The lush green Belliam Valley is half-hidden in West Papua’s interior and in living memory the indigenous Dani people were still dependent on tools made from natural elements such as stone and wood. Here you will see natural twine footbridges drooping precariously over the stormy cascades of the Kali (River) Balliem. Dani villages include long, thatch-roofed kitchen huts and separate huts for men and women. Men go hunting while women tend to pigs and sweet potatoes. Visitors can usually see the village’s mummy, the preserved (smoked) corpse of an ancient villages chief.
West Papua’s diversity is evident in its 250 languages and its animal and birdlife is varied and strange. Flightless cassowaries, egg-laying echidna, mangrove-dwelling dugong, arboreal monitor lizards and dazzling birds of paradise all have their homes here.
The northern coast and islands reach towards the equator and enjoy tropical sun, colourful bird life and excellent diving.