by Juanita Nonwo – EM TV Online
Situated at the north-eastern part of the New Guinea Island lies East Sepik Province, the land of the mighty Sepik River; the longest river found in Papua New Guinea which stretches 1,126km in length.
The villages found along the banks of the Sepik River are known for their enigmatic wood carvings that are discrete from the other areas of the province and the country itself. Also noted in the area are the well-crafted pottery designs; and distinct body-cutting art, done more in the name of initiation rituals as a rite of passage.
The river holds a rich and mysterious culture, which can only be grasped through a personal involvement, and what better way to experience a mystic adventure of the Sepik River then to cruise along in the Sepik Spirit – a luxurious floating lodge.
The vessel is designed in such a way that it is fit for the tough conditions.
As you pass by the villages, some of the most remote and unspoilt places in Papua New Guinea, you get a glimpse of the lifestyle; while at the same time observing the pristine nature.
Visitors are given a closer opportunity to observe the local life of the Sepik River people by visiting and interacting with villages. Usually there are markets set up especially for these visits where you can find a wide range of fascinating items to buy as souvenirs.
The famous ‘haus tambaran’ or the spirit houses are also visited, presenting a rare chance to learn past and present traditions that make each village unique.
Each house spirit along the river is decorated differently with ancestral figures and masks/carvings according to each unique tribe, body and face paintings – with each colour and design speaking for itself; birds, and animals parade their own uniqueness as you’re surrounded by the diversity of plants and wildlife.