Unveiling the Mystical Aspects of Papua New Guinea: Asaro Mudmen Festival and Skeleton Tribe's Day of Skull Dancers

The Ultimate Tribal Experience in Papua New Guinea is an immersive cultural journey through the diverse and unique highland communities of this fascinating country. The itinerary is filled with exciting activities such as visiting coffee growers, witnessing sacred practices, traditional performances and unique festivals. Visitors get to experience firsthand the warmth and hospitality of these communities, sample their traditional cuisine, and learn about the ancient rituals and practices that have been passed down through generations.

Witness Sacred Practices, Traditional Performances and Unique Festivals in Papua New Guinea's Highlands

Unveiling the Mystical Aspects of Papua New Guinea: Asaro Mudmen Festival and Skeleton Tribe’s Day of Skull Dancers is a journey that takes you through the diverse and unique cultures of Papua New Guinea’s highlands. The itinerary starts with a flight to Asaro River and a visit to the coffee growers of Gimisave, followed by the Burning Heads of Gimisave, a performance of traditional Bamboo Cooking and a taste of the local cuisine. Next, the tour visits the Bena Tribe to witness the Tongue Bleeding and the Cane Swallowing rituals, a sacred practice for men only.

On day five, the group experiences the highlight of the tour – The Asaro Mudmen Festival. The day is filled with various cultural performances, including the Jungle Kids of Akameku, the masked performers of Kurekuwo, the Moko Moko War Victory dance and the Bere Bere fighting Warriors, and many more.

A traditional Mumu, or underground cooking with a roasted pig, is also organized for the visitors. The tour then moves to Mindima to witness the Narku dust Walkers, widowers who are ready to date again and want to show their strength and body to the ladies in the village, and the Skeleton Tribe Festival.

The following day, the tour visits the Bogo Cultural Village to witness cultural activities from the Graiku Tribe and see traditional houses, farms and pigs surrounded by majestic mountains. On day nine, the tour moves to Jiwaka and visits the full dressing of the Jiwaka Tribes in full bilas with amazing feathers and headdresses. The tour also sees the performance of the Forest Skull Kids of Koskala.

The last day of the tour takes visitors to the Huli Wigmen and the Tambul tribe of Mount Giluwe. The Ultimate Tribal Experience in Papua New Guinea takes visitors on a cultural journey through the diverse highland communities of Papua New Guinea, showcasing their unique customs, beliefs, and way of life. Visitors get to experience firsthand the warmth and hospitality of these communities, sample their traditional cuisine, and learn about the ancient rituals and practices that have been passed down through generations. The tour is an opportunity to witness the richness of Papua New Guinea’s cultural heritage and is not to be missed by those seeking an immersive cultural experience.

Group Size

Maximum 15 Guests

Experience | Difficulty

  • Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
  • DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
  • Moderate schedule
  • Travel by car or minibus
  • Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and some hiking
  • (non-photographers also welcome)

Weather | Sun

In June, Goroka and Mount Hagen, both located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, experience cool temperatures with an average high of around 21°C (70°F) and an average low of around 12°C (54°F). The region is known for its misty and foggy weather, especially in the early morning and evening, with occasional rainfall.

Includes

  • 16 Days
  • Travel, landscape, seascape and nature photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Maximum 15 Guests
  • 4 or 5-star hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • National park permits
  • Local transportation

Tribes you will see on this trip.

Asaro Mudmen – Moko Moko Dance – Widow ceremony – Gimisave Arunumuna Tribe Women Group – Burning heads of Gimisave – Yangpela Asaro Mudboys – Bere Tribe – Skeleton Tribe – Narku dust Walkers aka The Ash Kondai Pia – The Insect Hunters of Mindima – Bogo Tribes – Graiku Tribe –  Sekaka Tribe – Jiwaka Tribes – Forest Skull Kids of Koskala

Your Photographer

David Van Driessche

www.davidvandriessche.com 

David Van Driessche, also known as David Dennis, is a travel photographer with a flair for capturing eye-catching photographs of places and people. Originally from Belgium, David studied photography and film in Europe and worked as a tourism product manager in the 1990s, where he traveled the world photographing some of the finest hotels and resorts around the globe. Eventually, he settled in Thailand and has since explored much of Asia over the past 20 years, photographing destinations and leading hotels in countries such as Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, and China.

READ MORE ABOUT DAVID HERE

ITINERARY

Departure from your airport to your connection destination to Port Moresby

Arrival in Port Moresby and overnight.

Flight to Asaro. In the afternoon we will head to the village of Gimisave by local bus and visit the community of coffee growers where we also see the performance of three cultural groups: The Gimisave Arunumuna Tribe Women Group, the Yangpela Asaro Mudboys,  and the blue hour of the evening performance of the Burning heads of Gimisave. You will also see a performance of traditional Bamboo Cooking and taste some local foods.
Back to the Asaro Mudmen tribal eco lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Today we visit the Bena Tribe for seeing the Tongue Bleeding and the Cane Swallowing rituals. The Neheya Initiation was a reserved practice for men in the Bena area of Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. The canes swallowing ritual (Neheya Initiation) often referred to as ‘Drin Kol Wara’ (Drink Cold Water) by the Bena people of Eastern Highlands. The Neheya Initiation is practiced only by men. It is sacred, women were never allowed to know about it in the old days. Back to the Asaro Mudmen tribal eco lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Today is a big day, we will see a huge gathering of Asaro Mudmen and also some other visiting cultural groups. We organize a traditional Mumu, or underground cooking with a roasted Pig. We will also see the Jungle Kids of Akameku, the masked performers of Kurekuwo, the Moko Moko War Victory dance and the Bere Bere fighting Warriors and many more. This day we start to see the dressing of the warriors and groups after breakfast and finish around 2 or 3 PM in the afternoon. In the evening we have a small after party around a huge campfire. Stay at the Asaro Mudmen tribal eco lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Morning transfer to Mindima. Lunch and relax. At 3 PM first performance of the Dust Shakers and the Skeleton Tribe at the side of the river, small walk to the bottom of the valley. Dust Shakers are widowers after a few years they are ready to date again and want to show their strength and body to the ladies in the village. Try to get a photo when the dust flies around their whole body.

