A COMBINED SEPIK RIVER EXPEDITION
AND ATTENDANCE AT THE
2024 MT. HAGEN TRIBAL CULTURAL SHOW
A special opportunity to combine a Middle Sepik River expedition and then travel on up to the PNG Highlands to attend the 2024 Mt. Hagen Show.
The Mt. Hagen show runs for two full days on the 15th, 16th & 17th August 2024. More than 80 different cultural groups perform exposing their stunningly beautiful costumes with traditional songs and dances. Coincided with the festival is the Paiya Mini Show, (a truly – “Up Close and Personal” special experience), held in a village setting the day before the Mt. Hagen show on the 15th attendance at this event is included in the itinerary and overall price.
For those adventure seekers and” Culture-Vultures” wanting to see as much of the river life as possible and are interested in the many varied styles of Sepik carvings and artefacts followed by flying up to the PNG Highlands to attend the infamous, annual, “Mt. Hagen Cultural Show” – then this expedition is for you.
Starting from arriving at Wewak, East Sepik Province on the northern coast of PNG the first night will be at Wewak’s best hotel. The following morning visitors will be transported in an air-conditioned private vehicle to Pagwi (Middle Sepik River location). You will travel by motorised dugout canoe down the flowing river, stopping off at villages along the way to PNG FA’s own guesthouse at Kanganaman, Middle Sepik Region. The Middle Sepik is the home of the Itmul people who still follow the ancient ritual of the skin cutting scarification of their young men to become very highly respected “Crocodile Warriors”.
The Middle Sepik region 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 Skin cutting 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 high status and great respect.
This is PNG FA’s area of specialisation – giving people a true taste of PNG adventure! The villagers we meet are the 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 purchasing.
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.
At the end of the Sepik River part of the expedition you will be transported back to Wewak and overnighting at the “In Wewak Boutique Hotel”.
The next day, after experiencing the Sepik River, you will be able to fly back to Port Moresby and then fly, without too long a transit time, the short distance up into the PNG Highlands. A totally different part of PNG which is frequently referred to as ‘The Gardens of PNG’ due to its temperate climate resulting in a profusion of vegetable and fruit growing. You will be met at the airport and for many days be able to experience the different culture present in the PNG Highlands and then be escorted to the famous Mt. Hagen Cultural Show, which is held every year.
Day 1 – 8th August 2024 (Meal: Evening dinner)
Arrive in Wewak by air from Port Moresby. Be met at the airport by the “In Wewak Boutique Hotel” Courtesy bus – check-in to a standard room. Chris Karis of PNG FA will meet you at 6.30 pm in the reception area to brief you on your Sepik River expedition. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 – 9th August (Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch & dinner)
Breakfast at 7 – 7 30 am. Depart Wewak with your guide by private bus to Pagwi in the Middle Sepik region. Board your motorised dugout canoe heading downriver to Kanganamun, on the way, if time allows, stopping off at Korogu village (if not time, then on your way back upriver) and onto Kanganamun village. Visit the largest and oldest Haus Tambaran along the river. Sleep at Kanganamun guesthouse.
Day 3 –10th August (Meals: All Meals)
Depart Kanganamun and visit the nearby beautiful village of Palembei with its two Haus Tambarans, both filled with an amazing selection of artifacts. There will be plenty of opportunity to inspect and purchase many varied forms of artifacts in the village and inside the Haus Tambarans at this village. Return to Kanganamun and visit the Initiated Crocodile Men in the Spirit House at night, a great experience when you can almost feel the ancestors in the shadows! It may be possible, as an alternative, to go crocodile hunting in the evening with young men from the village. Sleep 2nd night at the Kanganamun village guesthouse.
Day 4 – 11th August (Meals: All Meals)
Depart Kanganamun to visit Kimindibit village on the riverbank to enjoy the village display of varied woven and wooden artefacts on display & then travel on to Aibom village in the beautiful Chambri Lakes. This village is known for its local clay pottery, sago storage jars, and fire pots for cooking which the Aibom villagers’ trade with other villages all along the river for food crops that they cannot grow in the Lakes region due to the clay content of their soil. Overnight in Chambri Village guest house, overlooking the lakes.
Day 5 –12th August (Meals; All Meals)
After breakfast visit Chambri Haus Tambaran on the lakeside with its distinctive Chambri style artifacts. For those wanting a moderate hike, an escorted trek up the hillside to enjoy stunning views overlooking the lakes, and for those not so energetic, a sago cooking demonstration and opportunity to sample the villager’s staple meal of sago and fish.
Return upriver to Kanganamun village for the final night on the Sepik River.
Day 6 –13th August (Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch & evening dinner)
The next morning you will have breakfast and then canoe back upriver, to Pagwi. Here your car/bus and driver will escort you and your guide back to Wewak by mid- late afternoon to check into the “In Wewak Boutique Hotel” for your night’s stay.
Day 7- 14th August (Meals: Breakfast in Wewak, lunch and dinner in Mt Hagen).
After breakfast, be transported, in the hotel bus, to the airport to check in for the Air Niugini domestic flight to Port Moresby. After arriving in Port Moresby, you transfer to the Mt. Hagen flight. Flying to Mt Hagen via Port Moresby is a journey time of approx. 3 hours and you land in Mt Hagen. There may though be an opportunity to fly between Wewak and Mt Hagen direct with PNG Air which will not only be cheaper but only an hour’s journey time. At the time of booking this will be checked.
Meet/ greet on arrival at Kagamuga airport Mt. Hagen and transfer to Travelers Hut and check in followed with lunch. After lunch transfer to Waghi valley for coffee and tea plantations and even processing plants. Afternoon retire to Travelers Hut and overnight.
- Your accommmdation will be Traveler’s Hut located within Mt. Hagen town.
