PNG FRONTIER ADVENTURES
WHERE YOUR PNG ADVENTURE REALLY BEGINS
Upper Sepik River Adventure (FA 01)
Want to experience the Last Frontier of Papua New Guinea where few foreign visitors have ventured?
If so, this adventure is for you.
The Sepik River is one of the richest areas in PNG for traditional culture, rainforests and carvings. The Upper Sepik is particularly renowned for its ancestral ‘Men’s Spirit Houses’ and the ‘Insect Culture’ Clan (Swagup Village) as opposed to further down the river in the Middle Sepik region with Iatmul people with their ‘Crocodile Clan Culture’. The villages we visit in the Upper Sepik region are remote and located in a less populated area. The Upper Sepik villages tend to be smaller communities and are further apart in location to each other village than in the Middle and Lower Sepik regions. Some can take a day of canoe travel to reach but still offer very welcoming village people.
Due to the remoteness of this part of the river, villagers will seldom be informed of your arrival beforehand so we send you with a complete survival kit including mosquito nets, basic food provisions and bedding together with a true sense of adventure into the unknown!
Our English-speaking guides are from the area and in knowing the region and village people well, are totally trustworthy and friendly.
For those wanting to see as much of the river life as possible and are interested in varied styles of Sepik carvings and artefacts we offer this ‘Drive in to Pagwi, Drive out from Angoram’ expedition.
Starting from Pagwi (Middle Sepik), you will travel by motorized dugout canoe down the flowing river stopping off at villages along the way until reaching Angoram.
This part of the Sepik River has villages dotted along the riverbanks, each with its own distinctive style of artefacts and variations of culture. The area is steeped in rituals, ceremonies and customs that are still very much part of the villagers’ daily lives today as they have been for thousands of years.
The Middle Sepik is particularly renowned for its ancestral ‘Men’s Spirit Houses’, (Haus Tambarans), where for centuries the amazing ‘Crocodile Initiation Ceremonies’ have taken place, together with many other rituals. This scarification of the skin is made through hundreds of fine cuts to the torso and tops of the arms. When the skin has healed, the scars give an appearance of crocodile skin markings. These marks represent the initiation from boyhood into adult warrior thus bringing status and great respect.
This is our area of specialisation – giving people a true taste of PNG adventure! The villagers we visit are most welcoming hosts. Our experienced trained guides will explain the customs, answer your questions and assist you with everything, including help with the purchasing of any artefacts you may be interested in.
We can also include visiting the Chambri and Blackwater Lakes Region.
There will plenty of opportunity for trekking through the jungle, seeing wild orchids, beautiful birds, catching fish for the evening meal, going crocodile hunting with the young men, viewing and buying carvings, and experiencing each village’s distinct idiosyncrasies. No two villages are alike.
The region of The Lower Sepik River and its tributary Keram River is accessible from Wewak by road to Angoram. From the riverbanks at Angoram your transport is in a motorized dugout canoe to travel to the villages of interest in this area. The Keram River is not as wide as the Lower Sepik River and its banks support dense rainforest trees and vines, making it an extremely pretty region to canoe along.
The scarification skin cutting rituals of the Middle Sepik are not practiced on this part of the river but the Chiefs and men from the villages still gather in the Haus Tambarans for meetings to discuss the general running of the village and for other customary rituals, which are still followed.
Accommodation is in village houses with families, thus giving the visitor a genuine insight into family life upon the river.
The exception to this is Kambot village where visitors actually sleep upstairs under mosquito nets in a Haus Tambaran styled Carving House.
The Keram River people of Chimondo, Kambot, Bobten and Yip villages are famous for their delightful wooden carved story-boards which depict everyday village life or legends of the ancestors.
There will be plenty of opportunity for buying carvings and experience that feeling that you are on a different planet.
No problems with drinking water as we supply our guest with sealed bottled water bought in Wewak town.
Our guides are English speaking from this area, totally trustworthy and very friendly.
We highly recommend that after returning from your Sepik River adventure, to take one or two (or more…) days on pretty YUO ISLAND – a 40 minute boat crossing from Wewak town. The tranquil island guesthouse is situated in a small, picturesque bay, on a white sandy beach. It even has a simple flush toilet and running shower, (luxuries after the river villages!).
Very friendly Robert and his delightful family offer a warm welcome to all visitors while cooking and serving delicious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They will look after your every need whilst you simply relax at the water’s edge in hammocks, snorkel in the blue, pristine shallow waters or explore this small island.
This is the perfect way to ease back into the world after your remote river experience.
Sadly, due to PNG being such a very expensive country to get to and then with everything in country also being expensive, the cost for a single person expedition is very, very high.
This is due to not being able to share the main costs with others such as the two town river transfers, guide, canoe man and all fuel consumption.
To overcome this, PNG Frontier Adventures now offers TWO dates per year when solo travellers can get together to share an expedition and thereby reduce the cost per person.
These 2 special expeditions are offered in in JUNE and OCTOBER each year and are dependant on at least 2 solo travellers up to 4 persons sharing 4 night/5 day expedition on the Sepik river.
The Ambunti (Upper Sepik) “Crocodile Festival” is a small and personal festival originated 8 years ago for the people of this region to display their traditional dress and dances.
The Kanganamun “Tambuna Festival” began 4 years ago for the Middle Sepik /Crocodile Clan people to compete with each other for the award of being best traditional dress and Sing-Sing.
PNG Frontier Adventures offers a ten day expedition including visiting the Crocodile & Tambuna Festivals, and visiting Wagu Lagoon with its “Regina Birds of Paradise” allowing for sighting of the stunning Birds of Paradise performing their dawn chorus in the rain forest canopy..
A one-off chance to combine a Middle Sepik River expedition and then travel on up to the PNG Highlands to attend the 2019 Mt. Hagen Show.
The Mt. Hagen show runs for three full days on the 16th, 17th & 18th August 2019. More than 80 different cultural groups perform exposing their beautiful costumes with songs and dances. Coincided with the festival is the Paiya mini show, held in a village setting the day before the Mt. Hagen show on Friday 16th and attendance at this event is included in the itinerary and overall price.
Firstly, for those wanting to see as much of the river life as possible and are interested in varied styles of Sepik carvings and artefacts and then after visit the famous, yearly held, Mt. Hagen Cultural Show this expedition is for you.
A one-off chance to combine a Middle Sepik River expedition and then be able to travel to the PNG Highlands to attend the 2019 Goroka Show.
The Goroka Show runs for two full days on the 13th, 14th & 15th September 2019. More than 50 different cultural groups perform exposing their beautiful costumes with songs and dances.
A one-off chance to combine a Middle Sepik River expedition and then travel East to Madang to experience some of the best diving in PNG.
Firstly, for those wanting to see as much of the river life as possible and are interested in varied styles of Sepik carvings and artefacts and then after fly the short distance to Madang and stay in the top quality Madang Resort Hotel and enjoy several days of great scuba diving on pristine coral reefs and WWII wrecks, visiting the beautiful islands offshore including Krangket Island and visiting many of the World War II land sites .