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The Rough Diamond of Oceania

Those who have visited it are unanimous: it is another world. In this last frontier, both harsh and endearing, vertiginous and secret, untouched nature serves as the backdrop for a mosaic of tribal cultures that perpetuate their ancestral customs.

By Jean-Bernard Carillet (text) and Greg Lecoeur for “Le Figaro Magazine” (photos)

After less than an hour of flight from the town of Mount Hagen, in the center of the country, the six-seater Piper begins its descent towards the grassy track of Karawari. That is to say nowhere. From the window, we can make out a ridiculous green ribbon traced on the dark velvet of a jungle stretching to infinity. As soon as you land, the landmarks of the modern world fade away, swallowed up by the wild immensity and the sweltering climate.

Badly connected to the outside world, almost reclusive, the Sepik River region represents one of the last frontiers of travel. No roads, no vehicles, no electricity, no running water, no infrastructure and extremely limited communication networks. A world tailor-made for visitors with a strong spirit of adventure. However, the “Papua Amazonia” is not a diagonal of the void. Life is organized around the Sepik and its tributaries, including the Karawari.

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