Far at the eastern side of Indonesia, near the borderline to neighbor country Papua New Guinea, there is a fascinating national park called Wasur National Park. This park is the largest wetland in Papua with high biodiversity. The nature condition of the park is very pristine and low on human’s intervention.

The high biodiversity of the National Park of Wasur has made it to be commonly dubbed as “The Serengeti of Papua” because the condition is very similar to Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. This condition has also drawn attention from WWF and national management to classify the area as wildlife reserve.

A River at Wasur National Park (Source: indonesiamagz.com. Credit: Dwi Napsullah)
A River at Wasur National Park
(Source: indonesiamagz.com. Credit: Dwi Napsullah)

How to Get There

Wasur National Park is located at the most eastern side of Papua Province, nearby the borderline to Papua New Guinea. To reach this place, you first need to get to Merauke city, the closest city to Wasur that has an airport. The flights to Mopah Airport of Merauke are available from Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) and Jayapura (the capital city of Province of Papua, Indonesia).

The distance between city of Merauke and the area of Wasur National Park is about 27 kilometers. To that, you need to drive through the main road of Jalan Trans Irian (also known as Jalan Merauke – Jayapura). The trip will take about 2 hours before you reach the main entrance of Wasur National Park. Renting a car is available at Mopah Airport. It will cost you about $37.5 .

 

Where to Stay

It is impossible to find a fancy resort or five-star hotel nearby Wasur National Park. The accommodations available around the national park are just guest houses. The guesthouses are stuffed with simple equipment and cooking utensils to make sure you can stay comfortably on those humble accommodations.

There are three villages around the national park that provide guest houses for the tourists. Those are Yanggadur, Soa, and Onggaya. If you wish to stay in a guest house nearby the beach, choose the one at the coastal village of Onggaya. But if you want the accommodation to be as close as possible to the Bird Observation Area, you can choose Yanggadur Village. Meanwhile, Soa Village is located nearby the Maro River, which is also a great place for animal observation.

If you wish for a fancier accommodation, the closest ones are available at the city of Merauke which is about one to two hours away from the national park. Some of the hotels are:

  • Swiss Belhotel Merauke (Four Stars) at Jalan Raya Mandala Bambu Pemali, Merauke, Papua.
  • Itese Hotel (One Star) at Jalan Raya Mandala, Merauke, Papua
  • Hotel Royal (One Star) at Jalan Gak, Merauke, Papua

 

Entering the Park

Wasur National Park of Papua is highly protected by the national management as well as international organization such as WWF. Therefore, if you want to come inside the area, you need to gain a permit first. You can gain that permit from the office located nearby the entrance gate of Wasur National Park. For more information, please contact:

  • Wasur National Park Office (Balai Taman Nasional Wasur)

Jalan Garuda Leproseri No. 3, Merauke.

Phone: +62 971 324532

Fax: +62 971 324532

Once you gain your official permit, you then need to buy an entrance ticket for only $0.4. Other thing you need to remember checking prior entering the area is your supply of foods and beverages. Inside the national park, there would be no food vendors to accommodate you. Therefore, you need to make sure you bring enough supply to eat and drink during your exploration to the area.

Signage at the Entrance (Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)
Signage at the Entrance
(Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)

Wildlife Reserve

Wasur National Park of Papua is situated on Merauke Regency and has the total area of 413,810 hectares. This area covers three districts in Merauke; Sota, Naukenjerai, and Merauke. The name “Wasur” itself was taken from the word “Waisol”. It is the folk language of Marori which means “Garden”.

The area drew its first attention in 1978 when a small part of this national park (about 2,100 square kilometers) is started to be designed as Wildlife Reserve. In 1990, the area was extended to be 4,138 square kilometers wide. In 1991, the international council started to pay more attention to this area when WWF declared the area to be Nature Conservation and Development Project.

In 1995, WWF initiated a program called Tri-Nations Wetland Program featuring Wasur National Park of papua, Tonda Wildlife Management Area of Papua New Guinea, and Kakadu National Park of Australia. In 2002, this program concluded a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the three countries.

The Wetland of Wasur National Park (Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)
The Wetland of Wasur National Park
(Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)

In 2006, another international organization, Ramsar Convention, recognized the park as “Wetland of International Importance”. Wasur National Park shares a borderline with neighboring country, Papua New Guniea. Exactly, it shares a border with other Ramsar’s protected area, Tonda Wildlife Management Area of Papua New Guinea.

 

The Area

Geographically, the area of Wasur National Park is divided into two areas; coastal area and plato area. The national park is classified as lowland area with the highest peak is only 90 meters above the sea level. This peak is located on Waam region.

Most of the land at this park is savannah. It covers about 70% of the total area. This makes it to be the largest wetland savannah in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the rest 30% of the national park area are swamps, monsoon forest, coastal forest, bamboo forest, sago forest, and grass field.

The Swamp Area (Source: kaskus.com. Credit: Barry Kusuma)
The Swamp Area
(Source: kaskus.com. Credit: Barry Kusuma)

The ecosystem of Wasur National Park is very diverse. To make it easier to manage, they classified the ecosystems into six categories. Those categories are:

  • Ecosystem of Seasonal Brackish Water Swamp
    • Area : Taram Swamp, Kitar-Kitar Swamp, Waam region, and Samleber region.
  • Ecosystem of Permanent Fresh Water Swamp
    • Area : Lake Rawa Biru, Ukra region, Maar region, and Kankania region.
  • Ecosystem of Fresh Water Coast
    • Area : Mbo region, Okilur region, Pilmul Swamp, and Badek Swamp.
  • Ecosystem of Fresh Water Land
    • Area : along the entire road of Jalan Trans Irian
  • Ecosystem of Salt – Brackish Water Coast
    • Area : The entire coastal residential area except the Kondo Village
  • Ecosystem of Brackish Water Land
    • Area : Wasur Village, Ndalir Swamp, Sota Village

As a wetland area, most of the area on Wasur National Park will be covered in water during the wet season, about 4 to 6 months in every year. This wet area is very crucial and important for the ecosystems, especially for the migrant birds. The wetland is also the most productive ecosystem and the best shelter for many water animals such as fish, lobster, and shrimps which are important commodities for local people.

 

We have already given you enough information regarding the area of Wasur National Park in Papua, Indonesia. But we have not showed you interesting objects and various living creatures that you can explore during your adventure in this vast wetland.

Therefore, you need to continue reading to our next article about Wasur National Park of Papua where we would provide such information.

 

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