The Baliem Highlands is centered on the Grand Valley some 1,600 meters
above sea level. Temperatures of the highland are ranged from 26 degrees
Celsius at the day time and 12 degrees at night.. The valley is 60 kilometers
long and 15 kilometers wide and is surrounded on all sides by mountain
peaks rising to between 2,500 and 3,000 meters.This valley has been the
most visited part of the island, especially in recent years. This valley
is home to the Dani tibesmen. They are living in primitive way of farming.
The Baliem river flows through the center of the valley providing fertile
ground for the local Dani and Lani tibes who live there
- they are really close to each other. They have same language but different
dialect. Dani men use a short, thin
Koteka (penis gourd). Women who have not married wear knee-length
bark skirts and married women wear orchid fibre skirts. Lani men wear longer, thicker penis gourd and carry tobacco and other
treasures. The women dressed in knee-length grass skirt.
There may be 250,000 Dani living in the central mountains, many live
scattered among the steep mountain slopes. The Valley has one of the highest
densities of population in Papua Province. The Dani Tribes build their
huts in a compound nicely express both environmental adaptation and Dani's
character. The men's and women's huts have thick thatched roofs which
keep rain, yet retain the heat from the earth, along with just enough
smoke to discourage the mosquito.
The regency's capital of Baliem is Wamena (45 minutes flight from
Jayapura) and it is the only town in the valley. Small Dani villages surround
Wamena and can be explored by those who have a little time to experience
an ancient way of life.
The highlights of sightseeing are Dani Market in Wamena Town, Wauma Village
which can be easily reach on foot or by car from Wamena. Further out are
Aikima, with its 250 years old mummy, Suroba, Jiwika and neighboring villages.
With 2 hours climbing, you can see the salt spring where the Dani women
make salt in primitive way fashion for centuries. Outer adventures are
southward to Kurima area, where the Dani and Yali Tribes' way of life
mixed into a unique combination.