Visas are required for entry into Papua New Guinea. It is the responsibility of the client to obtain their own visas.
Currently, a 60-day tourist visa is available upon arrival for nationals of many countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, UK, USA and most western European countries at Port Moresby airport. This visa is non-extendable and the fee is currently K100. As only Kina cash is accepted it is suggested you purchase some Kina prior to your arrival in PNG. To acquire a visa upon arrival, you will need a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, an onward airline ticket with confirmed bookings and Kina cash. Alternatively, you may acquire your visa prior to leaving your home country with either the nearest PNG Embassy or in some cases at the Australian Embassy in your country. Always check with these embassies for current visa requirements prior to leaving home.
Be certain your baggage claim checks are clearly marked “POM” for Port Moresby on your international flight into PNG. Allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport to conduct immigration, security, and check-in procedures. On arrival in Port Moresby, the procedure is quite orderly but can take up to one hour. If you have a tight connection, be sure you go to the head of the line in immigration and request special assistance at Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby. The Air Niugini domestic transit counter at Jackson’s airport in Port Moresby is located at the international check-in counter – in the same building as the international arrivals hall. For those with domestic connections, check in at the transit counter before leaving the Customs Hall.
It is strongly advised that all clients obtain comprehensive Travel Insurance cover. Please furnish Epic with a copy of your insurance policy prior to travel, including the international dial emergency contact number.
Policies should be checked to ensure that they include
ALL medical situations, including:
- Loss of Baggage enroute
- Loss/breakage of valuables such as cameras (care should be taken on rough roads).
Visitors are advised to take malaria precautions, but only your doctor can recommend and prescribe the appropriate medication for you. Most travellers keep their tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis, and polio inoculations current. The only health requirement is a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever or cholera if arriving from or travelling through infected areas prior to arrival in PNG.
AIR TRANSFERS & LUGGAGE
The majority of flying in PNG is conducted under visual flight rules. The mainland of PNG contains numerous mountain ranges rising up to 14,800 ft (4,500 metres). A large number of flights are conducted in small un- pressurised aircraft, making it difficult to fly above these mountains and the towering clouds. Therefore if you can’t see where the mountains are and you can’t go over them, then you can’t go into cloud.
Due to the challenging topographical conditions of PNG, the navigational aids that allow aircraft to land in bad weather cannot be used at the vast majority of airports in PNG, this even applies to the larger aerodromes such as Mount Hagen. It goes without saying, that smaller aerodromes such as those that service Karawari Lodge are very basic and operations of light aircraft in and out of these aerodromes are very weather dependant.
The weather in Papua New Guinea can change very quickly. This unpredictable and changeable is caused by the interaction of the high mountains with the generally hot and humid tropical conditions. All you can do is relax, read a book and listen to your pilot. The pilots in Papua New Guinea are very experienced with these conditions and know best when to go and to stay.
For those travelling on only Air Niugini domestic flights, baggage allowance is restricted to 16kg or 35lbs and carry-on bag. You will be travelling on other small regional airlines to the Wilderness Lodges. Flights between these lodges operate in small 5 or 8 seat aircraft with limited weight and space for baggage. On these flights you MUST restrict your baggage to 10 kgs or 22 lbs maximum per person plus a small carry-on bag or camera bag. In addition, large hard or soft-sided suitcases are not permitted on these aircraft. The small regional airlines are strict and if you come with inappropriate or excess baggage when boarding these small aircraft for the Wilderness Lodges, your bags will be off-loaded and you will be required to re-pack. It convenient to leave excess baggage at the hotel in the country stopped at just before coming to PNG and will be returning to on the way home. Please always make sure that your baggage is properly tagged to the correct destination at time of check-in.
Based on USA Pacific standard time (Los Angeles)
Papua New Guinea + 17 hours
PNG has a telephone system in all the main towns. Karawari Lodge is in a remote area and communication is by two-way radio. If relatives or friends need to contact you while you are at the Wilderness Lodges, the quickest way is a fax sent to +675 542 2470. The fax should clearly state your name and location, eg. message for Mr Smith, guest Karawari Lodge. This message will be sent on to the lodge by aircraft or if time does not permit, will be passed on via two-way radio. It is important that you notify family prior to departure that while staying at the Wilderness Lodges, you will not be able to call them and they will not be able to call you.
We recommend that you utilise safety deposit boxes where available. If you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to robbery, notify the local police immediately, as well as Epic Private Journeys. On your return your insurance claim form usually needs to show to whom the theft was reported, so a record must be kept. A copy of the police is generally essential for an insurance claim.
Like anyone, the people of Papua New Guinea resent the intrusion of privacy. So, except in the case of planned performances, always remember to ask before taking a photograph of a particular individual. It is rare, but sometimes the individual may request payment prior to agreeing. In this case it is recommended you do not pay for, nor take the photo. Plenty of photo opportunities will come up and at no cost. The paying of photos, whether for money or gifts, only encourages commercialisation and inhibits spontaneity and hospitality. The local economy is assisted by the payment of a general fee to each village that is visited, in this way the whole community benefits.
The electrical system in PNG is 240 Volts AC, 50Hz. Some hotels provide 110 Volts outlets in guest rooms. PNG uses the same electrical plug outlets as Australia. It is important to note that at Karawari Lodge, electricity is not available between about 10:30pm and 6:00am, or while guests are out on tour, so it is important to not rely on electrical items charging overnight or during the day.
