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“Sepik guides and Sepik without a guide”
Review of Sepik River

Sepik River
Attraction details
Reviewed September 29, 2016

I came just back from the sepik. I "booked" with Joseph Kone from Pagwe (tel: +67571214829, joseph.kone6@gmail.com). He didn't go himself, but sent us with his nethew Ioannis, who is a good guide. It was all very realiable, we paid the money cash on arrival and didn't have any problems. We paid 800 kina per person per day in a group of 2 people. Would be 600 in a group of 4. We did 2 days middle and 2 days upper sepik.

We also had contact with Francistobias24@gmail.com from Angoram. He also left a good impression.

However, if I would do it again I wouldn't go with a guide. I mean, with a guide, cook and your own canoe it's very handy and relaxing. But expensive.
So, if you decide to go alone: I would just go 2-3 days. Take a PNV to Pagwe (there is enough transport). Then try to find a canoe that travels down the river. Sometimes there are 2, sometimes 40, and expect to wait some hours. But there will be some transport. Take the canoe 2 hours down to Palambei and visit the 2 spirit houses there. Cross the river and visit the 2 spirit houses in Kanganaman. Then go back to Wewak via Pagwe. It will all take 2-3 days. There are places to stay in every of these villages and once you've seen the 4 spirit houses there is not much that other places can add. We went to one at Chambre lake and one on the upper Sepik. Especially the one on the upper Sepik was different, but well, not very different. Also, the upper Sepik is hunted empty, so you will just see a few birds and no crocodiles. And the villages beyond Maliwei were boring.
And take enough water and food with you. You will likely not get it on the Sepik!
Besides, in the bigger villages you have mobile reception with Digicel, but not with Vodafone.

3  Thank AdmBreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 - 8 of 30 reviews

Reviewed September 23, 2016

I was lucky to do the Sepik River in the most authentic way possible for a westerner, and it surely remains as one very special and unforgettable experience for me.

I did my one week river expedition with Kris, his wife Domenica, Susan and the boys from PNG Frontier Adventures. Susan has been living there for many years and is family to the locals. She does a great job by helping the communities being the connection with the outside world, therefore handles the emails and organisation prior the arrival and the boys take it from there locally.
Once there, they have guys everywhere and know everyone down the river, so wherever we went we were taken care of and welcomed as one of them.

We stayed one night at Tongujam and a few nights in Kanganaman village, as we really loved it there and by doing this we got to know the locals in a more intimate way and got a better grasp of their reality. So instead of moving around every day we decided to do day trips to the other spots and return there, rather than unpack, pack and move by boats everything every day. Bear in mind the guys were bringing our own mattresses, sheets, mosquito nets, water and most of food all the way from Wewak, which with our personal luggage is quite a lot of stuff and also time consuming.

We also visited the Crocodile Festival in Ambunti for a day, as well as the Bilum Festival in Tongujam, which was held for a first time this year, together with day trips to Pagwi village with its two House Tambarans and Kaminabit village where the ladies spread out for you a splendid selection of necklaces and souvenirs. Roni, one of our local guides has a small art shop there as well, counting with beautiful artefacts, worth checking out.

We visited many spirit houses (House Tambaran) and on a personal level I found the one at Kanganaman most impressive and beautiful. In each house you will find artefacts carved by the local crocodile men and their style would vary from house to house.
We got introduced from close to the world of Crocodile men and the process of initiation. And we also did night crocodile hunting.

Travelling on the river is as unpredictable and challenging as it may be and you have to make sure you've packed a raincoat, head torch, enough medicines (also good idea to bring for the local people in the villages, as well as candies for the kids. They were much appreciated), antihistamines, a lot of mosquito repellent, a hat and cotton light long sleeve shirts. Don't forget a good battery to charge all your devices as there is no electricity anywhere on the river.

The culture, the traditions, the beliefs and rituals on the Sepik are very bold and run deep. You almost feel like you're in a surreal world from an old fairy tale. The crocodile men, the tribal dances, the stories and beliefs of the people on the river are fascinating. And the people themselves are pure love. You'll have some of the most authentic human interactions you've ever experienced if you spend enough time with them.

