Raja Ampat trekking

Raja Ampat trekking
  • Trips start and end in Waisai
  • Pickups can be arranged from some homestays
  • Trek lengths: From 2 days/1 night to 5 days/4 nights
  • Maximum distance per day: 10km (5 to 7 hours walking)
  • Fitness level required: Moderate (high humidity/rough terrain)
  • Accommodation: Homestay, jungle hut, or bivouac (sometimes sleeping on wooden floors)
  • Price: From IDR 1,400,000 per person (all inclusive, depending on group size and trek length)
  • Maximum group size: 6 people

Raja Ampat trekking routes

These Raja Ampat trekking routes have been developed by the Waifoi and Warimak communities of Waigeo’s Mayalibit Bay, with the support of a number of NGOs.

The treks explore Waigeo’s wildlife-rich tropical rainforest and the hills and river valleys near the villages of Waifoi and Warimak, which lie on the eastern shore of northern Mayalibit Bay. You’ll get to experience the remote village life of the Ambel Maya people and (on some treks) visit their ancient cultural sites. The Maya are the original inhabitants and traditional owners of Waigeo and many of the surrounding islands, and are the people from whom Mayalibit Bay takes its name.

Waigeo has been famous for its terrestrial biodiversity since Alfred Wallace made the first serious attempt at cataloguing it in 1860. Raja Ampat jungle trekking provides the chance to see many rare birds, animals and plants, many of which are endemic to Waigeo.

You will fall asleep to the nocturnal serenade of the deep Waigeo jungle. You’ll be welcomed in seldom-visited villages and experience traditional Maya village life. You will be immersed in a culture which is markedly different to that of the Biak peoples who inhabit Raja Ampat’s coastal villages.

The boat journey from Waisai to the northern reaches of Mayalibit Bay passes through some utterly spectacular scenery and, if you’re lucky, you may encounter the unique white dolphins that inhabit the bay. If you’re really lucky, you may even get to lay eyes on one of the many crocodiles that frequent the Bay’s dark waters.

Another highlight of the trek packages is a side trip up a small river that winds through the mangrove forests that line Mayalibit’s shores. Where the river meets the land, you can explore a traditional village farm, see how the staple island food of sago is harvested and get to taste fresh cacao. If you’d like to see the mangrove forest’s nocturnal animals (and increase your chances of seeing crocodiles) the mangrove forest inclusion can also be arranged as a night trip.

Your Raja Ampat trekking guides are birding specialists with extensive knowledge of local fauna, flora and cultural sites.

Your participation in the Raja Ampat trekking program will make a huge difference to the lives of the remote Mayalibit Bay communities and will both inspire and empower them to further their role as conservators of Waigeo’s rich jungle habitats.

Read on for/click the link to jump to more information and photos about:

3 day/2night Waifoi/Warimak trekking trip photos


…and thanks to Katrin and Mark for this short film of their experience :)

Trekking requirements

Fitness
Treks are at an easy pace to allow for all ages and most fitness levels, but they are not recommended for those with a low level of physical fitness. The trekking routes include some sections of steep and rough terrain of medium-high difficulty. Stream and small river crossings are also encountered. Conditions are always warm and very humid and, on clear days, it can be very hot on trail sections exposed to sun.

Footwear
Sturdy footwear is a must to protect against tripping hazards, foot injuries on rough and rocky ground, and splinters from tree roots and forest debris that is often underfoot. When choosing footwear, bear in mind that you’ll need to walk through water occasionally.

Clothing
Lightweight clothing that dries quickly is best. (Even if the weather is fine, it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll be freely perspiring!) Only carry the minimum you consider essential for your trek length. A hat is a must for sun protection, and a lightweight but sturdy poncho is recommended in case of rain. Anyone from a temperate climate is unlikely to need anything warm, even at night.

Other
Before departing Waisai, trip participants must produce the permit card that proves payment of the Tariff to Support Environmental Services in Raja Ampat.
Sunscreen, insect repellent and a headtorch or flashlight are highly recommended.
You may want to consider bringing a sleeping mat: Mosquito nets are supplied, but mattresses are unavailable at the forest camps and you will be sleeping on wooden floorboards.

Raja Ampat trekking prices

Trek prices were current as of October 2017, but can change without notice.

Trips must be paid for prior to departure from Waisai.

You can pay by Paypal prior to arriving in Raja Ampat, or by cash or credit card in Waisai. Be sure to check that your credit card will work in Indonesia before relying on it.

