Sepik Highlands Odyssey

Nature and culture exploration based in Papua New Guinea's finest lodges
Overview

overview

The Sepik Highlands Odyssey takes you through Papua New Guinea, allowing enough time in each place to be submersed in the culture and ecology of the area. You will be taken on a cultural journey through a few of Papua New Guinea's 700+ language groups, from the Melpa of the Wahgi Valley, to the Yokoim of the Karawari River, to the Iatmul of the Sepik River, and finally to the colorful and flamboyant Huli of the Tari Basin. Each destination has its own unique ecosystem - you may see the magical superb bird of paradise at Rondon Ridge, the bizarre12-wired bird of paradise at Karawari, the mysterious Sepik blue orchid in the Sepik area, or the stunning ribbon-tailed astrapia at Tari. This 12-day trip throughout Papua New Guinea will provide you with an unforgettable experience of this amazing "Land of the Unexpected."

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Port Moresby / Mt. Hagen
    Enjoy stunning mountain scenery

    Upon your arrival in Port Moresby, you will be met by our local staff and transferred to your flight from Port Moresby to Mt. Hagen. Mt. Hagen is in the upper Wahgi Valley - a valley with some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. Perched high on Mt. Kuta is Rondon Ridge, with unbelievable views of the Wahgi Valley. Stay overnight at the Rondon Ridge Hotel for the next three nights.

     

     

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Rondon Ridge
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  • Days 2-3: Mt. Hagen
    Keep an eye out for the cassowary

    Spend two full days exploring the Mt. Hagen area and Wahgi Valley. The Mt. Hagen area is the home of the Melpa people, a people with a strong culture, who, in the face of modernity, still live largely traditional subsistence lifestyles. In the mountains surrounding the Wahgi Valley live a stunning array of bird, orchid, and plant life.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Rondon Ridge
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  • Day 4: Karawari
    Karawari Lodge Photo by S. Moffitt

    As you fly by charter aircraft from Mt. Hagen to Karawari, the mountains start to give way until vast tracts of dense tropical lowland rainforest cover the landscape for as far as the eye can see. From the Karawari airstrip, you will be transferred by riverboat and by four-wheel drive vehicle to Karawari Lodge. Sitting on a ridge above the Karawari River, Karawari Lodge boasts a spectacular view over hundreds of miles of dense tropical jungle. The Karawari Lodge was inspired by local architecture and was built with traditional materials, yet still provides modern comforts.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Karawari Lodge
  • Day 5: Karawari
    Watch locals pole their dugout canoes along

    Wake up to the chattering of lorikeets and eclectus parrots. After breakfast, enjoy touring programs that provide insight into the amazing ecology and culture of the Karawari area. You will be in the middle of Arambak country, where locals pole dugout canoes, the drums throb, the wild birds call, and traditional village lifestyles continue unchanged.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Karawari Lodge
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  • Day 6: Sepik River Region
    Sepik River Cruise Photo by S. Moffitt

    Fly to Timbunke. Transfer from Timbunke airstrip to our floating lodge, the Sepik Spirit. The lodge is based in the village Kaminimbit I. Inspired by the architecture of the "haus tambaran," or spirit house, the MV Sepik Spirit has a truly unique design.

    Begin your voyage of discovery into the mystical world of the Sepik with a slow jet-boat cruise to the air-conditioned comfort of the Sepik Spirit. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon tour to Kaminimbit I, Kaminimbit II, and Kororua Village. While touring the mighty Sepik, visit villages where the people are prolific and famous carvers. Here you can purchase many interesting items such as masks, elaborately carved hooks, ancestral figures, hand drums, baskets, bilums and gourds.

    The Sepik River is one of the largest rivers in the world - in terms of flow. Steeped in mystery, the peoples of the Sepik area have fascinated anthropologists like Margaret Mead since the area was first visited.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Sepik Spirit
    Show on a map
  • Days 7-8: Sepik River
    Look for fellow river travelers

    Two full days are spent exploring the many waterways of the Sepik and its tributaries, including visits to traditional Sepik Villages.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Sepik Spirit
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Tari Valley
    Observe traditional celebrations Photo by S. Moffitt

    Fly by charter aircraft to the Ambua airstrip over some of the most rugged and impressive landscapes in the world. The country between Ambua and the Sepik region is an amazing array of jagged limestone that seems to rise and drop at impossible angles. Ambua Lodge is high on the slopes of the Tari Valley, which is the home of the Huli Wigmen, a colorful and elaborate people, who are still largely living the same way their ancestors did. These proud warriors have great reverence for birds, imitating them in ceremonial dances and decorating their wigs with feathers, flowers, and cuscus fur. The wigs are woven from human hair, daisies are cultivated for use in the wigs, and male dancers paint their faces with yellow ochre. The women, by contrast, wear black for their weddings and coat themselves with blue-gray clay when mourning. This is one of the few places where the traditional way of life can be seen in everyday living. Men and women can still be seen wearing traditional dress, tending to their gardens and pigs, and building their huts from bush materials. Enjoy an afternoon guided nature walk through the alpine forest looking for the exotic bird of paradise.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ambua Lodge
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  • Day 10: Tari
    Tari Valley area Photo by S. Moffitt

    A full day of ecological and culturally-based touring is sure to satiate those yearning for discovery. For the adventurous, there is an opportunity to have a bona fide village experience. Enjoy the day exploring the natural wonders of the Tari Valley area, which is home to an incredible 13 species of birds of paradise as well as numerous unique orchid species.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ambua Lodge
  • Day 11: Mt. Hagen / Port Moresby
    Airways Hotel

    As your odyssey draws to a close, you depart the Ambua airstrip on a flight to Mt. Hagen and then your flight onward airport to Port Moresby. You will be met in Port Moresby and transferred to the Airways Hotel for your overnight stay.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Airways Hotel
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Port Moresby / Onward

    You will be transferred to the airport for your onward international flight.

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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$7,060
Add'l costs include internal charter airfare: $1310; estimated $1200-$1400 Air Niugini domestic flights and intl. from Brisbane or Cairns
Single Supplement:
$2375
throughout tour
Need to Know

Need to Know

While traveling in Papua New Guinea, please keep in mind that although PNG is situated relatively close to other well-developed South Pacific and Asian nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Indonesia, and Singapore, PNG is somewhat isolated, and, as a result, most services and facilities, including transportation and tourism, are relatively underdeveloped by comparison. Unlike these countries, you are visiting a country with a tourist trade in its infancy and thus you may have to deal with different situations along the way. PNG also has a culture that is completely different from others. Although these factors make for a unique experience, at times it may create circumstances that might become frustrating if the visitor does not remain patient and keep an open mind. If you come to Papua New Guinea with a spirit of adventure and a positive, flexible attitude, you will have only good memories to take home with you.

Special Note Regarding Charter Flights: Maximum baggage allowance is 10 kg / 22 lbs per person and a maximum of 5 kg / 11 lbs for carry-on baggage per person. Large, hard-sided suitcases are not permitted on charter aircraft.

 

Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
comfortable lodges and hotels
Group Size:
6-15
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
comfortable lodges and hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

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