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Expedition Papua New Guinea with Ulla Lohmann

17 – 29 November 2022

Location: Papua New Guinea

Price: £4295 / 5850 USD

Few places left!

Join an unforgettable expedition to Papua New Guinea one of the most isolated places on earth with Ulla Lohmann, a National Geographic photographer who has visited more than 30 times.

Climb and photograph the active volcano Tavurvur, explore paradise islands and snorkel at one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. Then we head off road to spend several days in the deep jungle with the indigenous people to experience their unique culture and document life in their village.

On jungle hiking expeditions we will see beautiful limestone caves, ancient burial sites and fascinating wildlife.

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Highlights:

  • Experience the unique nature and culture of Papua New Guinea.
  • Spend several days out in the jungle with the indigenous population.
  • Opportunity to experience and photograph a unique culture with mysterious rituals and dances.
  • Climb and photograph the active volcano Tavurvur.
  • Snorkel at one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs.
  • Document everything from limestone caves to ancient murals.
  • Experience a SingSing, a unique tribal feast.
  • Beautiful limestone caves and historical remains from World War II.
  • Personal guidance and tuition from Ulla Lohmann
papua new guinea ulla lohmann

Image: Ulla Lohmann

What’s included?

  • Ground transportation with 4×4 jeeps according to itinerary.
  • Domestic flights and accommodation according to itinerary.
  • Meals according to itinerary (Breakfast – B, Lunch – L, Dinner – D)
  • Personal tutoring & workshops by Ulla Lohmann.
  • Park entrances and other fees.
  • Hotel taxes and local fees

Excluded: International flights to Port Moresby and travel insurance. No single rooms available.

You should arrive in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea before 11am November 17th and depart any time after 9am during November 29th.

What should I bring?

  • A camera
  • We recommend taking a wide-angle lens of at least 24mm and a telephoto lens such as 70-200mm.
  • A mono- or tripod
  • Extra batteries, charger etc

A more detailed equipment list will be provided in the information material you will receive prior to the expedition.


Papua New Guinea Itinerary

Day 1 (17/11) – Welcome to Papua New Guinea

At lunchtime we gather at Port Moresby Domestic Airport where we are met by Ulla Lohman. In the afternoon we fly on to Tokua/Rabaul where we check into our accommodation by the beach. After such a long trip, there will be time to relax on the beach or take a swim in the water. Later in the evening we will see the sun set over the volcanic landscape that surrounds us before we eat a tasty welcome dinner together. (D)

papua new guinea rainforest

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 2 (18/11) – Volcanos around Rabaul

Today we head off to explore the surroundings that are full of possible motifs. Filled with anticipation, we drive along the beautiful roads leading towards Rabaul. From our first stop, we can photograph Vulcan, a volcano that in the early 1990s destroyed Rabaul when it erupted together with the volcano Tavurvur. We continue our journey of discovery and visit the Japanese barge tunnels that have remained hidden in the landscape since World War II.

In these tunnels we get the opportunity to document the remains of the Japanese barges that were hidden here during the war. When we reach the top of Tunnel Hill, we are met by a stunning view of Rabaul and Blanche Bay, the perfect spot for landscape photography. Wherever we move, we are greeted by remnants of the past and as we move through the ruins of Rabaul, we see the devastation created by past volcanic eruptions.

We will also visit the Volcano Observatory where the activity of the various volcanoes is measured. During the day, our memory cards will be filled to the brim of different motifs, from the colorful market to pictures of the hot springs at Tavurvur. In addition to photographic guidance, Ulla will share her knowledge about the history and population of the area. After a day filled with impressions and photographic possibilities, we enjoy the sunset and dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 3 (19/11) – Rainforest and Tolai Village

After an early morning where we’re hopefully rewarded with a beautiful sunrise, we make ourselves ready for new photo adventures. We enter the jungle, where we are welcomed to a Tolai village, that never receive outside visits other than from Ulla. We now have a unique opportunity to document how the indigenous people live, a life that is quite different from our own.

The houses are made of coconut leaves and payment is also done with money made from shells. Lunch is traditional and we are offered food wrapped in banana leaves, heated on volcanic stone. After a tasty lunch, we continue our photographic journey of discovery in the rainforest surrounding the village. The vegetation that meets us is striking, with over 100-year-old strangler fig trees, many with a diameter of over 20 meters.

Ulla will guide us in the photographic task of conveying the size of the landscape in our pictures. Back at the village, we stop by the garden and learn more about the vegetables we ate for lunch. As a conclusion to this memorable experience, we say goodbye to the village residents, who treat us to a farewell dance. (B, L, D)

papua new guinea rainforest

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 4 (20/11) – Mangrove Swamp and beaches

Today we move towards the other side of the island. We follow a beautiful coastline and stop to photograph anything that captures our interest. As we arrive at the beach that will be our base for the night, we explore the mangroves around us, while learning about its importance for the ecosystem. Anyone who wishes can take the opportunity to go snorkeling.

After dinner, it’s time for another unique photo opportunity, as we are treated to an exclusive fire show. Watching the mask-clad dancers dance through the fire while the flames rise towards the sky is a powerful experience, where long shutter speeds will create effective and unique images. We will be spending the night in tents on the beach. (B, L, D)

Day 5 (21/11) – Deserted islands and dolphins

Few trips can offer such varied photo opportunities as this expedition, and today we take a boat to explore a deserted island. With a little bit of luck, we can see and photograph dolphins at short range, that curiously move along the boat in the crystal-clear water. We are met by everything from a rich bird life to hermit crabs moving across the shore. Now it’s time to explore the pristine coral reefs that stretch around the island.