All trek prices include:

  • Return boat transport Waisai-Mayalibit Bay-Waisai (~130km)
  • Food and accommodation
  • Drinking water (bring your own reusable bottle)
  • Payments to guides
  • Village community fund payments

Prices do not include the Tariff to Support Environmental Services in Raja Ampat that all visitors to Raja Ampat must pay. Be sure to purchase your permit before meeting your guides in Waisai.

TREK COMPONENTPRICE (IDR)
 Waisai-Mayalibit Bay transport
(each way, shared by up to 8 max in boat)
3,000,000
Kamtabai Forest Hut accommodation
(per person, including 3 meals)
250,000
Guide (per day)200,000
Porter (per day)100,000
Red Bird of Paradise tour (addon, per person)100,000
Sago harvesting tour (addon, per person)100,000
Crocodile tour (addon, per person)200,000

Raja Ampat trekking itineraries

You are free to design your own itinerary of any length, but here are 6 suggested routes.

2 day/1 night treks include between 3 and 5 hours’ walking per day, with a maximum distance per day of about 5km.

5 day/ 4 night treks require between 5 and 7 hours’ walking per day and cover a maximum distance of 10km per day.

Suggested trek itinerary details can be viewed here. (PDF: 868KB)

Trekking map and photo gallery

Homestay pickup and dropoff prices

You can arrange to be picked up from and/or returned to homestays in the areas listed below.

Pickups will be early enough to allow travel to Waisai for a 0900 departure, so you may need to arrange an early breakfast at your homestay.

Prices are shared by total boat passengers. In the event that a group is being picked up from or dropped off to different locations, the price charged will be for the most distant location.

FROM/TOONE WAY PRICE
SaporkrenIDR 300,000
Yenbeser / Friwen
Eastern Gam (as far west as Yenbeser)
IDR 500,000
Gam (West of Yenbeser to Sawinggrai)IDR 1,000,000

Raja Ampat trekking bookings & enquiries

For bookings, prepayments, and any questions not answered on this page, please contact Otter (Wolter Gaman).

Otter’s contact details are:

Phone +6285254540487 or via Facebook.

If you have trouble contacting Wolter, the Raja Ampat Homestay Information Center will be able to help.

Trekking accommodation details

Conservation tourism in Warimak and Waifoi villages began in 2016 with the development of trekking routes to several tourist destinations near Warimak village. The Warimak routes were based on old logging trails from the 1990s and were extended into untouched areas that include hills from which panoramic views are available, river valleys and cultural sites.

In Warimak and Waifoi villages, trekkers are accommodated in family homes. You will usually have a room to yourself and mattresses and mosquito nets are supplied. Most village homes do not have their own toilets though. There will be a public toilet building somewhere nearby.

Accommodation while trekking is either at homestay style huts, or in bivouacs. Mosquito nets are supplied, but mattresses are unavailable at the forest camps, so you will be sleeping on wooden floorboards unless you bring a mat.

Kamtabai Forest Hut
Built by Wolter Gaman (who is known as Otter to his friends), Kamtabai Forest Hut is located at Otter’s family gardens, about a 2km walk from Warimak. Kamtabai has a large 3 room hut with a verandah that has table and bench seating. There is also a dining room, a great circular shelter with bench seating surrounding a table, and an outdoor seating area around a firepit. A 2 room bathroom shelter has bucket bathing and a squat toilet.

The garden at Kamtabai provides fresh banana, papaya, sweet potato, sugarcane, jackfruit, rambutan, taro, cacao and coconut. If you want, you can also hunt Balobe (a local freshwater shrimp) in the nearby river.

Attractions near Kamtabai Forest Hut include a waterfall, Red Bird of Paradise display trees, Western Crowned Pigeon habitat and sago harvesting sites. The surrounding forest is full of birds during the day, and full of fireflies at night.

Laen Sorongga Hut
Laen Sorongga Hut was originally a shelter built by Yeheskiel Dawa’s family to provide them with accommodation while working in their food gardens. The family has since converted the hut as part of Warimak’s eco-tourism trekking venture.

Laen Sorongga provides four rooms, a dining shelter, and basic bathroom facilities.

Kanyum and Pindo forest and river camps
Kanyum and Pindo are bivouac style camps that provide basic shelters for sleeping and dining and have pit toilet facilities. Built specifically for trekkers, they were established by Warimak villagers with help from Fauna & Flora International (FFI).

