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SEPIK RIVER EXPEDITIONS

The Sepik River stretches from Telefomin in Sandaun Province to its outlet into the Bismarck Sea at Kopar village. There are many villages and hamlets in this culturally and environmentally rich area.  The largest local animal is the wild pig - which is tamed and kept in the villages for use at cultural gatherings and compensation ceremonies. There are many other natural animal inhabitants, such as snakes, lizards, bandicoots, rats and above all birds. Many of the village songs and dances centre on indigenous animals and birds - the largest of which is the angry-looking flightless cassowary, a relative of the emu and the second heaviest bird on the planet.

The Middle Sepik is the last remaining area where the crocodile skin cutting initiation is still practiced. The villages in this region are more accessible and not so far apart in terms of travel time than on the more remote Upper Sepik. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still retain their Haus Tambarans and practice their traditional customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. Also, the villages are home to famous artists and their sought-after birds’ head carvings.

The Upper Sepik villages are widely spread out with many taking a full day by motor canoe toreach. Therefore, a lot more fuel is required and consideration must be given for canoe time for the comfort of visitors (long days in canoes under the fierce sun can cause acute sunburn etc.).

In the Lower Sepik region the river is wide, with only wild sugar cane growing along the banks, and not so pretty or interesting. The highest cost components are the 4WD vehicle transfers to and from the river and the very high cost of fuel, sadly, both are beyond our control.

All the villages included in our expeditions are carefully chosen to offer a wide variety of distinctive cultural styles; including their extensive carved artifacts, both displayed and for sale, providing our visitors with interesting cultural contrasts and experiences. Witnessing daily activities, like the carving of artifacts, making a Morata house roof out of sago palms, the long, daily, task of sago production (sago is a staple Sepik starchy food which requires lengthy processing), fishing and so on, is encouraged.

All expeditions start and end with a night at the In Wewak Boutique Hotel. It is only a few years old, very well managed and maintained, with good security – it has high standards throughout. The pool is cooling, the rooms are all clean, airy and comfortable and the food and ambience is pleasant. 

Whilst on the expeditions, guests are accommodated in village guesthouses where facilities are very basic:  a mattress, clean bedding, and mosquito nets. Toilet facilities are simple - a hole in the ground serves as the toilet inside a bamboo cubicle – but these toilets are reserved for guests and not used by the whole village. A couple of villages have sit down toilets, but they are still long-drops. Washing/showers is either in the Sepik River (villager style), or two buckets of water and scoop in a bamboo private cubicle under the skies. Visitors will experience life like a villager - BUT with “washing machine cleaned sheets” and all bedding items, crockery and utensils brought in, plus their own toilet and washing areas.

All rates below currently valid until 30th September 2017, in US dollars, based on two people sharing a double room, including return domestic flights between Port Moresby and Wewak. Meals at In Wewak Boutique Hotel are not included, there is a wide range on the a la carte menus and the meals included in full board rates are too big for most. All meals, water, tea and coffee on the river are included. 

8. SHORTER SEPIK TOURS – four nights and five days

Tour CODE

  Description

  4 guests           3 guests              2 guests              1 guest            

T01

  Prices in USD per person

 

OPTIONS  a, b, c

 Based on two sharing a double room

  $1335                $1490                   $1790                 $3195

 

 

 

 

 

With 3 or 5 guests take the rate two sharing a room and add a single supplement of $190, for a twin room instead of a double, add $60 pp sharing.

 Option a   Middle Sepik

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Depart Wewak for Pagwi meet waiting canoe then travel to Palimbei village. Explore village and overnight at Palimbe village.

Day 3. Depart Palimbe village to visit Kanganamun, Aibom, Chambri lakes then return. Walk to Yamok and overnight at Leinga village in the Yamok Torembi area.

Day 4. Depart Leinga village to Pagwi then return to Wewak and overnight at Wewak.

Day 5.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak -Port Moresby.

 

Option b    Upper Sepik

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Depart Wewak for Pagwi, meet waiting canoe then travel to Ambunti and continue to Wagu Lakes and overnight at Wagu village.

Day 3. Depart Wagu village for Tongijamb, return then trek to Mayo village, meet canoe then visit Yesan village and return to Ambunti and overnight at Ambunti Lodge.

Day 4. Depart Ambunti for Pagwi meet waiting vehicle and return to Wewak.

