UPPER SEPIK “CROCODILE FESTIVAL”
& MIDDLE SEPIK “TAMBUNA FESTIVAL”
Combined Expedition (FA 06) in August 2024
The word TAMBUNA means – ancient traditions.
The Kanganamun “Tambuna Festival” began 10 years ago for the Middle Sepik and the Crocodile Clan people compete for the award of being best traditional dress and Sing-Sing performance.
The Ambunti Crocodile Festival began14 years ago and is held in the Upper Sepik region.
PNG Frontier Adventures offers a 9-day/8- nights on the river expedition including visiting the Crocodile Festival and the Tambuna Festival 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.
9 Days / 8 Nights on the Sepik River
Day 1 – 4th August 2024
Arrive in Wewak by air usually from Port Moresby. Met at airport by the transfer courtesy bus for the ‘In Wewak Boutique Hotel’ – and then checked in. At 6.30 pm Chris Karis, PNG FA will meet you in the hotel reception area where he will brief you on your Sepik expedition.
Day 2 – 5th August
Breakfast at 7- 730 am. Depart Wewak by private hire vehicle with your guide to Pagwi, Middle Sepik. From Pagwi board and travel upriver by motorized dugout canoe, stopping at Ambunti to visit the Crocodile Festival which is their 1st Day. After spending a short time at the Festival, motor on up to Wagu Lagoon and stay at the Wagu guesthouse that 1st night.
Day 3 – 6th August
Up early and before breakfast hike (15 mins, easy climb) up on to the area where the Regina Birds of Paradise perform their dawn chorus. Return to the guesthouse for breakfast and then first go back to Ambunti to revisit the Crocodile Festival for 2-3 hours leaving the festival show ground by 3 pm, then carry on upriver. Take a turn off the main Sepik River onto its even more remote tributary called the Sanchi River and canoe on to Tongujam Village, arriving by late morning for a village lunch. In the afternoon visit the Haus Tambarans and wander around this area. In the early evening have dinner and overnight in Tongujam Village Guest house.
Day 4 – 7th August
After breakfast witness the daily village task of men and women making sago from the sago palm tree, Sago is the basic carbohydrate food along the river communities. Visit their Haus Tambaran, with its distinctive, beautifully and colorfully painted ceiling panels. Then canoe further upriver through narrow waterways to Amaki Village to enjoy their traditional sing-sing in their Haus Tambaran on the riverbank. Canoe back down river to Mino Village and overnight in a family house there.
Day 5 – 8th August
Canoe on down river visiting the Upper Sepik villages of Maio, and Yambon, passing by Ambunti Catholic Mission and back into the Middle Sepik Region and onto the welcoming, river side village of Korogu. Enjoy the Korogu traditional “sing-sing” and sleep in the village guest house.
Day 6 – 9 th August
After breakfast carry on down river to Kanganamun and check into the guest house there. Cross over the river to visit delightful Palembei village with its 2 Haus Tambarans, both filled with artifacts of many styles for sale. An “Aladdin’s Cave” for artifact buyers! Return to Kanganamun to visit the small Haus Tambaran and witness their own, traditional cassowary sing-sing performed by the women and children. Spend the evening visiting the initiated men in the Haus Tambaran, which is one of the largest on the Sepik River. Overnight in the Kanganamun guest house.
Day 7 – 10th August
After breakfast attend the Tambuna Festival. Kanganamun Village, famous for its carved Sepik Hooks the village has the largest and oldest Haus Tambaran along the river. A traditional welcome into the large Haus Tambaran awaits you and, in the afternoon, you can enjoy the sing-sings being performed by over 12 different tribes from the Middle Sepik region taking part in the Tambuna competition. Overnight in the Kanganamun guest house.
Day 8 – 11th August
After Breakfast canoe on down river a short distance to Kimindibit. Villager Ronnie Bowie has set up an artifact village shop and built a nice guest house to stay in. The village ladies display all their woven and other various village made artifacts (which are for sale), on the riverbanks too.
