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.
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.
The Ambunti (Upper Sepik) “Crocodile Festival” is a small and personal festival originated less than 20 years ago for the people of this region together to display their traditional dress and dances.
PNG Frontier Adventures offers a five-day expedition including visiting The Crocodile 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.
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.
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 three full days on the in 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 Friday and 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.
A one-off chance to combine a Middle Sepik River expedition, and then be able to travel to the PNG Highlands to attend the 2024 Goroka Show.
The Goroka Show runs for two and a half days in September 2024. More than 90 different cultural groups perform exposing their beautiful costumes with songs and dances.