisted out on a motorbike called in by Benny for that purpose. What was described as a 5-hr roundtrip hike turned out to be 6.5 – 7 hours with inadequate food and water. The take-home message is twofold: (1) the trek is not a stroll or even a gentle climb on a maintained trail. Rather it is a true hike of moderate to high difficulty requiring adequate preparation by the hikers and a more complete and honest disclosure of trail conditions by the guide; and (2) carry nutritious snacks and at least 2 liters of water or electrolyte-enhanced sports drink per person, and plan on a round trip of 6-8 hours depending on abilities and desired thoroughness of coverage of birds other than the two target birds of paradise.

  2. Kim Steinberg on

    Hello :-)

    How do I get hold of Benny? We are trveling there this Sep/Oct and I am wanting to ask him questions about birding in the area

    1. Hi Kim

      if you want to contact Benny prior to arriving in Raja Ampat, then the phone number provided above is your only option. Note that most folks in Raja Ampat use prepaid phone accounts and are not able to send SMS or make calls to international numbers, so calling is probably your best option.

      If you don’t have any luck, all of the homestays near Waisai have specialist birding guides that can show you everything that Benny can.

      This article also has a lot more info on birding in Raja Ampat.

  3. Steve Anyon-Smith on

    Benny is an excellent guy and knows the larger birds of the forest very well. Of course the two BOPs are the most desirable birds and these are well staked out by Benny. He also took us to a different site to see western crowned pigeon and brown-headed crow. Benny is very obliging and relaxed and his fees are more than reasonable. Like so many bird guides in poorer countries, he could do with an old pair of binoculars. So if anyone is planning to go birding on Waigeo, Benny would be very happy if you had an old pair to donate – or trade for some guiding, I guess. Likewise it is hardly surprising when local guides have less knowledge about small passerines – when they’ve never seen a field guide. Full marks to Benny for doing his bit to help save the habitat of birds near Saporkren village!!

  4. Rebecca and Patrick Childress on

    We went to see the WIlsons Birds of Paradise since we already saw the Red Birds in another village but wanted to see more. Benny was quick to respond by text, and gave us a fair price ( more fair than other guides we contacted) for the tour. (as published here). He was a very nice comfortable guy to hang around with, who speaks pretty good English. He knew the names of every bird we saw, and was great at calling in the Wilson Birds to the Hide. I recommend him..he is an honest, all round good guy, loves what he is doing, and undoubtedly will become one of the great birders of Waigeo. I highly recommend seeing both the Reds and the Wilsons with him because of his English, and also due to the great hides he has set up that bring you very close to the birds! You don’t even need binoculars for the Wilsons! (not sure about the Reds)

    The birds are unbelievable. Anyone who comes to Raja Ampat and doesn’t see both of these birds is missing something very special about the area! IN 10 years they may not be here anymore! To think that this is the only place in the world we can see them, and we got to see them without a week long expedition. Benny has done a great thing..bring rare birds to people like us who could never walk far enough or long enough to find them ourselves! Thank you Benny for a very special, priceless day! We will always remember! Thanks too for pointing out all the other birds of which there are soo many, and knowing them all by name, and for protecting us from the snakes on the trail!!!

    For sailors: You can anchor in front of the village at:00 26.3215 S/130 43.8196 E in about 75 feet of water and drift back towards reef in about 50 feet. Dont come in a blow, its not protected from anything out of the south, but otherwise pleasant. Nice people ashore.

  5. Stay Raja Ampat on

    Below is a review emailed to us by Manuela Oberhofer, who was guided by Benny in March 2014:

    We’ve just returned from one week on the Raja Ampat Islands and it isclearly not enough time spent there. Thank you again for all your advise on birding and bird guides! We indeed went to see the Wilson’s and Red Bird of Paradise with Beni Mabrasar near Saporkren village on Waigeo. Here are my five cents:

    Beni is a very nice guide. We had a lovely time with him, met him at 4.30am to hike to the Wilson’s Lek. The experience there was fantastic, we got amazing views of the birds. The forest there is full of birds, we loved it. In fact, we ended up walking the main road on the following days to look for birds. Beni knows the basics in regards to birding. He is great at imitating calls, which can be very helpful when trying to spot certain species. I wouldn’t say that he is an expert bird guide, but I imagine with some training, he could improve.

    We didn’t stay at the homestay at Sapokren village, but had lunch 2 times at Warimpurem Homestay. After the birding and some snorkeling, we asked them if they could arrange for some lunch for us. Franky’s nephew (?), who spoke decent English, helped with the communication and showed us around. They served fantastic lunch, very tasty and I amvery grateful that they arranged it without much prior notice. Saporken Village is so scenic, it is definitely worth a visit.

    Note: The Warimpurem Homestay mentioned by Manuela is located right next door to Yenkangkanes Homestay. See Manu’s wilybird website for photos of the Wilson’s Bird of Paradise and more…

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