Day 1 Overnight flight to Singapore
Day 2 Overnight flight to Port Moresby
- On arrival into Port Moresby we take a morning domestic flight to Tari and transfer to Ambua Lodge for the start of our time in Papua New Guinea. Our first afternoon at Ambua Lodge will be spent on a guided nature walk through the alpine forest.
- We spend the next two full days birding around Ambua Lodge and the Tari Valley where thirteen species of birds of paradise can be found.
- Accommodation: Ambua Lodge, 3-nights on full board basis.
- This morning we head back to Mount Hagen to fly by light aircraft (45 minutes) to Karawari. Our lodge stands on a ridge above the Karawari River, overlooking the dense tropical lowland rainforest of East Sepik Province - one of PNG’s most remote and unspoilt areas. The only access is by chartered light aircraft to the private airstrip, then motorised boat along the Karawari River, where stilt-houses line the waterways and dug-out canoes are the principal mode of transport.
- This tropical lowland rainforest is a highly complex habitat with an immense variety of flora and fauna - 229 bird species have been recorded here! During our stay we learn about the life on the river, and boat trips offer opportunities to spot species such as the elusive 12-wire bird of paradise. A boat excursion to a nearby village allows us to visit the traditional homes of the indigenous Sepik people and get a glimpse of everyday life.
- Accommodation: Karawari Lodge, 2-nights on full board basis
- Returning to the Highlands by light aircraft, our second stay in this region will be at Kumul Lodge in the Western Highlands.
- We spend two full days birding around the area to spot some of Papua New Guinea’s endemics including Malaysian whistling thrush and Malaysian hill partridge among others.
- Accommodation: Kumul Lodge, 3-nights on full board basis
- This morning we take a scheduled domestic flight to Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby. On arrival we transfer to the nearby Varirata National Park where we spend our final afternoon in this fascinating country looking for Count Raggiana’s bird of paradise. Later in the afternoon we transfer back to Port Moresby to spend our final night.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Port Moresby, 1 night on full board basis
- Before departing Port Moresby in the early afternoon we spend the morning visiting Port Moresby Nature Park which showcases flora and fauna from around the country and the conservation work taking place to protect this country’s fragile ecosystems.
- We depart Port Moresby this afternoon for Singapore where we will connect to an overnight flight to London.
Day 15 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
Mid-range city hotels & rustic rainforest lodges; all rooms have an en suite bathroom.
All meals are included. Breakfasts and dinners are in the hotels or lodges; lunch may be a sit-down meal at the lodge or a picnic will be provided.
The island of New Guinea is particularly rich in birdlife – more than 80 families contain some 730 species in four main groups: those that breed on land and in freshwater, seabirds, migrant species that arrive from further north, and those species that migrate from the south (Australasia), along with vagrants from the same area. A total of eight discreet areas contain a large number of endemic bird species – some 320 in all. 38 out of the world's total of 43 birds of paradise species are native to Papua New Guinea.
- Southern cassowary
- Rainbow lorikeet
- Fan-tailed cuckoo
- Blue-tailed bee-eater
Of the island’s 244 mammal species, seven are critically endangered, while 12 are classified as endangered, and another 40 have IUCN vulnerable status. Rodents make up the largest group of all, amounting to more than 40 percent of all the mammals. Some parallels with Australia are evident: there are a number of monotremes (mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young) such as platypus and echidna (spiny anteaters), as well as marsupials, which give birth to live young that subsequently develop while being carried and suckled in their mother’s pouch. Close relatives of Australian kangaroos are found on the island’s open grassland, although the tree-climbing kangaroos that are unique to New Guinea differ considerably in both their appearance and behaviour. New Guinea also has a number of native species of small possum, which include the sugar glider. The cetacean population that lives in the surrounding ocean includes various whales, dolphins and porpoises.
- Long-beaked echidna
- Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo
- Black-tailed dasyure
- Giant bandicoot
New Guinea is equally rich in insects, with more than 25,000 species of beetle and at least 6,000 species of moth and butterfly. Other insects include grasshoppers, earwigs, termites, bees and wasps, ants, dragonflies and damselflies, lacewings, cicadas, mayflies and aphids, while unfortunately mosquitoes are present in numbers almost everywhere.
Reptiles and amphibians
Amphibians are also well represented by 160 species of frog and 170 of lizard. The reptilian saltwater a.k.a. estuarine crocodile, which is widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, is found in the island’s coastal waters and estuaries.
- New Guinea death adder
- Saltwater crocodile
- Legless lizard
On the Karawari River an 18-seat jet boat, river trucks with outboard motors/ From Karawari airstrip we use a motorised canoe to access Karawari Lodge and the surrounding villages. Motorised dugout canoes are all used for excursions. You should be it and fully mobile to climb in and out of the canoes. Riverbanks can be steep, muddy and slippery, so bring footwear with decent grip.
Photographic opportunities on this trip are excellent with many opportunities to take close-ups of birds and other wildlife. Macro and wide-angle lenses are useful for taking pictures of birds, plants and insects.
Each day much of the early morning and late afternoon is spent birding on foot, and although the walks are not particularly long, the combined effect of heat and humidity can be tiring. The terrain is mostly level, however there are inevitably some hills, and conditions underfoot are varied. As a result, lightweight waterproof walking boots or shoes with soles that provide good traction are essential..
The price includes return scheduled international flights London – Singapore – Port Moresby and the domestic scheduled flights between Port Moresby – Tari and Mount Hagen –Port Moresby.
From Tari to Karawari and Karawari to Mount Hagen, a light aircraft is used.
Depending on the size of the group, we will use one or more minibuses accompanied by a local driver. Driving from Tari to Ambua Lodge and Mount Hagen to Kumul Lodge, we take the main road through the Highlands that connects these remote communities; although it is paved, there are many potholes and landslides are not uncommon.
Charter flights are operated by small light aircraft, and there is a strict weight allowance of 10kg of checked luggage per person (in small soft-sided bags), plus 5kg of hand luggage. Excess or oversized baggage can be stored in Port Moresby.
The highest point reached on this trip is around 3,000 metres above sea level at Kumul Lodge, dropping to just over sea level on the Karawari River.
Papua New Guinea has a tropical climate. It is hot and humid all year round with high relative humidity i.e. between 70 and 90 percent. Bring a light waterproof or umbrella for bursts of heavy tropical rain. The average temperature on the coastal plains is 28⁰ Celsius, while in inland and mountain areas it is 23-26⁰ Celsius.