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Tribal Lands of Papua New Guinea



  • 28 Jun
  • -
  • 12 Jul 2024
  • |
  • 15 days


per person

Availability: 12 places

    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 its astonishingly rich natural landscape and cultural traditions.

    First we’ll travel down the Sepik River to visit the crocodile people and learn about their fascinating traditions, before venturing up to the Bismarck region to experience remote village life with the Simbai people. Continuing on we witness the spectacular Tribal Festivals, which are some of Papua New Guinea's most celebrated events.

    Ending the journey along the golden beaches of the South Pacific, we'll take in islands and azure waters around the coast of East New Britain at Rabaul, before making our way back to Port Moresby and, eventually, home.

    Day 1

    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.

    Day 2

    DAY 2: 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.

    Day 3

    DAY 3: 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.

    Day 4

    DAY 4: Sepik - Abelam - Wewak

    We depart our village this morning and reach Pagwi, where our bus takes us to an Abelam village near Maprik. Here we encounter one of the Abelam tribes who live in the Bismarck range, and are known for their incredible skills to grow giant yams, celebrated in their Yam festivals. They are also renown for their fantastic Spirit houses and dances, both of which you will witness during our visit. After a local lunch in the village, we return to Wewak and our comfortable hotel.

    Day 5

    DAY 5: Wewak - Mt Hagen

    Today 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. Activities today will be dependent on flight times. On arrival in Hagen we can settle into our hotel.

    Day 6

    DAY 6: 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 30 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.

    Day 7

    DAYS 7 - 8: 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 see how the famous beetle head headdresses are prepared. We will step back in time to learn more about the ancient culture and rituals of this tribe, which are in their 8th generation. 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!

    Day 8

    DAY 9: Simbai Village - Mount Hagen

    Today we say farewell to the Simbai community and depart the Northern Highlands and take 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.

    Day 9

    DAY 10: Mount Hagen - Goroka

    Considered one of PNG’s most attractive towns, Goroka lies some five hours by road from Mount Hagen. 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.

    Day 10

    DAY 11: Goroka Festival

    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.

    Day 11

    DAY 12: 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.

    Day 12

    DAY 13: 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 area around 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.

    Day 13

    DAY 14: 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. We will take a walk through an island village enjoy a local lunch on the sand. 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.

    Day 14

    DAY 15: 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. There are over 150 animals 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.

    Day 15

    DAY 16: Tour ends Port Moresby

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