PNG FRONTIER ADVENTURES
WHERE YOUR PNG ADVENTURE REALLY BEGINS
At PNG Frontier Adventures we are proud of our reputation and welcome you to read feedback from some of our guests.
Clive & Jenny Deacon – Plymouth, Devon, UK
From the moment we first contacted PNG FA to say we were thinking of arranging a visit we were excellently looked after. We had loads of questions, ranging from clothing, inoculations, dates of travel, to currency. climate and programme for the visit having never undertaken an adventure of this type. Sue answered all these and more and explained any options that would be available to us in order to prepare a clear programme,
accommodation and itinerary to meet our needs and expectations.
Visit and experience
From the moment we arrived in Wewak and were met by Chris, we knew we in the hands of an experienced guide and mentor. Over the next 2 weeks we had an awe inspiring adventure as we moved from Wewak to the dugout canoe on the Upper Sepik river and then to the quiet and peaceful experience of Yuo Island.. We were humbled by the people we met, the kindness and hospitality they showed as we visited their piece of the World. We were lucky enough to time our visit with the Crocodile festival, see Birds of Paradise at dawn and meet local people engaged in their daily activities and ceremonies. The team from PNG FA were amazing in managing our visit, from catering and wellbeing to explaining the cultural experiences we were witnessing and our role in avoiding cross-cultural faux-pas. A great experience and tour operator that delivers exactly what it promises – an intimate and sustainable eco-tourist adventure.
Clive & Jenny
Mike Holtby – Denver, USA
We initially discovered this tour operator through previous reviews on Trip Advisor. My wife and I just returned from a trip up the Sepik River with this company, followed by a brief hiatus at the Wewak Boutique Hotel; and then on to Mt. Hagen for the big Cultural Show/Sing-Sing. I would say, however, that my time on the Sepik River was my favorite part of the trip – even though it was an afterthought arranged around the big event in Mt. Hagen.
PNG FA is owned by a Brit, Sue Baker and a native of a Sepik River Village, Chris Karis. We almost cancelled because we had heard so much about the dangers of robbery and inter-tribal violence. I’m glad we didn’t and I would credit Sue’s many emails back and forth with us so I felt fully informed about what we were getting into. Actually, we found the people, particularly on the River, to be very friendly – constantly waving to us, shaking our hands and greeting us wherever we went.
Another thing Sue did well is prepare us for what to expect in terms of staying in local villages, and eating their diet. This trip is not for everyone, as you average four hours a day, sometimes longer, in a dugout canoe.
We slept in villages where we had a pad and a mosquito net, sometimes in a large room with everyone else; sometimes in separate rooms with thin woven palm walls. There was no plumbing, no electricity, no Internet, and although generators were used for a few hours. We washed in the River, and were constantly soaked through our clothes with the heat and humidity. It’s harder for women with an outhouse, sometimes with a seat, sometimes with a slit trench; whereas for men it’s culturally okay to pee anywhere.
So here is the awesome part: we were in a village when the Chief (or “Big Man”) returned from a hunt with seven crocodiles. The whole clan clambered to the riverbank, and then laid out palm leaves, and proceeded to skin and dress the crocs to prepare for a feast. It was quite an experience. Because we’d given the chief coffee and sugar, and sandpaper for his mask making (as Sue’s suggestion); he gave us a crocodile tail which our cook prepared for us over a small fire inside the hut where we stayed that night. It was the best meal of our time on the river. The Chief also showed us a carved board that once held skulls, and told us a story about how his grandfather tried to defend the village and killed four men from a neighboring clan. He and six other men were arrested, and convicted of murder. They spent seven years at hard labor, and then were publicly hanged. Inter-tribal warfare, and paybacks was a part of the culture until then; and the hangings were an effort to stop these practices. So we got a fascinating first-hand look at their cultural history.
We also attended the Crocodile Festival – which I ended up enjoying even more that the big Mt. Hagen Sing-Sing. It is much smaller, attended by only a few dozen tourists.
So if you can put up with the primitive immersion it is a rich cultural experience. My wife and I being a group of two, we were accompanied by our own guide, a boat driver, a cook and a bowman. There were times we were doubled up with other guests, but Sue made an effort to give us a more personal experience with the locals by not having us be part of a large group of tourists.
Ron Skinner – Phoenix, USA
In 2014 I started planning my dream trip to Papua New Guinea. I assumed this would be a once in a lifetime trip, so I wanted the best possible guides and to see as many of the different areas as possible. Being a fan of tropical rainforest, or jungle, travel I knew I had to spend time on the Sepik River. Doing research I concluded that the middle and upper Sepik regions should meet my expectations. I wanted to coincide my trip with at least one cultural sing sing festival (the Papua New Guinea equivalent of a Native American Pow Wow). I began researching ways to do this. After significant research I began a correspondence with Sue Baker, a representative of PNG Frontier Adventures (PNG FA). It took several months, but we were finally able to arrive at a date, price, and duration of an adventure on the Upper and Middle Sepik River. And what an adventure it was!
