Mt Zagham lays inside the contract of work boundaries of the vast PT Freeport Indonesia copper and gold mine. It has not been climbed though several attempts have been made to find a route to the summit.
Very few people visit this remote region due to its inaccessibility and numerous difficulties getting to the mountain. Mt Zagham is approximately 38 miles inland from the mining town of Timika and is surrounded by impenetrable jungle.
The picture of Mt Zagham was taken at around 3300 metres
Getting To Timika, West Papua
The mining town of Timika hosts an International/Domestic airport built and staffed by Pt Freeport Indonesia. No commercial international flights arrive at the airport as this is reserved for the Airfast Indonesia flights to and from Cairns in Australia to convey mining staff.
Garuda Indonesia flies from Jakarta via Denpassar to Timika daily. Flights are often delayed and at times the flight will bypass Timika and onto its final destination in Jayapura. Timika passengers will be offloaded on the return flight later in the morning.
Tickets should be purchased well in advance and peak holiday times avoided as staff and their families from the Freeport mine book out the plane.
Good value can be had with advanced purchase tickets. Try to book a window seat as the views (weather allowing) can be stunning over West Papua and upon landing.
Hotels in Timika
It is very important to note that the Timika Sheraton, located 1km and adjoining the airport is not a real Sheraton Hotel. It is owned, run and staffed by Pt Freeport Indonesia. Its email system is fmi.com and it is directly linked to PTFI security system. The majority of visitors here are expats who come down from Tembagapura for some R&R most weekends.
Intsia Timika Hotel (1km from central market place-best pick)
Jln Yos Sudarso No:101
Ph: (0901) 321007 Fax: (0901) 321008
5 classes of rooms, Intsia Suite, executive, deluxe double & single and superior. Range 220,000-600,000 Rp
Grand Tembaga Hotel (centre of town near main markets)
JL. Yos Sudarso No.133 Timika-Papua
Ph: (0901) 321284 Fax: (0901) 322629
5 classes of rooms, executive, suite, deluxe double, deluxe single and superior. Range 250,000-500,000 Rp
Hotel Kamoro Tame (1km from central markets, have bungalows and a swimming pool)
Jl. Cendrawasih SP.II
Things to do and see around Timika
You can hire a small car in the main streets of Timika though unless you know the area this will be hard. In addition if you are not used to driving in Indonesia then a better option would be to ask at the hotel for a car with a driver. To have an accident in this region is fraught with problems. The roads are generally in poor condition and for the majority road rules are local, ie, anything goes!
Your daytrip options are very limited though you could ask the driver to take you to Pomako which is the portsite for this region (Mimika). The Freeport portsite if off limits. At Pomako you can buy fresh fish and crabs and you can have them cooked there. The drive from Timika is around 1 hour and passes through some interesting local towns and past several military bases.
It is possible to find some of the Komoro tribes people but you need to be able to communicate in Bahasa with the driver. They live around half way to Pomako in numerous surrounding villages.
The port of Pomako is where all of Timikas freight comes in and is a busy place at times. Here you can also take the scheduled Pelni Passenger Ships (Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia)
passenger ships which goes to Agats and then onto Merauke at the very North Eastern point of West Papua where it meets Papua New Guinea. The ship then returns via the same route and eventually onto Jakarta.
At Pomako you can also hire a fast boat to take you to Agats (Asmat) though you will need to be able to communicate in Bahasa. You will also need to ensure your travel permit lists Asmat or you may be turned back upon arrival.
Every day of the week you can visit the markets in central Timika where an amazing array of local foodstuffs, hardware and animals can be purchased.
Local buses (yellow minivans) travel all over the Timika region though this is best reserved for those who know the region.
Where to eat in Timika
Timika abounds in eateries serving local, Indonesian and Chinese meals
The two best choices are restaurant 212 which serves fresh local seafoods, and the Laguna Restaurant which serves a variety of local and western type foods. Your hotel can tell you how to get there though best to orientate yourself during the day otherwise you will get lost at night.