Homestay and trekking camps photo gallery

Waigeo’s fauna and flora

Waigeo is unique among the Raja Ampat islands due to its range of habitats. A mix of weathered volcanic mountains, karst hills, metamorphic hills, and alluvial plains built by river sedimentation create a wealth of ecosystems and microclimates.

Waigeo has a “very wet” climate according to the Schmidt Ferguson classification. Between 2003 and 2016, average rainfall was 254mm per month. Most rain falls between May and July, which typically receive about 339mm per month. September is the driest month with an average of 129mm.

Biogeographically, Waigeo is part of the Sahul Shelf. In the past, Waigeo was joined to the Australian continent and subsequently is home to many animals that share ancestry with their Australian counterparts.

70% of Waigeo’s 3000 square kilometre area lies in protected areas managed by The Natural Resources Conservation Agency of West Papua. The conservation areas are dominated by forested hills over a volcanic rock substrate, but also include alluvial plains and karst hill areas.

Waigeo’s highest point is Danai Mountain at 978m, and primary forests cover 80% of its area. A further 9% is secondary forest. These lowland forests are dominated by big trees with an average diameter of 44 cm and height of 25-30m. FFI’s 2016 biodiversity survey found Vatica rassak to be the most common species, followed by other forest trees such as Teijsmanniodendron bogoriense, matoa (Pometia pinnata), pimelodendron amboinicum and palaquium lobbianum.

Waigeo fauna & flora photos

Birds

FFI’s 2013 and 2016 biodiversity surveys indicate that Waigeo is home to 210 bird species, which represents 31% of all known bird species in Papua. The most sought after by birders are probably the Wilson’s (Cicinnurus respublica) and the Red (Paradisaea rubra) Birds of Paradise, but many other rare and endangered species can also be observed.

Of the 210 bird species recorded in Waigeo, 13 are endemic to Indonesia and 27 are migratory. 174 of the 210 are protected under Indonesian law, 32 species are listed in the CITES appendix, and 12 species are classified by the IUCN as endangered.

A full list of the species that may be seen during a Waigeo forest trek can be viewed here. (PDF: 86KB)

If birding is your specific field of interest, you may also be interested in reading this comprehensive Raja Ampat birding report.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Biodiversity surveys have catalogued 42 species of reptile and 28 species of amphibian on Waigeo. The largest of Waigeo’s terrestrial reptiles are the pythons and monitors.

Pythons you might be fortunate enough to see on a Waigeo forest trek include D’Albertis’ Python (Bothrochilus albertisii), Papuan Olive Python (Liasis papuano), Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis) and the Amethystine or Scrub Python (Simalia amethistina).

Monitors that live on Waigeo and may be encountered on treks include Waigeo’s endemic Golden Speckled Tree Monitor (Varanus boehmei), the Blue-tailed Monitor (Varanus doreanus), and the Peach-throated Monitor (Varanus jobiensis).

Fourteen of Waigeo’s reptile species are classified as endangered by IUCN and the CITES appendix, and are protected by Indonesian law.

Mammals and Marsupials

23 species of mammal and marsupial were logged by the 2016 FFI-IP biodiversity survey.

The Waigeo Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus papuensis) is endemic to Waigeo and is almost certain to be seen at night during a trek. The Grey Cuscus (Phalanger orientalis) may also be observed.

Waigeo is also home to nine bat species. Beaufort’s Naked-backed Fruit Bat (Dobsonia beauforti) and the Round-eared Tube-nosed Fruit Bat (Nyctimene cyclotis) are two notable species that you may encounter.

Other animals encountered in the 2016 survey that you may also see include:

Long-nosed spiny bandicoot (Echymipera rufescens)
Long-tailed pygmy possum (Cercartetus caudatus)
Striped possum (Dactylopsila trivirgata)
Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)
Himalayan field rat (Rattus nitidus)
Mosaic-tailed rats of the Melomys genus

Flora

Waigeo’s botanical biodiversity rivals that of Raja Ampat’s famed marine environment, and is worthy of the same protections, especially as the Waigeo forests may prove to hold an invaluable pharmacopeia.

An indication of this potential is the discovery that a compound extracted from the bark of the dominant forest tree (Vatica rassak) will inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells.

There are over 150 species of woody plants alone in Waigeo’s forests. In addition to those, there are 3 species of pitcher plants and 57 species of orchid, most of which are endemic to Waigeo.

