Sunday, February 17, 2008

A trek into the Papuan rainforest

I'm somewhere in a godforsaken rainforest on the north coast of West Papua, Indonesia, and I'm ready to get the hell out of here. I'm five days into a three-week jungle trek and things have got both weird and dangerous. Now I'm scared and confused, and I've lost all faith in my guide.

'We'll meet them, share a little tobacco, chill for a bit, and then move on - like passing nomads,' said Kelly Woolford, our 43-year-old tour leader. But five minutes ago we encountered bow-and-arrow-wielding bushmen who were so angry that they charged our camp, lobbing three arrows above our heads. To avoid puncture wounds, I ran straight for a nearby river and almost swam across it, until I remembered that it contained crocodiles.

When I heard about 'First Contact', a trip offered by Woolford's Bali-based trekking company, Papua Adventures, I couldn't quite believe it. It costs around £4,200 and promises an expedition to seek native tribes who have never had contact with outsiders. There are two more 'first contacts' planned for August and October this year.

'There are a handful of places in West Papua that are untouched - still Stone Age tribes, still cannibals,' said Woolford, an easygoing American expat. 'It's just that a lot of people are too scared to look for them.'

Full article.

Realted: Papua Adventures

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