Meet the Tribes People
In Wesaput, on the other side of the runway of Wamena airport, you can cross a traditional suspension bridge. The slow-moving water of the Sungai Baliem, does not reveal the thundering river further up north. Walk about 45 minutes to nearby Pugima, an excellent way to get a first glimpse of the agrarian lifestyle local tribes. Even in the immediate presence of Wamena, honai are much preferred above present day houses. The you continue by vehicle to Jiwika. In one of the traditional honai a century old mummy is kept in amazingly well preserved condition. The sight of the blackened mummified corpse, with its knees hunched up to its chest, will haunt you ! Walk to the market of Jiwika from where a path heads up to Illuemainma, a remarkable brine spring at 1.800 meters above sea level. Salt is harvested by soaking banana stens in the water. These are carried back to the village, often hours walking away. After burning those stems, results in salt ash, used to spice food. Another point of interest in the same area, are the Kontitlola Caves near the village Wosilimo. Stalactites and stalagmites adorn the caves and they even have an underground river run through them. Return to Wamena, with ample stops at local villages, spread all over. The typical honai reveal the omnipresence of the Dani people, one of the original tribes of the Baliem Valley.