Day 5.5 am check in for the daily 6 10 am flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

 

Option c     Middle Sepik, Palimbei, Chambri Lakes

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2.Depart Wewak for Pagwi meet waiting canoe then travel to Palimbei village. Explore village and overnight in Palimbei village.

Day 3. Depart Palimbei village to visit Kanganamun, Aibom, and Chambri lakes then return to Palimbei and overnight at Palimbei village.

Day 4. Depart Palimbei to Pagwi then return to Wewak and overnight Wewak.

Day 5.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak - Port Moresby.

 

 MIDDLE SEPIK BLACKWATER LAKES EXPLORATION OPTIONS

Tour Code

 Description

4 + GUESTS    3 GUESTS             2 GUESTS        1 GUEST

 

T05

 MIDDLE SEPIK BLACK WATER LAKES OPTIONS

Prices in USD per person

A

 4 nights/5 days

    $1185                 $1305                  $1790              $2525

B

 5 nights/6 days

    $1575                 $1895                  $2310              $3935

C

 6 nights/7 days

    $1715                  $2020                 $2400              $3995

 

With 3 or 5 guests take the rate two sharing a room and add a single supplement of $190, for a twin room instead of a double, add $60 pp sharing.

Option A: 4 nights / 5 days Middle Sepik and Blackwater Explorations.

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Depart Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. Here there is a cluster of three villages: Palimbei, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their ancient customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to great artists and carvers and their sought-after birds’ head carvings. Then continue to the Blackwater lakes to Tunguimbet village and overnight at Bay View guesthouse.

Day 3. The Sepik River is a vast volume of water. It’s approximately 1200 km long, 10 to 12 meters deep and 100 to 200 meters wide in some areas. Travelling into the tributaries of the Sepik River is a wonderful experience, you pass Mindibit and Mamari villages then you enter the Blackwater lakes. At high water a beautiful landscape of little islands and trees standing in the water is created against a backdrop of mountains, which connects to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It can be dry and barren in the dry season when the water has drained out and entered the main Sepik River before flowing to the Bismark Sea. You will continue to Kanegara Gavamas and overnight at the guesthouse.

Day 4. Early morning bird watching trip to the Gavamas Lake then return for breakfast. After breakfast you depart for Timbunke to catch a vehicle to Wewak.

Day 5.  5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

 

Option B: 5 nights/6 days Middle Sepik and Blackwater Lakes

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Depart Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through to Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. There is a cluster of three villages there: Palimbei, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their traditional customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to great artists and carvers and their sought-after birds’ head carvings overnight Palimbei Village.

Day 3. The Sepik River is a vast volume of water. It is approximately 1200 km long, 10 to 12 meters deep and 100 to 200 meters wide in some areas. Going into Aibom and Chambri lakes is a good way to get off the main river and encounter a narrow black water tributary with more bird life and fishing activities until you reach Chambri lakes. Aibom village is famous for earthenware ceramic art, while Chambri is famous for ceremonial spears and polished art works and has more excellent spirit houses (Haus Tambaran) then you continue to the black water lakes, to Kambraman then to Tunguimbet village and overnight at Bay View guesthouse.

Day 4. Depart Tunguimbet to Kanengara, then go on to Governmas, check in at the guesthouse, then take a tour to Mariama village before returning to the Governmas guest house to stay overnight.

Day 5. After breakfast travel to Gavama Lake for bird watching and to view the lake then late morning return to the guesthouse before travelling to Timbunke to catch a vehicle to Wewak.

Day 6.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak>Madding>Port Moresby.

 

Option C: 6 nights / 7 days  Middle Sepik and Blackwater Lakes

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Depart Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, and Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. There is a cluster of three villages, Palimbei, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to great artists and carvers and their sought-after birds’ head carvings. Explore the village then overnight at Palimbei guesthouse.

Day 3. The Sepik River is a vast volume of water. It is approximately 1200 km long, 10 to 12 meters deep and 100 to 200 meters wide in some areas. Going into Aibom and Chambri lakes is a good chance to get off the main river and encounter a narrow black water tributary with more bird life and fishing activities until you reach Chambri lakes.

The Chambri Lake is a big lake and there are three villages on the bank of the lake. The villages are Krimbit, Wombun and Indengai and the Chambri people are famous for ceremonial spears and polished art works and their excellent spirit houses (Haus Tambaran). Aibom village is also famous for its ceramic art, which is made of local earth and baked on the fire to make pots.

