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The Sepik has a large catchment area and includes swamplands, tropical rainforests and mountains. Biologically, it is possibly the largest uncontaminated freshwater wetland system in the Asia-Pacific region

The river originates in the Victor Emanuel Range in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. From its mountain headwaters it travels north-west and leaves the mountains and flows into Indonesian Papua, before turning back north-east for the majority of its journey following the Great Depression. Along its course it receives numerous tributaries from the Bewani and Torricelli Mountains to the north and the Central Range to the south.

For most of the Sepik’s length the river winds in serpentine fashion to the Bismarck Sea off northern Papua New Guinea. Unlike many other large rivers, the Sepik has no delta whatsoever, but flows straight into the sea, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the town of Wewak.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: dwarf cassowary, Gurney’s eagle, twelve-wired bird of paradise, king bird of paradise, white-eared catbird
  • Where: Central Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Birding in Paradise

An ideal location for birders, Papua New Guinea’s forests are home to a remarkable 700 species that includes 38 of the world’s 43 birds of paradise. Based in excellent remote wilderness lodges, knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the country's extraordinary wealth of culture and wildlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,845 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Birds of Paradise Photography

Join one of our award-winning wildlife photographers in Papua New Guinea, and visit three of the country’s finest bird and wildlife locations. Take in lowland and montane rainforests, with enchanting cultural exchanges and festivals that offer compelling, colourful insights and photographic potential.

  • When to go: Jun-Jul
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £10,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Life in the Forest

Visit Papua New Guinea’s huge expanse of rainforests, staying on the Karawari River in East Sepik Province and in the Western Highlands. Based in excellent wilderness lodges and flying between locations, explore the contrasting habitats and diverse indigenous populations of this fascinating country.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,095 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

South Pacific Explorer

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity visits the remote and culturally-rich islands of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in search of unique birdlife aboard the Spirit of Enderby. Snorkel the crystal clear waters, or kayak the coastlines while enjoying the spectacular scenery and marine life.

  • When to go: Oct
  • Duration exc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Karawari Lodge

Karawari Lodge stands on a lone ridge above the Karawari River, overlooking an endless expanse of dense tropical lowland rainforest in one of Papua New Guinea's most remote and unspoilt areas. Accommodation is in ten cottages, inspired by traditional architecture and constructed using materials.

Recommended cruise vessel:

Sepik Spirit

Sepik Spirit is a tourist vessel which cruises the Karawari River – a tributary of the Sepik River - and the Krosmeri River, allowing entry to the Blackwater Lakes and its stilt villages. Explore the river and its tributaries looking for birdlife, and visit Spirit Houses for an insight into local culture.