Lake Habema, the exotic fresh water above the clouds

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On the edge of the lake, verdant meadows with various colorful flowers spread wide as far as the eyes can see. Frequently, the dew adorns the grass. Not only in the morning, even day and night because the temperature is quite cold. (photo: IO/Pramitha Hendra)

IO – Not only famous for their culi­nary dish ‘cheating shrimp’, Wame­na City in Jayawijaya, Papua, is also known for their spectacular beauty of the lake above the clouds or com­monly known as Lake Habema. The beautiful landscape of Lake Habema has been immortalized in one of the scenes of the film Denias, Senandung Atas Atas Cloud.

The Habema area has an area of approximately 224.35 hectares with an area of 9.79 kilometers. Located at an altitude of 3,225 meters above sea level (masl), making Habema one of the highest lakes in Indonesia.

The lake with the original name Yuginopa is located in the Jayawijaya Mountains complex. Precisely, in the core zone of the Lorentz National Park in Wamena, Papua, which was rec­ognized was a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The name “Habema” was taken from the name of a Dutch officer, Lieutenant D. Habema, who escort­ed Lorentz HA expedition to reach the top of Ettiakup – the designated local community for Mount Trikora – in 1909.

Unlike normal tourist destina­tions, Lake Habema was untouched. The location is far away – about 48 kilometers from the city of Wamena – and access of the road constructions are very difficult, thus, Lake Habema is rarely visited by tourists.

There are also no facilities that have been built for visitors. But, you can fully immerse yourself in the si­lence of nature amongst the moun­tains away from the hustle and bus­tle of the city.

From Lake Habema you can see directly the Peak of Trikora- local res­idents prefer to call using it’s original name, the Wilhelmina Peak, where at the top there is a layer of equatorial eternal snow.

In the past, around Lake Habema it was often decorated with snow. Un­fortunately, at present this is slowly diminishing as the Trikora snow layer is thinning. Even so, there are still many other beauties that can be enjoyed.The water in Habema lake seems very calm and clear. But if ap­proached, ripples and small waves emerge from the surface.

On the edge of the lake, greenish meadows with various colorful flow­ers spread wide as far as the eyes can see. Frequently, the dew adorns the grass. Not only in the morning, even day and night because the tempera­ture is quite cold.

During the day,the normal tem­perature around Lake Habema ranges from 7 to 8 degrees Celsius. Sometimes, it reaches 3 degrees, and approaches 0 degrees at night.

There are also ant houses that are used for alternative medicine depend­ing on several trees.

Not only that, the area around Lake Habema is a habitat for dozens of endemic bird species. Among them are birds of paradise (cendrawasih) and astrapia birds. If you’re lucky you can find it. In fact, rare black or­chids can sometimes be found.

That is the reason the Dani peo­ple, the original Jayawijaya people, consider this lake sacred and have made it a source of fertility and life. Due to its beauty, many climbers of the Jayawijaya Mountains and Mount Carstensz stop for a moment at this lake before continuing the journey.

From the City of Wamena, Lake Habema can be reached in more or less 3 hours using motorized vehi­cles. You can rent a pick up, or better still use a motorbike. The road to Lake Habema is practically smooth. Most are paved. However, you still need to be careful. Since the road is still qui­et, the track is steeply winding, there are many uphills through hilly lands, and it tends to be narrow.

Visit Habema preferably in the morning before 12 noon. If it’s too late, Habema lake will be covered with mist that blocks the view. That is why Lake Habema is called the lake above the clouds. (Pramitha Hendra)