In most major centres, the public water supply is treated and is comparable to World Organisation standards. While on adventure tours water is boiled before serving. Bottled water is often available.
Meats, fish, vegetables, and tropical fruits are served Australian style. Some of the world’s best coffee and tea is grown in the Highlands of PNG. An excellent beer is locally produced and a good variety of imported wines are plentiful. At the Wilderness Lodges, apart from vegetarian meals, special meal requests are not available as the meals are table d’hote and set menus. If vegetarian meals are required, this should be advised to the Manager at the time of check-in.
Laundry service is available at Ambua Lodge, Karawari Lodge and Rondon Ridge. Keep in mind that all laundry is line dried and thus sufficient time is required for drying.
It is advisable to plan 24 hours in advance for this service.
Hotels in main centres have daily laundry services.
Please pack lightly! This will most certainly add to the enjoyment of your trip. The climate is hot and humid, thus lightweight long sleeved (preferably cotton) casual and modest clothing is appropriate for all occasions. Mosquitoes are drawn to dark colours, so khaki, camel, bone or similar are preferable colours to wear. A sweater is needed for cool highlands evenings and good walking shoes are essential.
- Sun hat
- Insect repellent
- Flashlight (power is turned off at night at Karawari
- Sunscreen lotion
- Rain jacket
- Extra pair comfortable walking shoes (the first pair may
get wet or muddy at some point in your PNG travels)
- Plenty of film
- Malaria medication prescribed by your physician
PNG art and handicrafts are world-renowned and one of the most vital industries as such in the South Pacific. The art is extremely varied and reflects the great diversity of cultures in PNG. The Sepik River is well known for its unique art, which comes in many forms including pottery, wooden carved masks and cult hooks. In other areas of the country you will find carved bowls, bilum or string bags, baskets, ceremonial axes, clay and bamboo ornaments, charms and musical instruments, just to name a few of the items you will probably have the opportunity to buy.
Please be advised that it is illegal to export the feathers of the Bird of Paradise. If you buy or even accept them as a gift, you will encourage the hunting of these rare and beautiful creatures and thus help create an industry, which could possibly lead to their demise. PNG and Australian laws are very strict about the export/import of all endangered species. Please do not buy or accept these feathers and be advised that you will be prosecuted if you are caught trying to take them out of the country.
If you miss the opportunity to buy art in the villages, art and craft are available for purchase at Karawari Lodge and Rondon Ridge.
Artefacts purchased at the villages or the Lodges can be left with the lodge managers for later packing and shipment. Lodge staff will have a supply of printed forms for you to complete, including address, description of the items and payment details. Lodge managers cannot estimate the cost of art forwarding, as they are not involved in the packing and shipping of the art beyond sending it to Mount Hagen for processing.
Your artefacts will be flown at no cost to you to Mount Hagen on a space available basis (ie they will travel only when an aircraft operating with sufficient space available to transport the artefacts). In Mount Hagen they will be carefully packed. All care will be taken with the packing but sometimes damage does occur in shipment. We cannot be held responsible for such damage. We strongly suggest that if you purchase any fragile pieces you attempt to carry these with you.
Air Mail is the only method of shipping used. As a result, size restrictions apply on what can be packed and posted. Lodge managers will advise you in their introductory talk as to the maximum dimensions of art that can be shipped. You will be requested to leave your credit card details to cover postage, packing and handling; we will contact you to advise and reconfirm your instructions if costs exceed K1,000.
Karawari Lodge and Rondon Ridge are located in very isolated parts of PNG. As a result, very limited cash is available for exchanges at these lodges. Please bring sufficient cash for your art purchases (most people find they do not bring enough). Smaller denominations of Kina cash are best for purchasing art in the villages, ie, K2 K5 and K10 are best as the villagers will not be able to make changes for larger notes. The Wilderness Lodges are generally not able to change K50 to smaller denominations.
In general, Papua New Guineans do not like to barter with you if you are buying artefacts or other souvenirs. Art sellers will set what they consider a fair price, and that is what they expect to receive for it. It is considered impolite to barter or haggle over prices beyond a second price.
When you arrive in Papua New Guinea, you will be given a “Travel Pack” which, amongst other things, contains guidelines for tipping.
Please do not give gifts to individuals in villages. If you wish to do so, please discuss this with the Lodge Managers who will either distribute the gifts evenly amongst the people, or will help you contact a community leader. If you would like to take gifts for villages, items like basic school supplies, such as exercise books and pens, are much more useful and appreciated than trinkets such as balloons or candy.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE LOCALS
Pidgin-English known locally as Tok Pisin, is the lingua franca of PNG and is almost universally spoken throughout the country. It is derived from English, German and Indigenous languages, with the occasional Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese words thrown in.
Most travellers are experienced and sophisticated and find the trip a great one. Even so, there are difficulties that even the best planning cannot account for. In PNG, anger, displeasure or irritability do not increase one’s chances of obtaining positive results. Such expressions of displeasure often produce the opposite effect. When you experience the unexpected, please be patient and avoid dwelling on mishaps, it only worsens the travel experience for yourself. It is natural to be agitated or frightened in such a remote, foreign country. Be assured all arrangements are being coordinated to make your trip as smooth as possible.