Your Hotel will also have its own menu
Timika and all lowlands areas below 1600 metres are rife with Malaria. Make sure you cover up especially at dawn and dusk. Wear long sleeve trousers and shirts when out and about. Use Deet and be sure if you are wearing sandles when going out to dinner to use Deet on your feet and ankle region.
If you are spending sometime in the West Papua region it is wise to consider these immunisations.
HIV, Aids, STD's are prevalent and are on par with the epidemic seen in South Africa and are rising exponentially.
Bottled water is readily available in Timika and surrounds and is cheap.
As you proceed to the mountains you are able to drink from all but the Freeport tailings river though some may prefer to add Iodine tablets or boil water.
Trekking to Mt Zagham
Getting to the mountain is a very complex journey and is fraught with complexities, namely mine security staff who may become aware of your journey if you are anywhere within the contract of work or spotted on the Freeport road (you will stand out as it is usual for only Papuans to be walking on this road). The local Indonesia Brimob have a heavy presence in and around Timika and the mine site. The Brimob once had many barracks on the road to Tembagapura but a large number have now been transferred away from the mine. Once you are out of Timika and away from the mine infrastructure you "should" be ok.
Your SKJ does not allow you to be in the Freeport COW area.
Access to the mountain can be made by hiking from Timika following a combination of the mine road or by following the tailings river up to Banti Village and then disecting the mine road following the old Singa trail to a point just past where the Singa trail crosses the mine road, where you can set up your base camp. This is a serious logisitical undertaking and an expedition will take 2-3 weeks at least.
The jungle is impenetrable and I spent each day with a machete cutting a path to gain access to the base of the mountain. A better alternative is to hire local Papuans to cut a trail for you thus alleviating a huge amount of work. This region gets on average 12 metres of rain a year. Cloud and rain will roll in each day around midday, humidity is 100% and you will be soaked with either rain or perspiration at all times when in the jungle. It is a wet, harsh environment that will sap your energy. On most days you will be putting on wet clothes. Proper jungle hygiene is required to minimise issues associated with being continuously wet.
Map of Freeport Project Area
Surrounding Mountain Ranges
These photos show some of the mountains surrounding Mt Zagham
Most have never been climbed as they are extremely hard to get to requiring a serious expedition and logistical undertaking.
Magnificent unexplored mountains
Mt Zagham 4150metres
|Mountain ranges to the North of Mt Zagham which are very inaccessible |
|Waterfalls of Mt Zagham post heavy rains |
|Eastern Flank of Mt Zagham with snowfields of Puncak Jaya in the background
A Surat Jalan (travel permit) is required for all travel in West Papua and should be organised BEFORE you arrive in Timika as it is likely that you may be questioned by police in Timika. List all areas you wish to visit on your SKJ, Timika is Mimika Regency. Obtain SKJ at the Central Police Station in Jakarta, Denpassar, Sentani or in Jayapura.
It is likely you will be asked what your business is in Timika. It could be that you are visiting to go fishing at Pomako (the port 25 miles away from Timika) or to visit the Kamoro tribes for a cultural experience or souvenirs.
The SKJ is not expensive and depends upon where you obtain it.
You will need your passport and standard passport photographs with a red background when applying for a SKJ.
It could be possible to negotiate with PTFI corporate affairs department to allow you to travel to this mountain via the mine road. This would require a deal of planning and clear expedition schedule.
In Timika (the lowlands) the weather is generally hot, up to 35+Celcius and 100% humidity with frequent heavy rain.
There are two seasons, the dry (3 metres of rain) and the wet (9 metres of rain)
The same applies to the mountain regions (the highlands) where an annual rainfall of up to 12 metres is expected.
The key difference is it is always hot and humid in the lowlands and in the highlands it is usual for cloud and rain to form around 12 midday each day, though it is possible on occasion to have up to 5 days of clear weather but this is not normal. 100% humidity is to be expected in the mountain jungles.
External LinksGaruda Indonesia
Pelni Passenger Ships (Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia)
Grand Tembaga Hotel
PT Freeport Indonesia