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)