Join our 5th Trip to Papua New Guinea a Collecting Expedition Up The Sepik River
To Visit Remote Villages, Meet Crocodile Warriors & Sight Birds of Paradise!
Papua New Guinea is indisputably the most culturally diverse country in the world, with over 860 languages, and well over 1,000 distinct cultures. It is a land of stunning mountains, spectacular wildlife and one of the world’s last intact systems of tribes, clans and rituals. In many remote villages across the country, first contact with the outside world is well within living memory.
This expedition takes you to one of the most remote and little visited parts of Papua New Guinea… the Sepik River. At 1,126 kilometres, the Sepik River is Papua New Guinea’s answer to the Amazon. It is the country’s longest river and is often referred to as Papua New Guinea’s ‘cultural heart’ because it is so rich and varied in its tribal cultures.
Following on from Mr Viktor Wynd’s extremely successful 2018 expedition up the Sepik River, The Last Tuesday Society has developed this itinerary to focus on the most interesting villages that the Sepik River has to offer, and to venture even higher along the Upper Sepik to visit villages that are very seldom visited by outsiders. We will witness two large “sing sings” (gatherings of tribes for traditional dance and singing), as well as a mumu feast (involving cooking food on hot stones in an earth oven in traditional Polynesian style).
Life on the Sepik River, despite the best efforts of missionaries, is still dominated by Spirits, they are everywhere from The Haus Tambarans to the dark of night. People can change their forms and be possessed, ancestors are still present, not dead like ours; never far below the surface lies a society still very much involved with magic and ritual. In this expedition we aim to spend as many evenings as possible with friends we made on our last expedition in their Spirit Houses, sitting quietly in the dark as they play on garamut drums and Sepik flutes, watching and listening to the initiated, hearing them tell of their clans origin myths, of the spirits that surround them and of the time before first contact – still just within living memory.
During this 12 day trip, we travel by canoe to the Upper Sepik and Middle Sepik to visit villages with ancient beliefs and rituals. We will meet the famed crocodile men, known for their intricate crocodile-skin scarification marks. We will visit many varied and ancient Spirit Houses, and discover the Iatmul tribe’s mythologies of wayward spirits and animal gods that still hold sway over traditional village lifestyles.
Along our journey on the Sepik River, we will have many bird-watching opportunities (with good chances to see several birds of paradise), and we have the chance to spot diverse waterfowl as well as crocodiles on the Sepik River itself.
We will visit numerous villages for artefact buying opportunities, and may be allowed to go out with the crocodile warriors to observe their traditional livelihood of hunting crocodiles at night. Artefacts along the many (varied) villages along the Sepik River include exquisite wooden carvings (such as figures and masks), shields, spears, dancing sticks, stone tools, pottery, axes and traditional knives.
COST: US $3,950 per person.
START POINT: Wewak, Papua New Guinea.
END POINT: Wewak, Papua New Guinea.
DATES: Monday November 16th to Friday November 27th, 2020 (note this expedition is deliberately planned to start on a Monday and finish on a Friday, allowing you to travel to/from PNG over weekends. Only 10 work days are required to take part on this trip!)
GROUP SIZE: 6–10.
Email [email protected] for more information and to make bookings.
Optional pre- expedition extensions: Before or after your Sepik Adventure, you can extend your stay by visiting the breathtakingly-beautiful Yuo Island (and other islands nearby) off the coast of Wewak. These volcanic and coralline islands offer spectacular treks, many WW2 war relics, birdwing butterflies, traditional way of life, excellent local food (including fresh lobster), world-class coral reefs snorkelling and even regular dolphins sightings. If you wish to spend time on these islands, we will introduce you to all required contacts, so you can organise your add on trip directly and at cost price. Accommodation on the islands costs approximately US $50 per person per night.