First photos of a tribe living in rainforest trees


Back in 1995, George Steinmetz, an award-winning photographer, documented clans of tree-dwelling people in Indonesian New Guinea. They had no prior contact with anyone outside their language group.

These are amazing beautiful images of the Korowai and Kombai clans living in tree houses that stand in clearings they have carved out of the forest.

tree-man-climbingSowayen descending after dislodging ant nest for fishbait, West Papua, Indonesia.

tree-villageA sago grub feast arranged for one of the first groups of tourists to enter Korowai country.

tree-houseAbandoned Korowai treehouse, West Papua, Indonesia.

tree-peopleFelling sago palms to become infested with the larvae of capricorn beetles, a favorite food.

river-korowaiAerial view of a tributary from Korowai country entering the Eilanden River with a rainstorm in the distance.

tree-people-making-dinnerLumbareh making an arrow tip in his tree house.

making-mealKorowai woman processing pulverized sago palm trunk into the starchy staple for almost every meal.

making-foodA leaf full of fish is all that was caught by a half day of emptying out a local stream.

indonesian-tree-peopleKhasef gets her head shaved with a piece of split bamboo.

tree-house-2 Korowai tree house at night.

photographerGeorge Steinmetz taking photos of a Korowai tree house on a rainy morning.

teamOur team on the day we left for Korowai country.


  1. I salute George Steinmetz and his team for their great effort to bring out the the unknown life of the jungle tribe in pictures.Good work done for this side of the “civilized” world to have a little but important understanding of the so-called stone-age life which still exist in our planet.Thanks.

  2. At lest they eat bread too …
    The first photo show that the man is climbing bread-fruit … ummmmm … yummy …

  3. no doubt another hoax……there’s been a few lately on the same type of discovery, fools to believe there is any truth in this. lol.

  4. this tribe really exist, me from Indonesia, and Papua is one of the province. Not so proud of on their condition

  5. @kim o’connell, dont say that. go to indonesia, i pay ur ticket to go there, but if its real, then pay me back 10x.

  6. To rudeboi, why is it a mistake to let white ppl go there? To Kim O’Connell: You should seek the truth before you speak! Only a fool speaks without thought!

  7. Hi
    I am developing an educational project for the french forestry commission about trees and forests and how important they are for the environment. The exhibition is on a tree walk in the french Vercors mountains. One of the stands in this exhibition describes tribes that live in trees and I would like to use your magnificent photo “abandoned Korowai treehouse, West Papua, Indonesia”. to illustrate it. If you accept I would of course credit you and need high res photo.
    Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information
    Best regards
    Caroline Shute

Leave a Reply