The Sepik River in Sandaun is one of the most beautiful rivers in Papua New Guinea. Not only is it the longest in the country, but it is also one of the largest freshwater wetland systems in the whole region at the Asia-Pacific.
A large part of the river is flowing through the New Guinea provinces of East Sepik and Sandaun. A part of it flows into the Papua, an Indonesian province.
What to See
The nice thing about the river is that it is mostly undisturbed. There are no industrial, forestry or mining activities nearby. This means the beauty of the river has remained unchanged and unspoiled. The river is clean and pure, and the sunset views are one of a kind. Shades of blues, yellows and orange can be seen over the sky and reflected on the waters.
The river is also known for its diverse wildlife. Particularly prevalent are the crocodiles and birds. The tendency of the river to backtrack has resulted in the formation of swamps, lakes and lagoons.
These locations are filled with different kinds of animals too. That is the reason why the Sepik River in Sandaun is also popular with researchers and scientists wanting to know more about Papua New Guinea.
The local residents in the villages have been living there for thousands of years. The earliest Europeans to see the river were the Germans. In 1885, the Germans set up German New Guinea on the site. The Germans called it Kaiserin Augusta in honor of their Empress. In 1886 and 1887, expeditions were performed.
More expeditions were conducted in 1913. Maps were created, flora and fauna studied and the local tribes evaluated. The area was also a battlefield area during World War II. The Japanese occupied the area during much of the war. They were not driven out until 1945, mostly by the Australian Army.
There are no fees required to view the river. Tourists visiting the country should figure spending 100 to 300 USD daily.
The tribes residing close to the river are well known for the exquisite clay pottery and wood carvings they produce. During their religious ceremonies, the natives use garamut drums. These instruments are created out of hollowed-out tree trunks. They are molded into different animal shapes.
The Sepik River in Sandaun is navigable, so take advantage of this opportunity to view the area. There are several companies that offer canoe and riverboat cruises.