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Mount Hagen
 

Mt Hagen is the capital of the Highlands, and nestles in the Waghi Valley. Named after a German administrator of the 1890's, Kurt von Hagen, it is a lively and exciting city with a population of 40,000. The Saturday market is one of the best in Papua New Guinea, and local villagers come from miles around to sell their fruit and vegetables. It is a colourful and exciting experience.

The Waghi Valley is home to the Mudmen, one of Papua New Guinea's many colourful tribes. Their bizarre ceremonial dress of clay masks adorn many a poster, and their sing-sings are some of the best anywhere in Papua New Guinea. The Mudmen are very green fingered, and their villages have well-tended gardens, flower-lined paths and small parks.

One hour by road from Hagen is the Baiyer River Wildlife Sanctuary, protecting the largest assortment of Birds of Paradise in the world. The beautiful Blue Bird of Paradise is one of the highlights of trip to Baiyer River. You will also see gliding possums, tree kangaroos and over 80 species of butterflies in this stunning location. A hiking trek through the forests to the top of a ridge affords incredible views of the forest-covered valleys below.

The accommodation we recommend in Mt Hagen is the Haus Poroman Lodge, a short distance from the edge of town. Set in neatly tended gardens, the Lodge has individual rondevals (Roundhouses) with private facilities, or for budget travellers, Haus Totas, with shared bathroom facilities. The Lodge is an excellent place to use as base from which to try some adventurous trips in the Mt Hagen area.Mt Wilhelm, at 14,793ft is the tallest mountain in Papua New Guinea. In the winter the mountain often has snow capped peaks, but most of the year it is a relatively easy climb to the summit for the fit.

We can offer a 5 day/4 night climb of the moutin, but obviously can extend this if you wish to take in more of the surrounding countryside en route. Your trip will take you by PMV (local bus) to Kundiawa where you will overnight at the Kundiawa Hotel. The next morning you will take another PMV to Kegasugl, at the base of Mt Wilhelm, where you will stay at Herman's Guesthouse for 1 night before walking to and overnighting Pindaunde Lakes Camp. Early the next morning you will climb to the summit of Mt Wilhelm to take in the sunrise across the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. You will then return to Lakes Camp to pack and return to Kegasugl. Here you will overnight at Herman's Guesthouse for 1 night before retracing the route to Mt Hagen. On both treks we provide porters, English-speaking guide and all your food (except at the Kundiawa Hotel) and equipment. We recommend sturdy hiking boots for both trips, and warm clothes and wind-cheater for the Mt Wilhelm climb, as it can be cool and damp nearer the summit.

In August, at the Mt Hagen Show, tribes from across the country compete against each other in a massive "sing-sing". There is no better sight than to see rival tribes trying to out-do each other in dress, make-up and noise! It also allows the tourist to see many different peoples in close proximity to each other, something that is just not possible under normal circumstances. As this event happens but once a year, flights to and hotel accommodation in Mt Hagen are at a premium, and we urge interested parties to book well in advance to avoid diappointment. We recommend you take plenty of film, as the photo-opportunities at the Hagen Show are limitless.

 

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