Seeing this world from close is a powerful and unforgettable experience, worth doing while it lasts, and I'm definitely going back for more.

6  Thank Irimiri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2016

Booked a tour including the Ambunti crocodile festival.
The team made a great job under difficult circumstances. As it is also a kind of village support project, iniitated by Susan Baker, it is a good choice to go with them.

It was a real down to the simply way of life experience,

Thank Ushi-Guide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2016

I booked a Sepik tour (5 august - 9 august 2016) with PNG frontier adventures - Kris and Domenica Karis - with the help of Susan Baker - are doing an excellent job and I had a wonderful time in upper and middle Sepik. We were lucky to arrive in Tanggwisham (upper Sepik) the day of a new festival and we received a wonderful welcome from the village. The crocodile festival in Ambuti was great too. The middle sepik with its haus tambaran and beautiful villages is a must to do and I will certainly come again to spend more time to visit Chambri lakes or blackwater lakes. Be prepared for basic comfort (but nothing unbearable !!) and you ll be rewarded by the warm welcome of the sepik people, the beautiful landscape and the extraordinary festivals. Susan, Kris and Domenica are totally reliable, absolutely interesting to talk to thanks to their great knowledge of the area and very kind. Will go through them again next time I'm travelling to Sepik. The extension to Yuo island was very pleasant too with 2 nights at the simple guesthouse owned by a very nice family.

5  Thank vincentParisFrance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2016

I had initially been keen to go to the Mount Hargan sing sing, but the more I read the blogs, the more I thought the middle to upper Sepik area was a better match for my interests. I wanted to go somewhere that was culturally rich, but with fewer tourists and closer interaction with locals. I chose to go with PNG frontier adventures as they were going to the area I wanted, with small groups, reasonable price and were locally based in Wewak.

The company is run by couple Dominique and Kris, in conjunction with their close friend Susan, a British expat and ex long term Wewak resident who obviously has developed very close and affectionate relationships with many of the Sepik villagers.

The provided tour information was informative and accurate. The accommodation is basic, but clean and comfortable. There were toilet huts with log floors and a cut out hole in the floor to pit below..again spotlessly clean. One of our villages even had a raised, sit down bush toilet...luxury!

The tour guides, boatmen and general helpers work extremely hard to ensure your safety and enjoyment and are absolutely fantastic. The amazing and unflappable co-owner Dominique also accompanied our group, and along with main guide George ensured that the tour ran relatively smoothly. The key in PNG is to stay chilled..it all works out in the end!

There are lots of opportunities for interaction with the wonderful locals (who are super friendly, always waving and saying hello) in the villages, markets, and festivals. While I was aware that PNG has a reputation for danger in the Australian and world media, and there are obviously some security concerns, I personally felt extremely safe and welcomed into local communities, and was blown away by the care and friendliness shared with me.

I had expected the highlight of my trip to be the Ambungti Crocodile festival and had specifically chosen my tour to coincide with this.

Don't get me wrong..it was an extraordinary experience, but better still was the friendships and interactions with locals and tour group members, and the opportunity to attend the Bilim festival in Tongujam.

This deserves a special mention. All I can say is THANK YOU to the documentary team who bounced us out of our planned accommodation at Wagu Lagoon.

PNG FA had the flexibility to get us up to the upper sepik to Tongujam (an adventure in itself) where the first /inaugural Bilim festival was being held the following day. A music and dance extravaganza involving local clans, plenty of good will and opportunities for mixing with the locals who were thrilled to discuss and showcase their cultural heritage, getting made up, no other travellers outside our group and much more intimate than the flamboyant Crocodile festival ...An extraordinary experience, and one which will always be a highlight of my travelling life.

I don't often return to overseas areas where I have already travelled as I figure there are so many amazing places in the world to visit, but it is fair to say that PNG is a captivating immersive destination with so much to discover and I will be back!

Happy to discuss further if anyone is interested.

9  Thank squeezing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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