Kalam Festival 2021 – Simba Valley PNG

The Kalam Festival is an annual festival held in Papua New Guineas’ Simbai valley. The festival serves a unique opportunity for travellers to participate in the traditional tribal ceremonies of this remote highlands’ tribe. The rolling green mountains dispersed with small traditional homes and villages, combined with its remote location, make the Simbai valley is an exceptionally beautiful and unique area in the PNG highlands. Although Simbai is only a 20-minute charter flight from Mount Hagen, the valley is almost completely isolated from the outside world, only accessible by air or a 3 day walk from Mount Hagen.
The Kalam festival was developed by the Simbai people to celebrate their ancient tribal traditions and to gather their community together for important annual celebrations, including the bridal exchange ceremony and coming-of-age ceremony for the young men of the community. The bilas (traditional dress) of the Simbai people is easily identifiable by the distinct and complex headdress worn for celebration. The festival itself lasts for three days, during which the celebrations gradually build, culminating in a large gathering of local Simbai sing sing groups and their families celebrating together through song, dance and feast. As the festival itself remains rustic and fairly undisturbed by the outside world the celebrations tend to
organically unfold throughout the course of the three days and include a ceremonial pig killing and traditionally prepared mumu, a presentation of the young initiates, bride price exchange and sing sing celebrations. The celebrations take on an almost magical sense as the singing and dancing continue throughout the festival nights and rhythmic sound of the voices carry across the valley under the light of the moon. Guests are welcome to attend this unique nighttime gathering. The festival, though attended by hundreds of local people, will only be witnessed by a handful of lucky and adventurous travellers.

“The authenticity and uniqueness of this experience is hard for one to convey in writing. But the combination of the pristine valley, the friendly and unique people and the festival itself make for a once in a lifetime experience”.
-Drew, Canada

Itinerary

Tuesday, September 21 – Enjoy a short flight across the majestic PNG highlands to reach the remote Simbai valley. Upon arrival you will be met by your gracious hosts and will make the short trek to the guesthouse. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the local villages and taking in the clean mountain air and tranquil setting. The festivities will begin to take shape throughout the day, in preparation for the main festival days to come.

Wednesday, September 22 & Thursday, September 23
Enjoy two fascinating days of traditional gatherings and celebrations. Over the course of the festival guests will have the unique opportunity to witness a number of traditional celebrations including traditional bride price exchange, coming-of-age celebrations, mumu preparations and feast, and the unique sing sing of the Simbai tribe. Guests will be escorted throughout their time here by a knowledgeable local guide.

Friday, September 24
Rise early to enjoy your last breakfast and say your farewells to the warm Simbai people and stunning valley that has served as your recent home. This morning you will meet your charter flight to your next destination.
Accommodation

During your three nights at the you will be accommodated at the Skom Guesthouse, which is perched on the top of the ridge overlooking the beautiful vista of the Simbai valley below. The accommodation is very basic. The rooms are constructed with primarily local materials and have single or double beds. Only pit toilets are available, though they are clean and well kept. The host at the guest house are happy to heat water for a warm “bucket shower”. The fare that is provided is fairly basic and made with mostly local ingredients.

 

Sepick Spirit Cruise – September 2021 Papua New Guinea

Travel on the MV Sepik Spirit offers a unique and diverse experience of the remote Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. This four night/five day cruise gives the curious traveller ample time to journey through the Karawari river and deep into the “Mighty Sepik River”, where one can experience the remote villages and the ancient Spirit Houses that can only be seen in this part of the country. The “Haus Tambaran” or Spirit houses are entwined within the heart of the Sepik tribal traditions of mens’ initiation, storytelling and artistic carvings, all of which have been passed on through many generations. The Spirit house itself is the sacred gatekeeper of both their ancestral spirits and the stories of their people.

The renowned artistry of these unique tribes can be admired in their weaving, pottery and sculpture. The opportunity to witness and to purchase art from the local villages is one of the highlights of travel into this remote corner of the country.
Passengers will have to fly via charter aircraft to and from Karawari Lodge where you will embark and disembark the Sepik Spirit. This itinerary can be taken alone or combined with further locations. Trans Niugini Tours will tailor an itinerary to give you the most memorable experience of Papua New Guinea.

Itinerary

27 September 2021
This morning fly by charter flight into the deep heart of the jungle where your wondrous journey begins on the Sepik Spirit river boat. Its’ unique design was inspired by the local art and architecture of the “Haus Tambaran” or Spirit House. Enjoy lunch onboard as you begin the cruise along the swirling waters of the Karawari river, cruising past the remote villages and wild jungle that line the banks of the river. This afternoon, travel into one of the local villages to catch your first glimpse into the unique tribal traditions of the river people. OVERNIGHT: SEPIK SPIRIT (BLD)

