Published by The Telegraph, Travel Cruises, UK
Along the Sepik River: Papua New Guinea
My first sight of the Sepik was from the air. It looped across the land in great festive bows. Around it, glinting in silvery puddles, were strewn dozens of oxbow lakes, bends the river has discarded. New Guinea, after Greenland the second-largest island in the world, is in Oceania, where the Coral Sea meets the South Pacific. The river is on one of the farthest-flung frontiers of travel. In my days on it I met one backpacker.
With most of PNG’s attractions close to the coast and, for visitors at any rate, the interior largely inaccessible, easily the most practical way of seeing the country and its islands is by ship. Those that visit tend to be small expedition ships carrying specialist teams who lead forays ashore in Zodiac inflatables. On one sortie to Ambunti, baggy clouds the size of small countries ringed the horizon. Around us stretched a great green panorama of riverand reed. Engine buzzing, we skimmed across water as flat and polished as marble. Villages that can be reached only by boat were betrayed by smears of smoke, their houses withdrawn in the bush….