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Tribal Lands of Papua New Guinea

Group Tour

17 Days From £8,495

Overview

One of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet, Papua New Guinea is home to more than 850 known languages. One of the least explored countries anywhere in the world, both culturally and geographically, Papua New Guinea has adventure written all over it! This stunning journey allows us the opportunity to experience itsastonishingly rich natural landscape and cultural traditions. First we’ll travel down the Sepik River to visit the fascinating crocodile people, before venturing up to the ...
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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

17 x Breakfasts
16 x Lunches
16 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, motorised canoe, and domestic flights.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 10

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in hotels, homestays in the Sepik River region, community owned guesthouses and , a jungle lodge. Please note that conditions in the Sepik River region will be very primitive with shared long houses and river washing or bucket style washing. In the Simbai Village at the community owned guesthouse, which is charming but basic, there will be shared showers and toilets. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

 

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Tribal Lands of Papua New Guinea
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR BEGINS IN PORT MORESBY; FLY TO WEWAK

DAY 1: TOUR BEGINS IN PORT MORESBY; FLY TO WEWAK

Starting in the country’s capital early this morning we will meet at the airport and have a chance to enjoy a reviving breakfast. Depending on the flight time, we may have time for a little sightseeing, before flying on to Wewak on the northern coast of New Guinea. The capital of the East Sepik province, Wewak provides the gateway into the swamplands and tropical rainforests of the Sepik River, New Guinea’s longest river. On arrival we will be transferred to our comfortable boutique hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax from the long journey.

In Wewak Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: WEWAK – MUSHU ISLAND - WEWAK

DAY 2: WEWAK – MUSHU ISLAND - WEWAK

Leaving from Wewak beach by boat, our destination today is the beautiful palm fringed white sand beaches of Muschu Island, regarded as a secret paradise. Hidden within the island’s jungle are clues to Muschu’s wartime past with anti-aircraft guns, a plane wreck and discarded jeeps echoing back to the Japanese occupation in World War II. For those interested, we can take a short bush walk to see how the locals cultivate tobacco, yam and taro. We will have a traditional lunch by the beach and then relax and enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters before returning to our hotel in the late afternoon.

In Wewak Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: WEWAK TO SEPIK RIVER

DAY 3: WEWAK TO SEPIK RIVER

After meeting up with our local guides this morning, we then embark on a four-hour drive to Pagwi, on the Sepik River. From here we travel down river by motor canoe, a journey of some two hours that brings us to the village of Kanganamun, in the heart of the Middle Sepik. This region is home to the famous crocodile-men of Yatmoul, whose rituals include marking the skin in deep cuts to resemble the teeth marks of the great crocodile spirit. Their immense spirit houses are considered cathedrals of primitive art and on arrival we will be settled with our hosts in basic homestay accommodation.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: SEPIK RIVER

DAY 4: SEPIK RIVER

Spending the day exploring the Middle Sepik region, today we have an opportunity to visit at least a couple of traditional dance ceremonies, as well as a number of different spirit houses and villages. Travelling by motorised canoe, we will explore some of villages to learn more about the traditions of their initiation ceremonies of the local people, before continuing on to Palembe, where we take a short walk to one of the oldest Haus Tambarans in the Sepik region. NB, Please be aware that the course and content of today’s visits are very much dependent on the safety conditions and water levels along the river.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: SEPIK RIVER - MT HAGEN - KUMUL LODGE

DAY 5: SEPIK RIVER - MT HAGEN - KUMUL LODGE

Leaving early this morning we head back to Pagwi and Wewak, enjoying the early morning light on the river. We take a short flight on to Mount Hagen in the heart of the Western Highlands. Located amongst the fertile landscapes of the Wahgi Valley, the city is named after the eroded volcanic peak of Mount Hagen and, on arrival, we will be met and driven on to the lodge situated a short drive outside Mount Hagen. Arriving late in the afternoon, there will be time to relax and perhaps observe some of the birdlife feeding around the lodge before dinner.