In the turquoise blue, crystal-clear water, lots of colorful fish, turtles and fascinating but harmless reef sharks all swim around. After watching the sun go down over the horizon, we catch our own fish and cook dinner over an open fire. Our day on this paradise island is concluded with using long shutter speeds to capture the starry sky above us. We spend the night in a shelter (B, L, D)

Day 6 (22/11) – The active volcano Tavurvur

Now it’s time to leave our island paradise behind and make our way towards the active volcano, Tavurvur. Depending on the volcanic activity, our goal is to take us to the volcano crater, where a wonderful experience awaits you. If it turns out that the volcano is too active and we cannot reach the summit, we will explore the lower parts of the volcano where we can see coral reefs that were raised above the water by volcanic eruptions, and more Japanese tunnels from World War II.

We will also visit “Egg Diggers”. These are people who dig for eggs from birds that have buried their eggs in the volcanic sand. We finish the day during the “Blue Hour” where we are given the opportunity to photograph the volcano and its surroundings in bluish tones. Overnight stay in the accommodation by the beach. (B, L, D)

papua new guinea children playing in water

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 7 (23/11) – Flight to Lae and gold mining town

After a week filled with amazing photography memories, we begin the second part of our expedition with an early morning flight to Lae for further transportation with four-wheel drive cars towards our next stop, a former gold-mining town. Once we’ve checked into our hotel, there will be time for relaxation. For those who want to continue filling their memory cards, there are plenty of opportunities in the hotel’s beautiful orchid garden. (B, L, D)

Day 8 (24/11) – Gold miners and rainforest wildlife

Today we’ll meet the gold miners in the area. To see them pan for gold at the edge of the river is like taking a step right into the pages of a history book. For those who like to photograph portraits, this is an opportunity to photograph different characters. where each expression seems to tell a unique story. From here we continue into the rainforest where we’ll be surrounded by tall trees and dense vegetation. If we’re lucky, we will have the opportunity to capture birds-of-paradise with our cameras, as beautiful as they are famous, as well as various birds of prey and perhaps even pythons. (B, L, D)

Day 9 (25/11) – Deep into the rainforest

After a quiet morning we continue deeper into the rainforest through a valley where the river is quietly running through the trees. New photo opportunities await us wherever we turn and as we cross the mountain range on our way to our goal, we are met by a completely different type of vegetation. Here the surroundings have adapted to the higher altitude and our visitors are greeted by spectacular views. After several hours of driving into the deep jungle, we arrive at an isolated village that will be our base during the coming days. Overnight stay in huts. (B, L, D)

Day 10 (26/11) – Limestone cave and mummies

The day begins with an excursion into a hidden limestone cave. Wherever you turn your camera lens there will be something worth snapping a shot of. The stalagmites formed in the cave trigger the photographic creativity in us, and only our imagination will set the limit of our image creation. When we get out of the cave, all the sounds of the rainforest bid us welcome, and Ulla takes us to a burial place where mummified skeletons rest on a cliff ledge. Above the cliff we are met by mysterious rock paintings whose origins remain unknown. After a day of exploration, we spend the evening with some entertainment by local musicians. (B, L, D)

aerial shot papua new guinea

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 11 (27/11) – Meet the tribe

Today, you can choose the activity to your likings: You can stay with your new friends in the village and have the wonderful opportunity to witness the preparations for the SingSing, a celebration dance ceremony. You are welcome to individually stroll around the village and photograph the daily activities, such as the work in the garden, the cooking on hot stones, or the vanilla plantations. You will have the special opportunity to photograph the people getting dressed and putting their face paint on.

The second option: You can explore the wildlife of the jungle during a longer hike (5 hours) and with a little bit of luck we’ll see everything from tree-kangaroos to the beautiful birds of paradise. Back in the village, it’s time for our last night in the jungle before we go back to civilisation.

As a conclusion of our days in the village, we will spend the evening with a chance of photographing what the natives call a SingSing at close range. This is a celebration when the nearby tribes gather to dance and show off their spectacular and fascinating rituals. To experience and photograph, at close range, everything from colorful and painted faces, spectacular masks and dancing and drumming going on long into the night, is a powerful experience. (B, L, D)

Day 12 (28/11) – Return to civilisation

Today, it is unfortunately time to leave our newfound friends in the village where we’ve spent the last few days. With the help of FWD jeeps we move across mountain ranges. Ulla will make sure that we stop at the most beautiful vantage points to document the last leg of the expedition. When we reach our hotel during the afternoon, there’ll be time to relax with a dip in the hotel pool. During the evening we eat a final dinner together and summarise our expedition which has given us memories for life and amazing photo opportunities. (B, L, D)

Day 13 (29/11) – End of the Papua New Guinea expedition

After an early breakfast we continue towards the airport for an early morning flight to Port Moresby where we arrive around 09.00 in the morning. Flight home, on your own. (B)

 Volcano Tavurvur

Munganau walks home. He lives in the shadow of the active Volcano Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea. Image: Ulla Lohmann

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