Notable species include:

Orchids
Agrostophyllum majus
Coelogyne asperata
Dendrobium antennatum
Dendrobium azureum**
Dendrobium mirbelianum
Grammatophyllum scriptum
Paphiopedilum praestans
Vanda lissochiloides
Pitcher plants
Nepenthes danseri**
Trees
Alstonia beatricis**
Calophyllum parvifolium
Hopea novoguineensis

(** Waigeo endemics)

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  1. Halie Rebeccaschild & Chris Burke on

    My partner, Chris, and I visited the Mayalibit Bay in September, staying in two different homestays. Hoping to discover reptiles of the local region, we booked a three-day, two-night tour that began by longboat in Waisai. As Otter was in Jakarta during our visit, his brothers Yan and Yopi guided us with the invaluable assistance of Mr. Martin, who provided translation and insight into the local culture.

    Although we saw only two snakes, a monitor, and a scorpion, we delighted in the Birds of Paradise and Flying Fox at the “bat cave,” enjoying our treks through the jungle immensely. A pair of comfortable trail runners would have been perfect for the number of times we crossed streams. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

    What a rare experience in life to explore a jungle in Papua! But the best of the experience was enjoying the company of Mr. Yan and Mr. Yopi, whose gigantic hearts reached right out and sucked us in. I’m afraid I left a bit of my heart behind at the round table described above by Andre & Francisca, in fact.

    By the time we left, we had made soul connections that cannot be undone or forgotten. My greatest hope is that Otter and his family find success in their endeavors to promote the area for sustainable ecotourism and that this brings health and comfort to the village families of Mayalibit Bay.

    Last, I must mention what a delightful crossing we had from Waisai to the villages of Mayalibit Bay and back. The incredible scenery of bayside cliffs and jungles blew our minds. We especially appreciated that great care was taken by our boat captain, Mr. Solomon, to ensure we had a spiritual experience in such a beautiful place as Mayalibit Bay.

    In steadfast friendship,

    Chris and Halie

  2. Andre & Fransisca on

    I’d like to call myself a collector of experiences – a hoarder of the uncommon and exotic in far-flung places. And I could not thank our friend Wolter Gamman (he goes by his nickname ‘Otter’) enough to have made me realize that no matter how much I’ve seen and how much I’ve learned about the world, there’s always more. We learned and saw some crazy awesome shits exploring the deep Waigeo jungle with him. Otter was very informative, making a stop every few steps to share his knowledge about the birds, the trees, and the life of the Maya people. Early morning we trekked for half an hour to do some Red Birds of Paradise watching. Home to exceptionally diverse numbers of birds and animals, along the way we also sighted many other birds. We were quite amazed that Otter could recognize the species of the birds just from the sound they are making. The next destination was a visit to this beautiful waterfall where we took a dip into the fresh water accompanied by the sound of wildlife. It was right there when the realization hit me that we were among the small numbers of visitors who were lucky to have explored this untouched part of the world.

    The Kamtabai Forest Hut in which we spent the night in was built by Otter at his family garden. We were awed when in the daylight we found out that the hut is surrounded by gardens growing banana, papaya, jackfruit, coconut, and cacao fruit. We got to taste the fresh coconut juice and cacao fruits which he specially handpicked from the tree he climbed. We also saw the undergoing construction of the new private bungalow he is building. It is amazing to witness the gigantic iron wood tree being cut up and transformed into building materials. He was kind enough to cut a small block of the wood for us to bring home as souvenirs. There are 3 large bedrooms with beds, mosquito nets, and fresh towels provided in the hut. Also worry not about getting freshened up and doing your private business too, because there are two bathroom shelters with bucket bathing, reasonably clean water, and a squat toilet. Dinner and breakfast is served on a circular dining table which he built himself out of the woods from the jungle. If you come during the right season, you may be able to fish for some fresh shrimps and clams (they are called “Bia Kodok” in their local language) and have them traditionally cooked for you.

    Otter is not just our guide turned into a friend – he is also a passionate conservator of the jungle habitats. His dream is to encourage the Mayalibit Bay communities to develop tourism both in the jungle and village and letting the world know that there is much more to Raja Ampat than just the beautiful beach and ocean. There is so much room for improvements that can be made to his tour, and he would be able to get there faster with helps from more people. I highly recommend this trekking tour. All the best to you, Otter.

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