Nimbokrang – A Must For Birders In West Papua
As I posted in my “preparing to visit west-Papua” https://papua-birdswatching.com/” web, there are several gateways to enter West Papua. You will need to fly into the airport of Jayapura to access Nimbokrang. In this post, I will discuss the logistics of visiting Nimbokrang and the gateway of Sentani/Jayapura. The birding report will be on a separate post.
Jayapura (DJJ) is served by Garuda Airlines (Jakarta, Makassar, Biak); Sriwijaya (Jakarta, Makassar, Manokwari); Merpati (Jakarta, Makassar, Manokwari, Manado); and Lion Air/Wings (Jakarta, Makassar). Of these airlines, Garuda is the only one you are likely to be able to book online with a non-Indonesian credit card and the only one you can reach with frequent flyer miles once they join Sky Team. Also see my post on Sriwjaya Airlines to learn how to book with a local Indonesian travel agency. I found that by booking Garuda more than 6 months in advance I saved a substantial amount over the basic fares which can be pretty expensive.
Since you reach the Jayapura airport (which is actually in the town of Sentani), you will still need to get to the village of Nimbokrang. Pak Jamil, the birding guide extraordinaire can send a driver to pick you up at the airport. Although this costs 500,000 rupiahs, I recommend using his driver to get there as you will also need a Surat Jalan (travel permit) and the driver will bring you to the police station, wait while it is issued, then take you to Jamil’s house in Nimbokrang. To return to Senatani, Jamil can call a regular bemo to pick you up at his house which is around $5 per person. The bemo will drop you off at your hotel in Sentani which you will probably need as most flights leave early in the morning.
This is a travel permit issued by the regional police and you will need one to go off the beaten track in West Papua to such places as Nimbokrang, Wamena and Arfak. The police station in Sentani will give you one permit for all the places you request. It takes about an hour to issue and you will need 2 passport photos and photocopies of your passport and Indonesian visa page. Try to avoid arriving on a Sunday as the officer who issues them will probably be off duty. Luckily Jamil’s granddaughter was with us and she explained everything to the guard on duty and the officer came in special to issue the permit but we could have been left until Monday to get the permit. It cost about 50,000 rupiah or $5. It’s a good idea to bring extra passport photocopies and passport photos in case other village chiefs or police ask for them.
WHERE TO STAY
In the village of Nimbokrang, Jamil can currently accommodate a few people in his spare room; I would say no more than 3 or 4 tops for 200,000 rupiahs per person per day which includes delicious meals cooked by his lovely wife Suri. There are fans in the room and I advise burning mosquito coils as they are everywhere in this village. If you are with a large birding group, you will probably be camping in tents provided by the tour organizer. Jamil is in the process of building a guest house next door to his home and then he will be able to accommodate more people.
As I mentioned above, you will probably need an overnight stay in Sentani as most flights leave in the morning. We stayed at the Rasen Hotel which is a cheap and cheerful place about 5 minutes’ walk from the airport. The room cost 290,000 rupiah (around $30) and included breakfast. Wifi is free but very slow! There is a restaurant onsite or you can walk 10 minutes to Rumah Makan Mickey which has pretty good food. More call us: +62812-476287-08.