Depart Chambri and continue to the Blackwater lakes area until you reach Tunguimbet where you will overnight at the Bay View guesthouse.

Day 4. You will depart Bay View guesthouse then travels firstly to Kanegara, then to Gavamas and overnight at the guesthouse there.

Day 5. Full day exploration at Gavamas, Seven Buk and Mariama then return to overnight at the guesthouse.

Day 6. Depart early then travel to Tambanum village then return to Timbunke for your vehicle transfer to Wewak.

Day 7.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

MIDDLE AND UPPER SEPIK TOURS

 5 nights / 6 days Middle and Upper Sepik Artefacts Tour

2 sharing – $2310 pp

4 + sharing –  $1610 pp

Flights included

Wewak single supplement $190 extra

Twin room instead of a double, add $60 pp

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2. Leave Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through to Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, and Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. There is a cluster of three villages, Palimbei, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to famous artists and carvers who make bird head carvings.

Day 3. The Sepik River is a vast volume of water. It’s approximately 1200 km long, 10 to 12 meters deep and 100 to 200 meters wide in some areas. Going into Aibom and Chambri lakes is a great opportunity to get off the main river and encounter a narrow black water tributary with more bird life and fishing activities until you reach Chambri lakes. Aibom village is famous for earthenware ceramic art, while Chambri is famous for ceremonial spears and polished art works and has more excellent spirit houses (Haus Tambaran). Meander through drifting logs and floating islands until you reach Ambunti and a turn off into the Wasui Lagoon. By evening you enter into a vast lake environment full of herons, cormorants, wild ducks, egrets, kites, Jacanas and a 1000+ species of water birds. As you canoe further into the tributary the majestic Hunstein range approaches rapidly until you reach the foothills at Wagu village to overnight there in the village guesthouse.

Day 4. The Hunstein range is a wildlife management area and is a project established by the village communities with the help of WWF to protect some of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the world. Early morning departure to the rainforest to see the bird of paradise then return and continue on to Yesan, Maio, Meno, and Tongijamb and return to overnight at Ambunti Lodge.

Day 5. Travel from Ambunti to Pagwi is approximately two hours and on the way you will pass through Malu and Avatip villages (people here belong to the same language group as the Manambu tribe). Just before Pagwi is Japande village – which marks the start of the Yatmul language speaking group of the Middle Sepik. Meet with waiting vehicle at Pagwi then travel to Wewak via Maprik.

Day 6.  5 am check-in for daily flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

 

Six-night  Middle and Upper Sepik Exploration

2 sharing – $2640 pp

4 + sharing – $1730 pp

Wewak single supplement $190 extra

Twin room instead of a double, add $60 pp

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2: 7.00 are departing Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through to Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, and Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. There is a cluster of three villages, Palembei, Yenchan and Kanganaman. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to great artists and carvers and their sought-after birds’ head carvings.

Day 3: Explore the villages then depart by lunchtime to Ambunti then continue to Wagu village and overnight at Wagu village. The Hunstein range is a wildlife management area and is a project established by the village communities with the help of WWF to protect some of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the world. Wagu village is the first village in the Bhinemo language group that extends to the Gahom, Niksek, Kagiru and April River area. You can see bird of paradise in the forest at Wagu village. The bird species are the lesser and greater birds of paradise found in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea.

Day 4: Depart Wagu village for Meno Tongijamb. There is a cluster of five villages whose inhabitants speak the Kowma language. Their main ceremonies are based on the Yena, Minja and Nokwi ceremonies after the yam harvest. After visiting these villages return to the main Sepik River and continue to Swagap village and overnight at Swagap village.

Day 5: Explore Swagap village then return to Ambunti, with a stop at Yesan, to overnight in Ambunti Lodge. Between Ambunti and Swagap are the villages of Apan, Yambon, Prognaui, Yesan Mayo, Kumbawe... then you reach Swagap. Here you will hear a mixture of languages and encounter a range of ethnic groups – some Latmul and Ngala language groups. The more acclaimed are the Swagap people who are known as the Insect tribe because their artefacts are based on the praying mantis.

