Sepik River Overview
The Sepik River is the lifeline for many in Papua New Guinea. Over 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) long, many in Papua New Guinea depend on the Sepik River as their primary source of food, water, and transportation. The Sepik River holds the same importance to the region as the Nile in Africa, Mekong in Southeast Asia, the Amazon in South America, and the Mississippi River in the United States. The Sepik River's landscape is
The breathtaking and iconic Sepik River meanders through a diverse landscape of Papua New Guinea's lowlands that includes tropical rainforests, mountains, swamplands, lagoons, and floating islands of vegetation.
Due to the sparse nature of the Sepik River, there is a large diversity of cultures and languages. An estimated 250 different languages are spoken along the Sepik River. Each of the tribes are skilled fishermen, crocodile hunters, and craftsmen. They build their own houses, canoes, and tools. They also make their own tribal art and instruments.
The Sepik River has a unique blend of Christianity and traditional spirit religions. Most of the villages practice both religions together. You will regularly see churches and spirit houses spread out along the river. There are numerous traditions and customs found in each village that can't be found anywhere else in the world.
The remote and difficult terrain has enabled the Sepik River to remain nearly untouched from foreigners. It wasn't until 1885 when German explorers began to explore the Sepik River, and World War II when the Japanese took control. However, life along the river has continued undisturbed for hundreds, even thousands, of years. There are no major developments, settlements, mining, or forestry activities along the Sepik River.
Sepik River Regions
The Sepik River is categorized by three categories: Upper Sepik, Middle Sepik, and Lower Sepik. If you are trying to decide with Sepik River region to explore, here is our brief summary:
Upper Sepik River
The Upper Sepik has smaller villages that have had less contact with tourists. It is also provides the best nature landscapes. We consider it a more authentic place to travel. The largest villages along the Upper Sepik River include Ambunti, Swagup, and Maliwai.
Middle SEPIK River
The Middle Sepik is more known for more of the tribal art and cultural shows. There is a much higher concentration of villages in this region. The largest villages along the Middle Sepik River include Pagwi, Korogo, Yentchen, Palambei, Maringei, Kanganaman, Kaminabit, Mindimbit, Timbunke, and Tambanum.
Lower SEPIK River
The Lower Sepik has more semi-flooded swamplands closely connected to the coast. Villages are much smaller and poorer than the other regions of the Sepik River. Because the ever changing water flows at the mouth and high concentrations of silt, the villages are constantly forced to move to new land, making many of them younger and less established. Angoram is the largest village along the Lower Sepik River.
Things to do on the Sepik River
- Explore Sepik River villages and meet local tribes
- Go on breathtaking hikes in lush jungles and high terrains along the Sepik River
- See a wide-range of wildlife and birds
- Visit local Spirit Houses along the Sepik River
- Eat freshly caught fish
- And so much more!
Where to Stay on the Sepik River
There is no tourism infrastructure on the Sepik River and it is not likely possible that someone can self-travel on the Sepik River. There are a couple guesthouses and home-stays in some of the larger villages, which we will arrange for you.