- Rooms have 2x beds, single and double in one room. Hot water system, security provied and stand by genset in case of power blackouts.
Day 8 –15th Aug (Meals: B/fast, lunch & dinner provided)
“Full day Paiya village & Paiya show”
Early breakfast and transfer to Paiya village for Paiya mini show. Welcome by the chief and his five wives in traditional attire exposing some of the rich body ornaments. Paiya mini show is hosted by Paiya tours involving different dancing groups. All in traditional clothing with plumes of bird of paradise. You will have the opportunity of seeing different dancing groups, from preparation to face painting, feathers display, body decoration to actual show on the main arena, followed with courting ceremony, traditional fighting using bows and arrows, traditional marriage exchanging pigs, money, and other valuables, traditional cuisine prepared underground with hot stones. Local mumu is to celebrate the festivity with the performers and tourists. Tourists have the change of tasting the local cuisine. Paiya mini show has been highly commended because of the village setting that perfectly blends with the environment, so as the friendly people who love to meet tourists and share their cultures.
Afternoon, continue to Kumul lodge for sing birds come to feeding table and feed. You will have the chance to see Ribbon tailed astraphia, single bill, Staphaia Astraphia and other non-bird of paradise species and continue to the lodge and overnight. Overnight: Traveler’s Hut.
- Expect to increase number of dancing groups to 12 but variety
- Additional activities like traditional marriage & mock fighting using bows & arrows
Day 9 – 16th Aug (Meals: B/fast, lunch & dinner provided)
Early breakfast and transfer to Mt. Hagen show ground for the Mt. Hagen culture show. This will be a big festival that involves more than 80 ethnical dancing groups from the Highlands and costal – PNG. Transfer early in order to see the preparations to performance. The show goes on for 2 x days. Tourists will be allowed to enter the main arena with tourist’s badge. It’s a full day show, and tourists will enjoy taking photos, seeing the show, mingling with performers and learn about different cultures. Afternoon scenic tour and retire hotel/lodge
Day 10 – 17th Aug (Meals: B/fast, lunch & dinner provided)
Breakfast and continue with the show until midday and retire. In the afternoon take Air Niugini flight to Port Moresby. Overnight in chosen Port Moresby Hotel
Day 11 – 18th Aug
Fly internationally back home from Port Moresby
PROGRAM ENDS HERE
Based on 10 persons = US$3,570/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 9 persons = US$3,870/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 8 persons = US$4,170/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 6 persons = US$4,450/person all-inclusive except domestic flights.
Based on 4 persons = US$4,000/person all-inclusive except domestic flights
Based on 2 persons = US$4,250/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.
Change of Plan
PNG Frontier Adventures puts great emphasis on experience and interaction with the village people. To fulfil this experience, you will stay in remote villages on the Sepik River and be exposed to the same travel limitations and hazards as the villagers themselves.
PNG Frontier Adventures will do everything possible to organise your expedition itinerary as requested, however, due to the remote nature of the destination and possible sudden changes in the tropical weather conditions and lack of reliable communications, when on the Sepik River part of the expedition, changes of plans are sometimes necessary.
We make plans to cover most problems should they arise, which is very seldom, but the visitor must be aware of the small 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, and forced changes to your itinerary due to reasons beyond our control or planning.
Food & Water whilst on the River.
Food, while on the Sepik River, will be very basic and simple due to the lack of any refrigeration & power supply along the river. Daily meals will consist of rice with either tinned fish or meat and/or fresh fish and chicken together with fruits. We also pack eggs for the first part of the expedition. There is not any bread or bakery outside of Wewak town. We carry plenty of good quality bottled water with us. It is important to understand the basic reality of this remote region and the limitations’ it makes on our provisions.
We also wish you to understand that whilst on the Sepik River part of this expedition, due to the remoteness and lack of development at the location. The village guesthouses and home stays are of a very simple, basic village 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 mosquito nets, washing areas may consist of a bucket and scoop or a dip in the Sepik River.
Wewak Town Hotel Accommodation
PNG Frontier Adventures books all our visitors into the “In Wewak Boutique Hotel” – for the first and last night in Wewak.
This covers 2 night’s total accommodation with basic meals and 2 airport transfers ONLY – these costs are included in all our costings/invoice. Clients have to buy their own alcohol as that is NOT included in the cost.
Any additional hotel nights and subsequent food and beverages at the hotel to be paid by the guest to the hotel directly. This hotel accepts most credit cards.
Lately, mobile telephone communication towers are gradually being constructed along the Sepik River giving some intermittent coverage mainly in the Middle Sepik River locations.
PNG Frontier Adventures advises visitors that transportation on our adventures will include dug-out timber motorised canoes and car hire from local rental firms. These forms of transport do carry limited safety equipment such as life jackets but flares or emergency radios are not carried as the law in PNG does not require this standard as yet.
PNG Frontier Adventures informs the visitor that medical services are very limited here and rescue services 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 before visiting PNG 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 email and provide a quotation 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 8 weeks prior to the commencement date. 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 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 organise everything needed for your adventure; all you need to bring is your own personal effects and any spending money for the purchasing of artefacts or for extra food and drinks when up the river.
Please note a full breakdown of the tour costing cannot be provided. In Wewak we book you in and pay the accommodation costs for two nights in a standard air-conditioned room at the “In Wewak Boutique Hotel” that is the 1st night when you arrive into Wewak and the last night before you fly off to Mt Hagen. PNG FA also pay for all food and soft drinks in the hotel. Guests pay the hotel direct for any extra meals and alcohol consumed.
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. The deposit monies are not refundable.
Payment of the required deposit to PNG Frontier Adventures assumes automatic acceptance of the terms and conditions mentioned above.