Kumul Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: KUMUL LODGE - MOUNT HAGEN

DAY 6: KUMUL LODGE - MOUNT HAGEN

Kumul Lodge is in the Hagen area, and is entirely owned and managed by local people. Home to some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world, the lodge’s myriad of nature trails and tracks provide ideal settings along which to discover birds, orchids and other resident wildlife This region is one of the few in New Guinea where the famed Birds of Paradise make a regular appearance, whilst other visitors include Brehm’s tiger parrot, smoky honeyeaters and crested berry-peckers. After a dawn we start to observe these spectacular Birds of Paradise, and then you can enjoy the rest of the day observing and photographing these colourful characters around the lodge in the company of expert guides or take a walk to the impressive orchid garden nearby. In the late afternoon we will return to Mount Hagen.

Highlander Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: MT HAGEN - SIMBAI VILLAGE

DAY 7: MT HAGEN - SIMBAI VILLAGE

This morning we take a short charter flight to reach Simbai, a remote governmental station in the Bismarck range. Up here, there is a very limited infrastructure away from any roads and the life of the local people is still very traditional. From the air strip it’s a 20 minute walk to the nearby village where we stay in a charming guest house, surrounded by beautiful gardens, for the next three nights. In Simbai we experience a living culture of this tribe, who have impressive body adornments and will have plenty of opportunity to learn about their lives and traditions. We will have the chance to explore on foot the beautiful surrounding area, as well as our host village and the local school.

Simbai Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAYS 8 - 9: SIMBAI VILLAGE

DAYS 8 - 9: SIMBAI VILLAGE

Over these two days we get a chance to share in the daily life of the village. The Kalam wear impressive helmets covered in beetle heads so during our time here we will learn more about the ancient culture and rituals of this tribe and see how the famous beetle head headdresses are prepared. On one of the days we will witness the festival atmosphere as the village ladies prepare food for a “mumu” feast, when a whole pig is skillfully butchered and cooked on hot stones in the ground. The opening of the mumu is celebrated with a traditional ‘singsing’, which for the villagers could last long into the night!

Simbai Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: SIMBAI VILLAGE - MOUNT HAGEN

DAY 10: SIMBAI VILLAGE - MOUNT HAGEN

Today we say farewell to the Simbai community and depart the Northern Highlands and takeon a privately chartered flight back to Mount Hagen. We will have lunch and a short coffee tour at Banz Coffee, one of New Guinea famous roasters. After lunch we will return to Mount Hagen for the night with some time to relax at our comfortable hotel.

Highlander Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: MOUNT HAGEN - GOROKA

DAY 11: MOUNT HAGEN - GOROKA

Considered one of PNG’s most attractive towns, Goroka lies some five hours by road from Mount Hagan. Each year, around the country’s independence celebrations (16 September), the town hosts the famous Goroka Show, a two-day cultural event that sees tribes from all across the region gather to take part in one of the most colourful festivals in the country. Today we get to journey east along the Highlands Highway across the mountains and fertile vegetable gardens of the region. The Central Highlands provide ample opportunities to stop and enjoy the landscapes, before we finally arrive in Goroka later this afternoon.

Phoenix Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: GOROKA

DAY 12: GOROKA

With a whole weekend to enjoy this spectacular festival, we’ll have an opportunity to watch some 1,000 men and women partake in one of Papua New Guinea’s most celebrated events. Over 100 different tribes are represented, in a dazzling display of colour, songs and energy that perfectly encapsulates the rich cultural ethnicity of this remarkable island.

Phoenix Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: GOROKA - PORT MORESBY

DAY 13: GOROKA - PORT MORESBY

There will be more time to take in the sights and sounds of this stunning annual event before departing Goroka on a late afternoon flight back to Port Moresby for the evening.

Sanctuary Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: PORT MORESBY - RABAUL

DAY 14: PORT MORESBY - RABAUL

We take a morning flight to Kokopo the capital city of East New Britain, a huge island which is part of the Bismarck archipelago. Kokopo is the new capital of the Province after Rabaul town was buried under the ashes of the Tavurvur volcano in 1994 which is still active. This creates a wonderful backdrop to the town, with its spectacular harbour, the tropical coastline, and not forgetting the fascinating and colourful cultural life and markets of the Tolai people. On arrival in Rabaul we head directly to the famous Rabaul Hotel, which survived the eruption and is still functioning today. After lunch we will drive through the eerie abandoned old town to visit the hot springs and the volcano observatory, along with some of the World War II relics. We will check into our hotel hopefully with time to watch the sunset over Simpson Harbour.

