Korowai Tribe


Tour Highlights

The Korowai tribes in West Papua live in the least explored jungles of the world, known to built high tree houses in very isolated territory.

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Korowai Tribe

The Korowai tribes in West Papua live in the least explored jungles of the world in very isolated territory. In 1978, the first contact was established by pastor Johannes Veldhuizen. Today, the Korowai tribe counts around 3.000 people, and many still choose to live in their villages in the forest rather than in government-built towns. The Korowai remain dependent on the forest and are hunter-gatherers with excellent fishing skills, living in small family groups. Most of the Korowai still live in wooden houses approximately 8 meters from the ground, but there are also houses on ground level. During this tour to Korowai, we will travel deep into the southern lowland forests of Indonesian New Guinea.

We are the only tour operator that started this trip from Merauke towards Kepi because of the beautiful scenery and adventurous character. We offer a unique optional stay to explore a mangrove village, watch Crocodiles at night, and learn traditional fishing skills. It would be best to be prepared to return to the magnificent nature surrounding you. Expect no facilities or modernity during this trip. You will sleep in one of the local houses and huts.

Day overview

Day 1
Arrival Merauke - Tour to termite mounds and sunset at Arafura sea
Day 2
Flight Merauke - Kepi Continue by local speedboat to Korowai Territory Optional : Crocodiles Excursion & Traditional Fishing
Day 3
Trek to tree House / Korowai tribal communities
Day 4
Korowai Tribes and Sago Process
Day 5
Back to Kepi
Day 6
Flight to Merauke
Day 7
Transfer to Airport
Day 1: Arrival Merauke - Tour around town

Arrive in Merauke and transfer to your hotel. We will stay in the best hotel available in town. After a rest, we will go on a tour of Merauke's surroundings. The city was a military base established by the Dutch in 1902 and lies on the southern coast of Papua. We will visit the termite mounds close to Wasur National Park. Here, we will see giant termite mounds and beautiful flora and fauna. Wasur National Park is home to 358 bird species, 80 of which are endemic to the island.

Day 2: Flight to Kepi - continue to Korowai settlements (B.L.D.)

We leave to the airport in the morning and continue by small airplane to Kepi. You are allowed to bring 10 Kilo check-in luggage. After an hour's flight, we can see the small town of Kepi below us, surrounded by forest wetlands. In Kepi, we will buy our last food supplies for our adventure into the Korowai territories. We will use a small speedboat that is flexible and light enough to maneuver through the challenging swamps and rivers. The swamp changes continuously, sometimes making it hard to get through.

In some cases, the speedboat needs to be pushed manually. In the first part of the trip, the scenery is breathtaking. We will pass many local villagers, young and old, standing and balancing on their canoes to catch fish. Many huts we see along the river are built from natural materials and no electricity. The thick bushes in the swamps hide giant crocodiles that flee away because of our engine noise. So, it may be hard to see them, but they are certainly out there. (Optional Crocodile Excursion available). We will reach Senggo, a bigger town, and you can see how the scenery changes along the way, from expansive views to dense forests. In Senggo, we can have a short break and buy refreshing beverages before continuing to the river towards the isolated Korowai. Depending on the water level in the river, we will sleep somewhere in a local house in a village by the river. Today's trip will be tiring and long, and you will spend most of your time in the speedboat.

OPTIONAL CROCODILE EXCURSION: We give you a unique opportunity to stay the night by the river with local villagers of the swamp area. We will make a camp, and in the evening, we will go out by small longboat through the mangrove to watch for crocodiles, turtles, and other wildlife. We will see traditional fishing methods and make a campfire while enjoying a jungle meal. Early in the morning, we will continue our journey towards a Korowai village, where we will arrive by the end of the day. (see extra costs in price)

Accommodation: Local House

Day 3: Tree House / Korowai tribal communities (B.L.D.)

Today, we will trek to one of the Korowai villages from one family group. This takes 2 - 4 hours, depending on which village we can visit. The trek is through wetland forests and swampy terrains. We advise you to wear high rubber boots with adjustable closures at the top line to keep debris out. We balance on tree trunks, and when it has rained a lot, the mud and water at some parts can come knee-high or higher. We will stay two nights in a Korowai village where we can see a high tree house. In the past, these tree houses were used to spy on enemies and to keep women and children safe from outside attacks. These super high tree houses are mainly used for socializing and for some quiet time away from family issues, according to the Korowai man.

Today, we will observe the local lifestyle of the Korowai Tribe in their village. The families live in high wooden houses of approx 8 meters high. We always ask for permission before entering a town because the Korowai tribes mainly live with their family group.

We strongly advise bringing your mosquito net too close to the bottom or a tent to keep unwanted mosquitos and insects out. You can set up the tent inside the hut/bivouac. Also, bring your air mattress because the floor is hard.

Accommodation: Hut in Korowai settlement

Day 4: Korowai Tribes and Daily Activities (B.L.D.)

Today, we will join the Korowai tribe in their Sago forest. We will see the traditional preparation of the Sago palm processing. A full day to learn, join, and observe these fascinating people. If the tree house is in good condition, the head of the village will invite you for some socializing time high in the tree house. But be very careful where you step. There are no safety equipment.

Accommodation: Hut in Korowai settlement

Day 5: Back to Kepi (B.L.D.)

Today, we will head back the same way to Kepi—a long journey with a lot of sitting time. We will overnight in the best accommodation in Kepi, a standard hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Avista - Best Room

Day 6: Flight to Merauke (B.)

You will say goodbye to your guide in Kepi. With a small aircraft, you will fly back to Merauke. The driver (non-English) will pick you up from the airport, and for the rest of the day, you have time for rest. If you wish, the driver can take you sightseeing in town. Try one of the best coffees in town, or visit a local market or a city park. You will stay in an excellent western hotel with good facilities. Note: no guide included; driver only speaks Indonesian.

Accommodation: Swiss Bel Hotel - Superior Room

Day 7: Transfer to Airport (B.)
Price for 2 persons
3119 €
Per person
Price for 3 persons
2317 €
Per person
Optional Crocodile Excursion
1 - 3 persons
200 €
Per group
Optional Crocodile Excursion
4 - 8 persons
560 €
Per group

Included Items

Accommodation as mentioned
Meals as mentioned
Flight Merauke - Kepi - Merauke
All Airport Transfers
Transfer Kepi - Harbour - Kepi
All landrights and donations
Sago Processing Demonstration from Korowai Tribe
Travel Permit
Local Basic English Speaking Guide 7 Days
All Entrances Fees / Donations / Village Fees
Car Tour Merauke (Day Use!)

Excluded Items

Other Flights
Meals not mentioned
Personal Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Matt, Blanket, Towels (except when staying in a hotel)
Optional River Life and Crocodile Exploration
Local House, Hut in Korowai settlement, Hotel Avista – Best Room, Swiss Bel Hotel – Superior Room

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Korowai Tribe

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