Birds of Paradise, Papua New Guinea - Limited Edition
Day 1: Mt Hagen
Welcome to Papua New Guinea! Upon arrival, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. As today is arrival day, there are no activities arranged. If you arrive early, head out to explore Mt Hagen. Situated in the Wahgi Valley, Mt Hagen is PNG's third most populous city. This evening at approximately 6 pm, there will be an important group meeting at the hotel. Please check reception for details, and bring your passport and travel insurance documents to along to the meeting.
Day 2: Pakuwat Cultural Show
Experience a special village welcome the Hagen way. Led by your local guide, walk around and watch villagers preparing for their performance in today's Paukwat mini cultural show. The performers will be dressed in traditional tribal costumes. Most are happy to have their picture taken, although it's always respectful to ask first. Be aware that you may be asked to join the clans as they prepare for the festivities, and perhaps even to join in their performance! By midday you'll see an explosion of culture. Five tribes will perform traditional dances for you at the Pakuwat Cultural Show Ground. The group will also be treated to a Mumu – a traditional meal cooked in a big earthen coal-filled pit.
Day 3: Mt Hagen
Today, head out for a walk around a local coffee factory and organic plantation to see how the beans are grown and processed. You'll also visit the bustling Hagen Market, where friendly locals sell everything from fruit and vegetables to clothing, crafts and animals. Purchase some fresh produce and enjoy lunch with the group. Afterwards, take a look around Pakuwat Lodge and experience what daily life is like for local villagers. You'll be asked to collect vegetables (as well as a pig!) before joining locals in preparing a mumu from start to finish. The fire will be started the traditional way, by rubbing sticks of wood together.
Day 4: Birds of Paradise
Today travel to Kumul Lodge, where you'll spend the next few nights. Constructed out of local materials, Kumul is one of the best-known eco-lodges in the country. The lodge is also locally managed and owned and employs local guides, so you can be sure your money is helping to support people in the immediate area. The forest surrounding the lodge is home to some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world. After checking in, pack your camera and head out for the first bird watching walk of the tour. Keep an eye out for Yellow-billed Lorikeets, Long-tailed Shrikes, Red-collared Myzomelas, Island Leaf-warblers, Hooded Mannikins and New Guinea White-eyes. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a Torrent Flyrobin or Lark. Afterwards, head back to the lodge to relax and spend some time in the bird-viewing area.
Day 5: Birds of Paradise
This morning head to the Kama Birding Site. The site is around 30 kilometres away from the lodge, so make sure you have your camera and supplies for a half-day tour. Today you'll have the chance to see one of the more spectacular Birds of Paradise – the Lesser Bird of Paradise, distinguished by its yellow crown and cascading plume of white and yellow feathers. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for Mountain Myzomelas, Ornate Melidectes, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoos and Black-headed Whistles. In the afternoon, head back to the lodge and again spend some time in the bird-viewing area.
Day 6: Birds of Paradise
This morning's destination is the Tonga Birding Site, where we'll be looking for the Blue and Superb Bird of Paradise. The Superb Bird of Paradise is famous for its spectacularly elaborate, almost comical courtship dance. As the species has such a low population of females, competition among males is fierce. On average, a female rejects 15-20 suitors before settling on a mate. That's a lot of dance performances! It's about a 45-minute trip from the lodge to the site, so make sure you have all your equipment for the day with you. After the day's walk, return to the lodge to potter around the bird-viewing area or relax in your bungalow. By now you should be able to identify many of the birds around you.
Day 7: Mt Hagen
This morning set off to the Lai River (or the Mambis Birding) Site, around 45 minutes from the lodge. Like every other day, your local leader will be keeping a keen eye out for the magnificent birdlife around you. Of particular interest today are the Torrent Flyrobin and the Magnificent Bird of Paradise. The males of the latter species are distinguished by two long, curved tail feathers. There's also the possibility of seeing the Yellow-breasted Bowerbird. In the mid-afternoon, head back to Pakuwat Lodge. On the last night of the tour, sit down with your group and leader for one last meal together, sharing photos and reminiscing about your adventure.
Day 8: Mt Hagen
Your bird-watching expedition winds up today after breakfast. As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart the lodge at any time. If you'd like to stay on for a few nights to further explore Mt Hagen, just let your agent know at the time of booking.