Top of the Tree – Papua, Indonesian New Guinea

tree-houseSetting up home in the treetops of Papua, Indonesian New Guinea, the Korowai people are traditional hunter-gatherers who use the rainforest’s resources to craft their tree houses. This remote location meant the tribe’s existence was secret until recently.

Towering above the ground, each house has a large Banyan tree at its centre. Branches and leaves are bound with rattan to make floors and walls. Families of up to 12 people can inhabit one house. Fire is a big concern, so hearths are designed with cut-away floor sections to stop flames spreading.

Away from the World

The Korowai lived in complete isolation from the rest of the world until 1974, when Dutch missionaries discovered them. They are said to be one of the last active tribes of cannibals – people who eat one another. There are fewer than 3,000 Korowai people now living on the island of New Guinea.