After evening dinner, go out with Ronnie crocodile hunting in his dugout canoe. Ronnie and his people are very skilled hunters and the crocodiles are prolific in this area. Crocodiles are hunted for their meat and their skins as they have been by the villagers for centuries, using a traditional, simple method. Overnight at Ronnie’s village guest house.
Day 9 – 12th August
After breakfast canoe on down the river, to Aibon to visit the pottery makers in the beautiful Chambri Lakes. View the artifacts in and around the Chambri Lake villages and overnight in Chambri Village Guesthouse.
Day 10 – 13th August
After breakfast start the travel back upriver to Pagwi where the bus will be waiting to take you on the 4.5-hour journey back into the In Wewak Boutique Hotel by mid-late afternoon in time to relax in the hotel pool before dinner. Sleep at the In Wewak Boutique Hotel.
Day 11 – 14th August
After breakfast and spending a relaxing period and or time to wrap and pack your artifact purchases, the hotel courtesy bus will take you down to the airport to check in for your PNG Air or Air Niugini flight out of Wewak.
Villages in the Upper Sepik Regions are very spread out so travelling takes time and requires a lot of fuel to reach. Also, water levels at various times of the year are low resulting in some villages being inaccessible. Your guide will discuss any required change of itinerary plans and discuss alternative ideas with you if this situation arises. Your guide is from this section of the Sepik River and therefore knows the villages and the river very well.
With the Sepik River expeditions, it is important to understand that itineraries are only an outline draft and there will be changes as and when required at the time the expedition is happening.
Based on 10 persons = US$2,950/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 9 persons = US$3,150/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 8 persons = US$3,350/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 6 persons = US$3,550/person all-inclusive except domestic flights.
Based on 4 persons = US$3,950/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 2 persons = US$4,750/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
For a solo traveler there will be a US$750 extra cost.
We offer 5% discounted rates for PNG residents and volunteers working in PNG.
Factors influencing the cost of expeditions include the fluctuation of the PNG currency, “the PNG Kina”, the spiraling rise in inflation within PNG as well as the fact that each “Adventure Expedition” is individually planned to suit the client’s wishes and requirements. It is very difficult, therefore, to give actual costings until we know exactly what your requirements are. We do not offer a standard ‘Package Tour’ it is dependent on how many persons join the group.
Entry to the two festivals is an additional cost which is approximately US$30 pp for each festival. Please contact us, without any obligation, for further information and more accurate costings.
Change of Plan
PNG Frontier Adventures puts great emphasis on experience and interaction with the village people. To fulfill this experience, you will stay in remote villages and be exposed to the same travel limitations, very basic standards and hazards as the villagers themselves.
PNG Frontier Adventures will do everything possible to organize your expedition itinerary as requested; however, due to the remote nature of the destination and possible sudden changes in the tropical weather conditions, tribal issues and lack of reliable communications, when on the Sepik River, changes of plans are sometimes necessary. For example, transportation may be, in rare occasions, unreliable or disrupted.
River water levels rise and fall dramatically twice a year and in August the river is at a very low level. Visiting villages like Tongujam or the Chambri Lakes for example, can sometimes become inaccessible by canoe. If this situation arises during your expedition your guide will discuss the situation with you and alter your itinerary to take you to other villages of interest which are accessible.
We make plans to cover most problems should they arise, which is seldom, but our visitors must be aware of the possibility of plans not working out as per schedule and accept this warning. Please be assured we will do everything in our powers to rearrange the expedition accordingly and find suitable solutions for you. However, PNG Frontier Adventures cannot be held responsible for sudden changes of plan when there is no alternative.
Please be aware that any additional costs incurred in rearranging a disrupted itinerary will be your responsibility and/or your travel insurers.