Kokopo Beach Bungalows or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: RABAUL

DAY 15: RABAUL

We take to the water today and head out to the Duke of York Islands. There are 13 islands in total, spread over 58 km2. We stop for a spot of snorkeling in the crystal clear, azure blue lagoons with white sandy beaches and lush green vegetation and take a walk through a village enjoying a local lunch and see some traditional dances. Returning to the hotel in the mid afternoon you will have some free time to relax and enjoy your tranquil surroundings. After an early dinner we head out to a Baining village, an hour’s drive away. This is where we witness the mesmerising and unforgettable spectacle of a Fire dance, synonymous with this region of PNG. We return to the hotel late in the evening.

Kokopo Beach Bungalows or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: RABAUL - PORT MORESBY

DAY 16: RABAUL - PORT MORESBY

This morning we take a quick trip out to one of the colourful local markets before taking a flight back to Port Moresby. This is the traditional home of the Motuan people, and the area around Port Moresby was a busy trading centre even before the arrival of the British in 1873. During the Second World War it was targeted by the Japanese as a staging post and air base, in order to cut off Australia from South-East Asia and the Americas. This afternoon we venture out to the Nature Park, PNG’s leading botanical and native zoological park and gardens, showcasing the best of the nation's flora and fauna in a picturesque setting. Over There are over 150 animals are on display including multiple species of tree kangaroos, cassowaries, birds of paradise, parrots, pigeons, reptiles, wallabies and much more. Later we enjoy our farewell dinner and our final night in the capital.

Sanctuary Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17: TOUR ENDS PORT MORESBY

DAY 17: TOUR ENDS PORT MORESBY

We have a relaxing morning before heading to the airport where the tour ends.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Simbai Village Visit

Large tracts of Papua New Guinea are populated by local people with limited infrastructure and access to the outside world. On our trips we incorporate a visit to Simbai which is situated in the Bismarck range where the life of the local Kalam people is very simple. We arrange with the head of the village to make a visit to the local school where the group are introduced to the students and we organise question and answer sessions to understand more about the culture and lifestyle. Clients are encouraged to donate pencils, notebooks and rulers as well folders, diaries and dictionaries for the pupils and teachers. Sports equipment such as volleyballs, netballs, rugby balls and footballs are also very well received! As well as this good interaction is experienced by initiating a meeting forum for all the villagers to come and meet the group and exchange life stories, hope and dreams along with welfare concerns. These visits are always really powerful for all and creates a far greater human bond for locals and visitors alike.

For the future we will try and offer support and assistance to the village for some community development projects.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
SQ 319 London Heathrow (LHR) 20:50 Singapore Airport (SIN) 16:55
PX 393 Singapore Airport (SIN) 20:15 Jackson Airport (POM) 04:50
PX 392 Jackson Airport (POM) 15:00 Singapore Airport (SIN) 19:20
SQ 322 Singapore Airport (SIN) 23:30 London Heathrow (LHR) 05:55

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour, UK passport holders currently require a visa for Papua New Guinea but this can be applied for on arrival and is currently free of charge. (NB, this information is subject to change)

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

 

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Papua New Guinea boasts a warm to hot and humid climate throughout the year. Temperatures generally average 25C to 32C, with the higher mountain regions being a little cooler at 23C. Relative humidity is high and ranges between 70 to 90 percent. Each province experiences a rainy season in the summer months but the driest time is from May to November. Typhoons can hit Papua New Guinea from December to mid-March, and can sometimes cause heavy damage, flooding and erosion.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

This is an adventurous trip in an undeveloped country so a sense of humour and flexibility are a pre-requisite. If you are in a reasonable state of health and fitness you should be able to cope with this tour. However, please note that the conditions in the Sepik River are extremely basic with few frills, and the accommodation is shared and rustic at best. The roads and infrastructure are poor and drives can be long and tiring even though distances are short. Some food in the most remote regions may be limited in terms of variety. You will have a couple of days sitting in motorised canoes. If you are up for the challenge you will be hugely rewarded!

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except for the two nights on the Sepik River and the 3 nights in the Simbai Village where we stay in village guest houses. During the 2 festival nights single rooms are unavailable due to limited bed space at this time.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking. In addition, due to the particular nature of this trip, an interim deposit of £1000 (or equivalent) per person will be required within 30 days of booking a guaranteed departure, or subsequently within 30 days of receiving confirmation from us that the trip has been guaranteed.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 17996 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION