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Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, more commonly known as PNG, is perhaps the last true wilderness with communities that have no contact with the outside world and have only recently discovered their neighbouring tribes. Even the capital, Port Moresby, is isolated from other towns with no connecting roads. This isolation has allowed over 700 local languages to flourish but bizarrely 96% of the country has converted to Christianity.

The country itself is wild and untamed with a mountainous interior often enveloped in a chilly mist and swamp and limestone coastline with unbearable heat. Part of the country is situated on the Eastern coast of the world’s second largest island, New Guinea and then stretches to jungle lowlands and dozens of islands out to the Pacific.

For the intrepid traveller, this is an extraordinary destination unlike any other. Where else do people still live without money? Indeed the social makeup of the different tribes makes for a fascinating learning experience. To get real insight and understanding into one of the last groups of people brought under government control, it is possible to spend time amongst the Huli Wigman people.

In addition to its cultural aspect, Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s best dive sties.

The social anthropologist in you will delight in the Huli Wigman people’s appearance with their beautifully painted faces and bird of paradise feathers and daisies decorating their wigs of human hair. A trek through the Tari Valley will reveal a complex society where males dominate and males and females live in separate villages.

In addition to its cultural aspect, Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s best dive sties. There is little water movement which creates visibility of 100 feet or more and sponges and plate corals abound.

Tired of diving? There are plenty walks, kayak journeys in the fjords, waterfalls and the biggest butterfly collection in the world.