We strongly recommend that all visitors obtain their own travel insurance to cover forced cancellation of the tour due to unexpected circumstances, e.g., bad weather conditions causing stoppage of flights, loss of baggage or personal items, medical emergency, an arising pandemic and forced changes to your itinerary due to reasons beyond our control or planning.
We also wish you to understand and be aware with your expectations that due to the remoteness and lack of development at the location that the village guesthouses and home stays are of a very simple, basic standard and in no way comparable to guesthouses in many other countries. For example, the toilets are pit toilets, the same as the villagers use, beds will be mattresses on the floor covered with a sheet & mosquito net, washing areas may consist of a bucket and scoop or a dip in the Sepik River.
Wewak Town Hotel Accommodation
Upon arriving into Wewak, each client will require to spend their first night and final night after returning from the River (total of 2 nights) in Wewak town hotel accommodation.
PNG Frontier Adventures makes the Wewak town hotel accommodation booking & confirmation, including airport transfer fees and the accommodation only payment on behalf of all our Clients and that these costs are included in our total costs on each invoice.
We highly recommend and only book with – “The In Wewak Boutique Hotel” as this hotel offers the highest standards in terms of comfort, cleanliness, standard of accommodation, location, service, in- dining options, quality of meals/ food served and security in Wewak town.
Clients however must pay the hotel directly at the time of their visit for all food and beverages consumed at the hotel and for any additional night’s accommodation.
Guests are responsible for full payment to cover food and beverages in the hotel. This hotel accepts credit cards.
Lately, mobile telephone communication towers are gradually being constructed along the Sepik River giving some reasonable but intermittent coverage in some Middle Sepik River locations.
PNG Frontier Adventures advises visitors that the river transportation on our adventures will include dug-out timber motorised canoes and occasionally will require use of a small boat when a dugout is not accessible, plus also car/bus hire from Wewak town local rental Companies. It needs to be understood and accepted that these forms of transport may not be carrying safety equipment such as life jackets, flares or emergency radios as the law in PNG does not require this standard yet.
PNG Frontier Adventures informs the visitor that medical services are very limited here and rescue services on the roads and along the river even more limited. With that in mind we ask our visitors to visit your doctor before travelling to PNG and to ensure you start taking prophylactic medication against malaria to be on the safe side. Please also check on your travel insurance and medical insurance.
Booking Information, Terms and Conditions
Upon receiving an enquiry, we design and plan your personal itinerary via emails and provide a quotation, which includes the two nights Wewak town hotel accommodation, for your perusal.
Once you are happy with the arrangements and wish to proceed with a booking, we ask for a deposit of 30% to be paid to confirm your place on the tour. As soon as we have the deposit your booking reservation is confirmed. We ask for the final balance of payment 4 weeks before the expedition commences. Cancellation within 2 weeks of the commencement of the expedition incurs a penalty of 100% of monies paid to date. The deposit paid is non-refundable.
The reason for this pre-paid booking system is due to the limitations of banking facilities, credit card facilities and currency exchange facilities within Wewak, coupled with the need to purchase fuel and food prior to your intended arrival. In many cases we need to have purchased the fuel beforehand and have it on the river ready, ahead of your expedition. We organize everything needed for your adventure; all you need to bring is your own personal effects and any spending money in local money for the purchasing of artifacts or for extra food and drinks when up the river.
Please note a full breakdown of the expedition costing cannot be provided.
PNG Frontier Adventures does not accept liability for and indemnifies itself from any claims for loss, damages, personal injury or sickness from/to the client/visitor and medical insurance. PNG Frontier Adventures reserves the right to cancel wholly or part or revise the itinerary plans due to current tribal situations, bad weather conditions or detrimental acts of nature at the time of, or just prior to the commencement of, the expedition.
PNG Frontier Adventures offer these terms and conditions in accordance with the Law of Papua New Guinea.
Payment of the required deposit to PNG Frontier Adventures assumes automatic acceptance of the terms and conditions mentioned above.