Wasur National Park of Papua : the Serengeti of Papua – Part 1

 

Wasur National Park is the largest wetland area in Indonesia. It is located on Merauke Regency, Indonesia. The area has been classified as Wildlife Reserve and is highly protected by the WWF. This national park is very unique to explore as it has various ecosystem and high biodiversity. Due to that, the park is sometimes dubbed as “The Serengeti of Papua”.

At the previous article, we have provided information regarding the land condition as well as transportation and accommodation needed to visit this place. Now, we would like to discuss about interesting attraction you can explore during your adventure there.

 

The Flora

Most of the floras in this national park are included as the species of mangroves, Terminalia, and Melaleuca. The dominating plants are Melaleuca sp, Avicennia sp., Bruguiera sp., Asteromyrtus symphiocarpa, Eucalyptus sp, Terminalia sp., Acacia sp, Alstonia actinopilla, Dilenia alata, Baksia dentata, Graminae sp, Pandannus sp, Cycas sp, Amorphopalus sp, Orchid, and more.

Amorphopallus (Source: fachrisuryari.wordpress.com. Credit: Fachri)
Amorphopallus
(Source: fachrisuryari.wordpress.com. Credit: Fachri)

One of the floras that draw much attention for the tourists is the Amorphopalus. It is a giant flower from familia Aracheae which could produce stinky smell. There is also Bangsia tree which produce a beautiful yellow flower. And then, there are several species of Orchids.

 

The Fauna

According to the observation by WWF, it is noted that there are more than 390 species of birds live at this national park. That does not include the migrant birds from Australia and New Zealand that comes every season. This biodiversity of birds is the highest in Indonesia.

Some of the unique birds to see at this park are jowl cassowary (Casuarius casuarius sclateri), crown dove (Goura cristata), big yellow cendrawasih (Paradisea apoda novaeguineae), king cendrawasih (Cicinnurus regius rex), red cendrawasih (Paradisea rubra), and king civet (Psittrichus fulgidus). At the savannah, the ecosystem is dominated by maleo, parrot, cockatoo, and cendrawasih. The park also has several species of egre, swamp duck, and coastal birds.

This national park also has about 80 species of mammal with 20 of them are endemic. The most dominating population is deer and kangaroo. Those two species are the most favorite amongst visitors. Kangaroo is favored because it is very unique. In Indonesia, there is no other place to see this cute hopping animal.

The species of kangaroo that you will see at this park is field kangaroo (Macropus agilis), jungle kangaroo (Darcopsis veterum), and soil kangaroo (Thylogale brunii). The easiest place to see them is at the breeding center of kangaroo.

 

The Kangaroo is Eating (Source: indonesiamagz.com. Credit: Dwi Napsullah)
The Kangaroo is Eating
(Source: indonesiamagz.com. Credit: Dwi Napsullah)

It is allowed to hunt deer there under the terms and conditions defined by the management. If you wish to hunt the deer, you need to register your permit at the management office. In fact, the local tribe of Papua sometimes hunts them down and cooks the meat together. The best place to encounter the deer is at the mangrove forest, where the deer usually drink the water.

 

Interesting Objects

To see the amazing flora, fauna, and natural formation at this national park, it is recommended to visit these objects:

  • Lake Rawa Biru

Lake Rawa Biru is the most perfect spot to observe various animals because most of them would visit the lake to drink the water. During the migration season, you will see plenty of wallabies and cassowaries fly from Australia and New Zealand. The deers, kangaroos, and other animals would be there as well.

Lake Rawa Biru (Source: andrederabal.blogspot.com. Credit: Andre Derabal)
Lake Rawa Biru
(Source: andrederabal.blogspot.com. Credit: Andre Derabal)

On the dry season, the water on the lake will decrease, causing the fishes to gather closer. It is the best time to go fishing. If you like fishing, you can use the casting technique using minnow as bait.

The fishes that you can find at this lake are Irian Arowana, the endemic Cendro fish, throne fish, tarpon fish, and much more. To go fishing, you can use local traditional machine-less boat to reach the fishing spot. The best fishing spot is nearby the bushes at the seam, where the fishes usually hide.

  • Prem

Prem is a small savannah surrounded by wetland. Birds love to come to this small savannah to drink the water. Thus, this place is the best spot for bird observation. To reach the Prem, you need to do some trekking for about 2 to 3 hours from Lake Rawa Biru.

  • Musamus

Literally, the word “Musamus” means “House of Ants”. But actually, it is a vermin nest. Although vermin is a common animal to be found in anywhere in the world, Musamus is a rare thing to see. But at this national park, there are a lot of Musamus to be found. This neat is very unique as it is very tall. The average Musamus could reach about 4 to 5 meters high.

The Tall Vermin Nest of Musamus (Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)
The Tall Vermin Nest of Musamus
(Source: travel.detik.com. Credit: Keken Hamzah)
  • Bomi Sai

Doesn’t have enough time to explore the entire national park? No problem. You can easily see the collection and gallery of what are there in the national park on Bomi Sai Information Center. At this place, you can also gather lots of information regarding the nature, flora, and faunas in Wasur National Park. This information is surrounded with open wetlands so you could enjoy the view while learning about Mother Nature.

Bomi Sai Information Center (Source: radarmerauke.com. Credit: Portal berita merauke)
Bomi Sai Information Center
(Source: radarmerauke.com. Credit: Portal berita merauke)
  • Orchid Garden

Not very far from the Bomi Sai Information Center, there is an orchid garden. At this place, you will find various species of orchids, including the popular sweet pineapple orchid (Dendrobium similiae). You can also buy some seeds of orchid as souvenirs or to grow it on your backyard.

 

The Season

Being located on the equator line, Wasur National Park has tropical climate. This means the park only has two seasons. Dry Season is on June to November. Wet or Rainy Season is on November to May. The chance of rain is thin during July to November and is very thick on January.

If you visit this national park during September, you will be able to see unique condition of this area as it is the season transition from dry to wet. At that moment, several species of water birds will start migrating from Australia and New Zealand to this wetland of Papua. The Bangsia Tree will also start to bloom its unique yellow flowers during this season. These amazing trees can be seen on Yanggadur Village and Lake Rawa Biru.

On October to November, the swamps will start to dry off.  The soil will get drier and start to crack. Chances of fire will also get higher. At this moment, mammals will start to move to wetter land. They will try to find river or swamps that still have water for them to drink and soak in. Most of them will visit Lake Rawa Biru.

 

Tips

  • Best season to visit is around July to November
  • Mosquito repellent is necessary as there would be plenty of them inside the wild
  • The sun rays might be very hot so you would need an SPF cream to avoid your skin to get sunburns
  • There would be no phone signal or internet connection inside the area
  • Make sure to wear appropriate outfit and footwear to ensure your comfort and safety during the adventure
  • Bring enough supply of food and beverage as there would be no vendors inside the national park

 

Exploring a wild nature is very much challenging and entertaining. No matter how tiring it could be, the experience you get when seeing the wild trees and unique animal will pay off. In Wasur National Park, your adventure will not come to an end as it is vast and diverse.

 

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