"Karawari, in the Lower Sepik Region" Timbunke by jadedmuse

Timbunke Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 20 photos

The Sepik River is to Papua New Guinea what the Nile is to North Africa, or the Amazon to South America - its many tributaries (like the Karawari River here) are home to villages throughout the delta.

There's little to no infrastructure in these areas, and the main form of transportation is by boat between the tribal villages.

Despite the tropical heat, we often wore long sleeve shirts (and always long pants with closed toe shoes) to ward off the mosquitoes.

Since malaria is endemic (and the strain is so strong) in this lower area of PNG, we had to take two different malaria pills before, during and after the trip. By the time I returned, I'd been taking malaria pills for almost 5 weeks, and I was really sick of them. I stopped taking them about 2 weeks after I returned, and caught hell from my doctor when I told him about it later!

The villages are strictly subsistance here....they seem so lovely as I viewed them from the river - but once we disembarked and climbed ashore to get a closer look, it became apparent that there is little to no economy, no infrastructure, and not a lot of nutritional variety to speak of. So many of the children had distended bellies, although they didn't appear to be starving or even in poor health; this is a result of eating mostly starchy food substances (sago palm, primarily), punctuated by the occasional river fish. It was a far cry from the pigs and wild boar meat that the Highlanders seem to eat in abundance.

The experience was a real eye-opener - and in some ways, a real heartbreaker.....


For more info/photos on Timbunke (Karawari), please see this section's Travel Tips


And if you haven't seen it yet, please visit my intro page under Papua New Guinea

  • Intro Updated Jul 19, 2004
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Reviews (18)

Comments (11)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2007 at 8:37 AM

    What a great page about Timbunke. You are one brave person to travel with Malaria so prevalent. So touching about darling Gwendolyn and her mother...a moment to cherish. Really enjoyed your adventures.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2007 at 7:48 AM

    fantastic page!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2006 at 10:04 PM

    I am so close to this exiting country..never made , not yet that is! excellent & useful infos..okay, no beetlenut for me :-) and of course you wont forget that name: Gwendolyn

  • BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2005 at 1:29 PM

    Really enjoyed these pages Michele...will be back to visit others! Happy travels, Blu

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2004 at 5:49 PM

    How to resist either a lorikeet or a darling like Gwendolyn!?!

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2004 at 8:17 PM

    Think my girls (& I) would love to meet a Gwendolyn. Once again I enjoyed so much the depth & sensitivity of your writing, not to mention some good bits of humour. Yes, think I'd also prefer a 2 winged plane to only 1. lol!

  • dvideira's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2004 at 9:36 PM

    Your PNG experiences were really great. Thanks so much for sharing them. I'll complete my "tour" later. Rough landings with no seatbelts??? brrrrrrr

  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2004 at 1:41 AM

    Everybody should have a 'Gwendolyn'-moment to remember. great report on a fantastic journey. frank.

  • guell's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2004 at 6:57 PM

    That is one cool looking lorikeet!

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2004 at 12:33 PM

    We met an art collector in Noumea who actually helps keep one of the villages in PNG flourishing by exchanging modern technological tools for their arts and crafts. Some incredible works of art come from these people! I loved your portrait of Gwendolyn!


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