28 September, 29 September & 30 September 2021
The journey begins on the Karawari river, a tributary of the “Mighty Sepik River”, and transverses along the remote river waterways to the middle Sepik River. You will pass jungle covered banks dotted with traditional fishing villages as you journey down the winding river for over 80 km to reach the Sepik River. As you meander along the Karawari River and Black water lakes you will experience remote villages, learn their customs and experience their day to day lives in modern times; which still closely reflects their traditional tribal lifestyle.
Once you reach the Sepik River travel into the remote Chambri Lakes, where you will visit the original traditional spirit houses of Kanganamin and Palambei; some of the most remarkable spirit houses still in existence. We pay respect to the sacred Haus Tambaran where generations of secret tales are told and dances to the drums and the rituals and stories are passed on to the next generation. The middle Sepik is the Place where carvers and artists create the unique artifacts that are so essential to the spiritual life of the people. You will have plenty of opportunity to admire or purchase some of their unique artifacts while visiting the local villages. OVERNIGHT: SEPIK SPIRIT (BLD)

1 October 2021
Begin the journey back up the Karawari River and prepare to leave the Sepik Spirit for your journey to your next destination. OVERNIGHT: SEPIK SPIRIT (BLD)

 

Papua New Guinea – Mount Giluwe Trek 2021

The Highlands of Papua New Guinea were discovered less than a century ago when Australian prospectors hiked deep into the mysterious interior of PNG, only to discover vast mountains and valleys, and large tribal settlements living within them, living as they had done for thousands of years. Even today, the Highlands people still maintain much of their traditional ways of life. Much of the land here is virtually untouched; with fresh mountains streams running across rolling mountains, grasslands and thick jungle landscapes. Mount Giluwe itself has be climbed by only a small selection of visitors. At 4,360 metres, Giluwe is the second highest mountain in Papua New Guinea.

From Mount Hagen area it is less than a two day climb to reach the summit of the mountain where hikers are rewarded with the stunning vista of the valley laid out below them. Experienced local guides and porters will accompany hikers from start to finish. This trek is suitable for semi to serious hikers and adventurers. *The Highlands of PNG experience rain throughout the year, however it is typically dryer from May to October, making for more ideal trekking conditions.

SUMMARY – 5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS
2 nights – Rondon Ridge, Mount Hagen
2 nights – Base Camp. Mt. Giluwe

BRIEF ITINERARY

Day 1
Upon arrival in Port Moresby, Trans Niugini Tours staff will greet you for your onward flight to Mount Hagen. Upon arrival in Mount Hagen, you will be met and transferred to Rondon Ridge. This location promises the visitor eternal spring weather and magnificent views of the Hagen Range, Mount Giluwe, the Sepik Divide, the Baiyer Gap and the Wahgi Valley. Overnight: RONDON RIDGE (D)

Day 2
Early this morning you will depart the lodge and drive to the foot of Mount Giluwe, where you will begin your ascent of the mountain to Base Camp at 3,000 meters. The steep flanks of this mountain are covered with forest of beech, oak, pine, karuka and bamboo. The trek to the base camp will be between 5-6 hours. Camp is made beside a river at the edge of the forest. Overnight: BASE CAMP (BLD)

Day 3
On day two of the trek you will arise early in the morning and leave Base Camp, to begin the 2 – 3 hour trek to the mountains’ summit. Many consider Mount Giluwe to be the most beautiful of Papua New Guineas’ mountains. From the summit one is privileged with a stunning view of the Highlands valley stretching across toward the Papuan lowlands. After resting and taking in the magnificent views you will begin your descent back to base camp. Enjoy the remainder of your afternoon resting and soaking up the quiet of the untouched wilderness.
Overnight: BASE CAMP (BLD)

Day 4
Your final day involves a 4-5 hours trek back down to the vehicle, where you will drive back to the comfort of Rondon Ridge Lodge for a well-earned rest. Overnight: RONDON RIDGE (BLD)

Day 5
Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Port Moresby. Transit to your ongoing international flight out. (B)

Our Efforts To Keep Everyone Safe

From Our Family To Yours

 

As you may be aware, the Jamaican Government issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers to Jamaica. This has led us to temporarily close Bluefields Bay Villas to visitors during this period.

First and foremost, we wish to commend the Jamaican Government for doing an excellent job by proactively managing this situation. While the country’s economy depends almost completely on tourism, focusing on the health and well-being of Jamaica’s residents has been their primary goal and we really applaud this effort. 

We are working hard to ensure that our staff are well cared for by providing meals for those who require and we do have a skeleton crew keeping the villas safe and well-maintained during this closure.

Please know that we are incredibly appreciative of the support and the kind words shared on social media and we look forward to welcoming you again to this magical place as soon as is possible. Meanwhile, please reach out to us with any questions or concerns about what is happening or about a future visit, and we will do our best to reply as soon as we can.

In the meantime, please stay safe, follow recommended guidelines, and be on the lookout for fun photography, experiences, recipes, and more which we will be sharing from Jamaica while you are social-distancing at home and until life returns to normal.

We hope you will follow us on Instagram @bluefieldsbay or on Facebook at BluefieldsBayVillas for a dose of calm and inspiration. We hope to see you here in Bluefields once this is all a distant memory.                       

Warmest regards,

The Moncure Family – Debbie, Braxton, Houston, Rachel

 

 

The Best ALL-inclusive Family Resorts

Travel + Leisure Magazine has just ranked Bluefields Bay Villas as #2 in its listing of the “16 Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts.” We’re thrilled for this recognition.

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