Day 6: Depart early for Pagwi then travel by road to Konebandu village for a mini show and display of artefacts and decorated yams (in the Yam Harvest Season) then continue on to Wewak and overnight in Wewak. Between Ambunti and Pagwi are the Villages of Malu, Avatip, Yaumbak and Japandai. Malu and Avatip belong to the Manambu language-speaking group, Japandai belongs to the Yatmul language-speaking group. Between Pagwi and Maprik you will travel through part of the Sepik Plains that stretches almost the entire length of the Sepik River to Telefomin. Maprik and Wosera areas are famous for their skyscraper Haus Tambarans and Yam Festivals. You will return to Wewak, passing through Yangoru, Kubalia, over the Prince Alexander Range. The area is best known for the Huanjo Culture (Flying Fox). The flying fox is one of their staple proteins, complimented by a diet that also includes sago and taro, yams, bananas and vegetables.

Day 7.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

 

Seven-night Upper and Middle Sepik Exploration

2 sharing –  $2685 pp

4 + sharing – $2115 pp

Wewak single supplement $190 extra

Twin room instead of a double, add $60 pp

Day 1. Fly from Port Moresby to Wewak in the afternoon. Pick up from the airport and transfer to In Wewak Boutique Hotel.

Day 2: Depart Wewak by vehicle and travel over the Prince Alexander Ranges through Passam, Kubalia, Yangoru, Hayfield/Maprik, Wosera to reach Pagwi. From Pagwi station you will travel to Palimbei. There is a cluster of three villages there - Palimbei, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tambarans and practice their ancient customs including the initiation and scarification of young “crocodile men”. The villages are also home to great artists and carvers and their sought-after birds’ head carvings. You will reach Pagwi Station then jump into a waiting canoe and start your Sepik trip to Paringaui and take a two-hour walk to Lainga village and overnight at Yamok.

The Yamok community is possibly the largest community in the area. This community comprises seven villages with a very strong attachment to their cultural heritage and to the mythical and spiritual realms. This is embodied by the fact that all seven villages have a “Haus Tambaran”.

You may have heard about the skin-cutting rituals along the Sepik River area. Yet, the Malinguat society also practice such rituals, although in some areas it is a dying art due to Christian influences or the loss of village elders, leaving a generation with a lack of knowledge and confidence in these practices. However, skin- cutting rituals of both female and male youths still exist in this society.

Day 3: A full day trekking to Miembe, Slai then to Aulimbet before overnighting at Yamok village.

Day 4: Depart Leinga village at Yamok and walk back to the Sepik River, there get into motorized canoe and continue to Palimbei then Kanganamun and overnight at Palimbei village.

Day 5: Leave Palimbei and jump into a motorized canoe and pass through Sepik River villages to reach Wagu village and overnight at Wagu village. The Hunstein range is a wildlife management area and is a project established by the village communities, with the help of WWF, to protect some of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the world. Wagu village is the first village in the Bahinemo language group, which extends to the Gahom, Niksek, Kagiru and April River area. You can see bird of paradise in the forest at Wagu village. The bird species are the lesser and greater birds of paradise found in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea.

Day 6: Early morning visit to the bird of paradise sanctuary in its natural habitat then return and travel to Meno and Tongijamb. Here there is a cluster of five villages where people speak the Kowma language. Their main ceremonies are based on the Yena and Minja ceremonies after the yam harvest. Then continue on to visit Swagap village then return to Ambunti to overnight. Between Ambunti and Swagap are the villages of Apan, Kamanjau,Yambon, Prognaui, Yesan Mayo and Kombawe. There are a mixture of languages  spoken and ethnic groups present such as the Latmul and Ngala language groups. The most acclaimed is the Swagap people, whose culture and arts are based on the praying mantis.  Explore the village then return to Ambunti with a stop at Kumbawe then overnight at Ambunti Lodge.

Day 7: Depart Ambunti for Pagwi to connect with the waiting canoe then return to Wewak through Maprik. Between Ambunti and Pagwi are the villages of Malu, Avatip, Yaumbak and Japandai. Malu and Avatip belong to the Manambu language group and Japandai belongs to the Yatmul language group. Between Pagwi and Maprik you will travel through part of the Sepik Plains. Maprik and Wosera areas are famous for their skyscraper Haus Tambarans.

Day 8.5 am check in for the daily 6 am flight Wewak>Madang>Port Moresby.

 

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Sepik River

Sepik River

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