Both our travel specialist Charles and Justin, our MD have recently returned from the wilds of PNG and can only urge you to go and visit this amazing country first hand. Charles is never happier than when off the beaten track so is the ideal person to help you get under the skin of this extraordinary country.
WHY WE LIKE PAPUA NEW GUINEA?
Papua New Guinea is a wild, raw, captivating frontier of a country – more like Africa than any of its close neighbours. The Papuan people are proud and welcoming and their traditions and sometimes bizarre customs will enthral. From the still prevalent Highland culture of ‘an eye for an eye’ to the fact that pigs remain the ‘glue’ which binds PNG society, with a man’s material wealth and standing being reflected in the number of pigs he owns. Watch David Attenborough's Paradise Birds featuring the romantic and glamourous birds of PNG.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR HOLIDAY TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA
A tropical land of extraordinary topographical variety, encompassing the Highlands with peaks over 14,000 feet, the lowlands of the Sepik River and an extensive coastline dotted with stunning outlying islands. The most linguistically diverse country on earth with 850 languages and a wonderfully rich flora and fauna. Home to numerous species of Birds of Paradise and marsupials, including Tree Kangaroos, which in short are wallabies that took to the trees of PNG’s rainforests some 5 million years ago.
In such a topographically torturous country even now the road infrastructure remains modest and the best way to get around is flying. However, delays are inevitable and published departure times no more than a ballpark so always travel in PNG with a good book and a sense of humour.
Price-wise, due to almost everything in the country being imported and transportation costs being high, it is consequently not a cheap destination. This said, if you have a penchant for adventure and the path less travelled, it really doesn’t get much better than PNG. Its tagline ‘Land of the unexpected’ is very apt.
SOME IDEAS FOR A PAPUA NEW GUINEA HOLIDAY
- Meet Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the Highlands
- Explore by dugout canoe the spirit houses and backwaters of the mythical Sepik River
- Fly around the Highlands in a small plane, understanding what the early explorers must have felt like as you gaze down on uninterrupted jungle
- Track resplendent Birds of Paradise in the Highlands
- Snorkel or dive in some of the clearest and coral-rich waters in the world
You cannot swim in the Sepik (due to crocs), but do pack swimwear for snorkelling/ diving and use in pools when abluting in the Sepik, where a bucket of water is provided.
As a result of the extreme topography of PNG, huge diversity of languages and cultural differences between areas you will have different local guides in each place, rather than a single guide accompanying you throughout. The benefit of this is that you get a local guide in each place who is fully versed with regards to the local area, language and cultural mores.
Papua New Guinea is known for its extremely hot summers and it can take only 15 minutes in the sun for skin to burn. Even on cloudy days the suns rays are still very strong and protection will be needed. Make sure you bring a high factor, water-resistent sun cream, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and some form of cover-up. We always advise avoiding the sun during the middle of the day when it is at its most intense, and making sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.
Dive in the fjords of Tufi, a virtually unexplored underwater world or explore the Sepik River by dug out canoe, spotting crocodiles and bird of paradise and tree kangaroos.
Meet the Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the highlands, flying over the uninterrupted jungle below. The ‘cultural shows’ in both the Sepik and Highlands around Goroka are a particular highlight, though they may seem somewhat artificial, please be aware that they are helping to keep cultural traditions alive at a time of profound change in PNG.