Back by 5, 6 PM at the Skeleton Eco Lodge. Dinner and overnight.

Morning transfer to Bogo Cultural Village (about 2 hours) and check in have lunch. Afternoon performance of Bogo Cultural activities from the Graiku Tribe, the pristine valley of Bogo looks like a fairytale, with a beautiful river with huge boulders running through it, spotted with Traditional houses, farms and pigs surrounded by majestic mountains. See more activities and walk around Bogo Village and the surrounding Rainforest Jungle. You will see more traditional houses and the old ways of Papua New Guinea hunting, setting traps and how to make fire with natural materials from the jungle. Back to Mindima by car (2 Hours). Overnight in Skeleton Eco Lodge.

Morning Transfer to Jiwaka – Afternoon you will see the full dressing of the Jiwaka Tribes in full bilas with amazing feathers and headdresses. We see man, ladies and Bamboo flute players from the Sekaka Tribe and visit an old traditional men’s house. After this we see the performance of the Forest Skull Kids of Koskala. Transfer to our hotel in Mount Hagen.

Welcome to the Kumunga Festival at Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, held on the 26th of June 2024. Immerse yourself in a vibrant showcase of traditional dances and rituals from tribes such as the Tambul, Huli Wigmen, Jiwaka, Morobe, Hagen Weldo, Hagen Muld, Black Faced, Mendi, Trobiand Island, Manus, and Jimmi dancers, celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of the region amidst the stunning backdrop of the Pakuwat Wilderness Lodge.

Transfer to Kumul, an excellent destination for montage New Guinea birding and where Birds of Paradise are amongst the regulars at the feeders, offering fantastic photo opportunities. Other regulars at the feeders include Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Smoky Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes and Island Thrush. Chestnut Forest Rail is occasionally seen beneath the feeder while Crested Berrypecker and White-winged Robin are often seen nearby. We have lunch on the way and continue to Enga Province. Check in the hotel and overnight in Wabek Hotel.

After breakfast we drive about one hour to a remote village where we have a full day of activities of the Black Faced Tribe of Enga Province. The Black Faced Tribe, also known as the Suli Muli people, is an ethnic group that lives in the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province. They are known for their distinctive black face paint, which they apply to their faces as a symbol of their identity and cultural heritage. The Suli Muli people are one of the most isolated and traditional groups in Papua New Guinea. Overnight in Wabek Hotel.

In the morning we drive to Mount Hagen and free afternoon at the hotel and dinner. Prepare for our flight to Port Moresby tomorrow.

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Port Moresby. It is advised to stay one night in Port Moresby to secure a good connection with your international flight as sometimes domestic flights get a delay. Overnight in Port Moresby Hotel (at own expense)

Arrival at your home airport

OPTIONS & BENEFITS

4960 USD PP in shared double room
4500 Euro PP in shared double room

Single occupancy: 1322 USD or 1200 Euro

– Local English speaking guide

– All room nights in shared double room

– Transportation for the whole trip

– Breakfast lunch and dinner (all meals)

– Performances for all cultural groups and tribes

– Guided walks to caves and mountains

– Taxes and fees

– Basic Laundry

– International and domestic flights to: Goroka Airport

– Insurance (recommended)

– Personal expenses (drinks and alcohol with your food, souvenirs, phone bill, etc.)

Accommodation is basic but clean, and at some places can be with shared toilet or showers. We stay with the tribes at local homestay guesthouses. Electricity is available during most of the whole trip, also you will have internet access. (For Phone access you need to pay extra SIM card at the airport)

Due to unforeseen events the organizers can change the program during the execution of the trip. We will do our best to follow the program and include all events mentioned. We make plans to cover most problems should they arise, which is very seldom, but the visitor must be aware of the small possibility of plans not working out as per schedule and accept this warning.

Asaro Mudmen Festival – June 2023-2024-2025-2026

Skeleton Tribe Festival – June 2023-2024-2025-2026

FOR BOOKING SEND AN EMAIL TO info@tribesofpapuanewguinea.com or start a call for more information on Whatsapp (Free call) +66869777027 – Please send a message first and inform you want to talk about making a reservation.

We ask for a deposit of 50% to be paid. As soon as we have the deposit your booking reservation is confirmed. The deposit is non-refundable but valid for next year’s trip to join.

We ask for the final balance of payment 2 months before the expedition commences.

Cancellation within 8 weeks of the commencement of the expedition incurs a penalty of 100% of monies paid to date. Payments can be done by international bank transfers in PNG, EU, USA or Thailand (Asia).

– Please bring warm clothing for the evenings.

– There is no mosquito problem in the highlands during the dry season

– Extra money can be changed at the airport upon arrival

– Sim card possible to buy at POM airport the company to choose is DIGICELL

– You need a passport valid for 6 months + VISA application and approved VISA

– https://ica.gov.pg/

– At the airports you need a printed version of all your vaccinations (this might change in 2023)