This little village of traditional thatch huts sitting amid jagged, jungle-covered mountains was once the main missionary outpost in West Papua‘s Yalimo, home to the Yali people. You would never guess it from the shy friendliness of the people today, but the place has a long, warlike history with outsiders only arriving in the 1960s and some of the first missionaries getting murdered by cannibals.

Women of the Yali tribe selling stuff at Angguruk market, the Yalimo, Central Highlands, West Papua

Women selling stuff at Angguruk market, Yalimo

You will almost certainly visit Angguruk if you are coming to the Yalimo, whether by missionary airplane or by trekking from the Baliem Valley (see main Baliem Valley page for information on organising guides for treks or chartering missionary planes).

Angguruk has a small grass airstrip irregularly served by missionary flights from Wamena in the Baliem Valley. If you haven’t pre-arranged a charter you can try getting a seat on one of them but you may have to wait a long time and locals are of course given preference over tourists. I waited 6 days and was still very lucky to get a place.

Angguruk also has an extremely basic guest house. If your guide is not a local Yali with local friends you will be expected to stay there. For this reason, if trekking from the Baliem Valley and if you speak enough Indonesian you may want to leave your Baliem Valley guide upon arrival in the Yalimo at Waniyok or Pronggoli and hire a new Yali one.

It is highly recommended to visit Angguruk’s market. People come from all over the Yalimo to sell their fruit and vegetables. There’s a very lively atmosphere and, it’s probably the best opportunity in the Central Highlands to see large numbers of people gathered together wearing traditional (un)dress, although still only about 10 – 20% wear it.

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  • Joy Dale Crawford says:

    Hi Ed,
    You’ve written some interesting & helpful information on your site, but I do need to correct you on a point above & that is, my Dad, Stan Dale, who you refer to as being eaten, is not correct. Yes, he was murdered by cannibals there in 1968, but we found out later that he & Phil Masters were not in fact eaten. The Yali men who killed them did not follow their usual custom and the reason for that is explained in a book called, “Lords of the Earth” by Don Richardson, which gives the account of the early missionaries in that area. Kind Regards, Joy Crawford

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