A cultural and environmental celebration, the Sepik River Crocodile Festival takes place over three days in August, highlighting the importance of the crocodile and its cultural significance amongst Sepik River communities.
In the Sepik culture, man and crocodile share a special bond, as the crocodile symbolises strength, power and manhood. This festival features live crocodile encounters, traditional dancing, colourful costumes and visits the sacred spirit houses where men undergo intensive initiation rituals.
The Sepik River hosts some of the world’s largest saltwater and freshwater crocodile population’s and the richness of life in this area is celebrated during the WWF supported festival. This is your opportunity to witness this region of Papua New Guinea, where humanity has frozen in time.
Welcome to Papua New Guinea and the town of Wewak. Feel free to arrive anytime today. A welcome dinner is included this evening which will give you a chance to meet your fellow travellers. (D)
Overnight Wewak Hotel or similar.
This morning you will depart Wewak and make your way to Ambunti. The main Sepik River can become monotonous meandering through floating logs and floating islands until you reach Ambunti. In the evening, it will rupture into a vast environment of herons, cormorants, wild ducks, egrets, kites and +1000 species of water birds.
Check into your lodge before enjoying a half day tour to Meno, Tongijamp Yesan and Mayo which are remote communities within the Eastern Sepik. They had not had interaction with man until only recently and have an extremely fascinating lifestyle and culture which you will learn about.
This evening, there is an option to go crocodile spotting on the river. (B,L,D)
4 nights local village huts or similar.
Today you will have a full day to experience the Crocodile Festival. Starting off with an early morning trip to Wagu Lake where you will have the oppotunity to witness the bird of paradise. The bird watching in Papua New Guinea is unlike anywhere else in the world, and the best time to see and hear this spectacle is between 5.30 – 6.30am. From here, it is time to return to Ambunti where you will witness the locals display their unique cultures of the mighty Sepik River in competition with each other to show their superiority among their tribal clans. Learn about the ancient traditions as your guide explains the days activities and get up close with with the locals, singsing groups and crocodile Spirit dancers. (B,L,D)
Following breakfast before being transferred to the Crocodile Festival. Enjoy the festival until noon when you depart to visit the traditional villages – Malu and Avative both known for the fishing and unique burial grounds. In the evening, return to your lodge. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a full day at the festival where you may witness a series of fun dugout canoe races, sing-sing groups from different villages trying to outdo one another in decorative display, using the power of the dance and in sheer good-natured exuberance.
You may have the opportunity to visit the haus tambaran or ‘spirit house’ is – as the name implies it is the home of the spirits; of ancestors, progenitors, crocodiles and other animals. Upstairs in these houses, carvers and other artisans sit quietly next to their creations – an astonishing array of figurines half-bird, half-mammal; or half-human, part-animal and so forth. (Women require permission to enter the spirit houses).
Return to your lodge this evening. (B,L,D)
Today following breakfast, it is a full day to the Middle Sepik. You will visit Palimbe, Yenchan and Kanganamun. These villages have stood firm against the invasion of Christianity. They still have their Haus Tamarans and practice their customs including the initiation and scarification on young boys that depict the crocodile as a symbol of power and strength. The villages are also famous artists and they make carvings with the heads of birds.
Return to Pagwi this afternoon where you will meet your vehicle and transfer back to Wewak. (B,L,D)
Overnight Wewak Hotel or similar.
The day is yours until it is time to transfer to the airport for your flight back to Port Moresby. (Flight not included). (B)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person plus any internal flights is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.