I arrived in Wewak PNG where I was met by a representative of PNG FA. I was taken to a very nice motel, where the food was good, the facilities modern, and the staff friendly. The next morning several other adventurers and I took a van to Pagwi – River taxi station. Here my guides and I picked up a hand made, but substantial dugout canoe. It was powered by a 40 hp outboard! We traveled several hours up river to Wagu Lagoon on the Upper Sepik, where I spent the night in a traditional reed guest house. The following morning I was taken on a jungle hike where I saw several Birds of Paradise. These are both rare and beautiful birds native to PNG. Later it was on to Ambunti for the Crocodile Festival. This is annual sing sing that includes tribes for many villaages. Some of these groups travel for days to participate. It is a sight to behold! After the Crocodile Festival is was downriver to Kanganaman village. Again I stayed in a traditional village guest house. There was a new sing sing being held in Kanganaman this year and I was fortunate enough to be right in the middle of it! What an opportunity! I took several short trips to other nearby villages while staying in the Kanganaman guest house. In those I was able to purchase traditional carvings and keepsakes. I still wear my bilum (a traditional hand woven bag worn around the neck or over the shoulder).
I went on to visit sea side PNG and the Highlands. Each area offers it’s own charm and adventure, but my time on the Sepik River was truly special. I would say it was a combination of research and my good luck to have found PNG Frontier Adventures to handle the Sepik River part of my total PNG trip. I would thank Chris Karis, manager of PNG FA, his wife Dominica, the guides, boat drivers, and most of all Sue Baker. Without Sue’s patients and willingness to help a sometimes difficult adventurer, none of this would have been possible. I cannot recommend PNG Frontier Adventures strongly enough. While planning this adventure I assumed it would be a once in a lifetime trip. I am already planning my return to PNG.
If you are going to spend the time, effort, and money to visit Papua New Guinea you MUST tour the Middle and Upper Sepik River. If you are going to tour the Middle and Upper Sepik River, you MUST contact PNG Frontier Adventures!
Peter & Kerri Sanders – Winchester, UK
Trip of a lifetime?
A term I have used often after a holiday…
Our trip to Papua New Guinea with PNG Frontier Adventures was the TRUE trip of a lifetime.
Years in the planning with Sue , whose depth of knowledge of the Sepik River people , their culture and traditions was incredible.
Along with Chris and his lovely wife Dom plus an army of team support , our experience was at times overwhelming , humbling and unimaginable.
We felt incredibly safe at all times. Sue , Chris and The PNG FA Team took our safety very seriously working tirelessly behind the scenes. A bit like swans they made it all seem effortless.
My only advice…..Take and extra 2 or 3 nights at the end of the tour to go over to Yuo Island Guest house, purely to give yourself time to digest what you have seen and witnessed.
Thank you PNG frontier adventures
Peter and Kerri Sanders
Yvonne – Ireland
Just back from a brilliant Sepik trip with my sister. We loved the villages especially living with the family. They really made us feel so welcome and part of their family. Chris was lovely and knew everyone so we got to meet a lot of people.
Just loved the music in the Spirit House and enjoyed meeting with the Chief, he had some great stories to share! It has been a brilliant time and we would recommend anyone to do it.
Thanks to Sue and Chris for making it all possible. Hope to come back in a few years to go to the Upper Sepik. Thanks again.
Glennys, Tony, James & William – New York, USA.
Our Middle Sepik stay in both Yamok and Kanganaman has been such a great success. The guest houses have been so well designed and so comfortable plus the food was delicious. The Spirit Houses in Yamok were the most beautiful and remarkable we saw on our entire trip.
The detailed carving and painting by so many individuals expressing their own interpretation were spectacular in the overall impact, reminded us of a medieval European cathedral. The hospitality of our guide and is family was wonderful. Our schedule was so well organized, with a perfect balance between doing a lot and having time to interact with village people and for serendipitous things to develop.
When we think back it is hard to pick a “favorite” – drums, flutes, hospitality…. Chris and his clans filled the Spirit House with stories, the crocodile hunt to swimming in the Sepik each night in order to wash. All were just wonderful and so special.
It is clear that we must visit again in the future.
Ann – Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
I would like to express my appreciation to Sue, Chris and Linus for such a wonderful and educational six day tour of the Middle Sepik Region,(Yamok and Kanganaman mainly). The trip was extremely well planned and organized to provide for many opportunities to experience village traditions, also the making of crafts and artifacts. Unusual for such a tour were the numerous opportunities to interact with villages including the chance to eat evening meals in the family homes, speak with the Chiefs and understand the concerns of the villagers.
Sue, Chris and Linus planned many ways help the visitor to understand and participate in village traditions as well as gain a good understanding of daily village life.
The combination of travel by plane, walking and canoe made it possible to travel with ease and complete security.
This tour has given me some genuine understanding of PNG/Sepik village life, a great appreciation for the people’s rituals, customs, and carvings together with many vivid memories of my time in PNG.
It certainly was a great adventure! Thanks so much/ Tenk yu tru!