My wife and I stayed at Karawari Lodge for three nights in May 2019 during a trip to Papua New Guinea that was arranged by ATJ (f/k/a Asia Transpacific Journeys) and handled locally by Trans Niugini Tours (TNT). We very much enjoyed our time in the Sepik River Basin area and thought our accommodations at Karawari Lodge were quite nice, especially considering the remoteness of the location. (We flew in by private charter single-engine plane; there are no roads in the area and the only other way in or out is via the Karawari River.) Our thatched bungalow had a terrific view of the river below, and the room, while only basically equipped, was perfectly comfortable. There was mosquito netting all around our bed, and we found it worked well, although fortunately there did not seem to be too many mosquitos around. The main lodge was just a short walk away and this was where we took all our meals, which were quite tasty, especially considering the remoteness of the location. The main lodge has a marvelous collection of masks and woven spirit figures, all of which contribute to a very authentic atmosphere. On our last night at Karawari, the lodge management arranged for the guests to be entertained by several local musicians who provided a wonderful music and dance performance. We thought that TNT, which apparently owns and manages the lodge, did an excellent job of arranging village visits for us in the Karawari area. They were all very enjoyable.
My wife and I stayed at Karawari Lodge for 3 nights in July as part of a birding trip organised directly through Trans Niugini Tours. The accommodation in a group of rustic en suite chalets was good and the food and service pretty good. A problem with the shower hot water was resolved reasonably quickly and the daily programme managed efficiently. Our birding guide was knowledgable but as with Rondon Ridge, needed training in communicating and dealing with guests to ensure that , having travelled to the other side of the globe they are taken to where the target birds can be seen! The general background number of birds was disappointing presumably because the resident children still kill them. It was fascinating to cruise past the local people in their riverside villages and the scenery was very pleasant. As with Rondon Ridge there was a debacle with TNT head office, this time with their nonsensical flight arrangements which fortunately manager Paul was able to resolve, at the same time saving the pilot one flight and TNT some cost. In both cases we experienced the lodge managers should have more autonomy.
Overall we enjoyed our 3 days in Karawari though our PNG trip was expensive and not terribly rewarding for birding compared with other destinations. We did see the Twelve-Wired BoP after badgering our guide that we westerners are actually not so 'weak spirited' that we cannot traverse some pasture.
Remote location , after flew from Mount Hagen to grassy airstrip in Karawari , immediately could feel it was a very remote location. Not a great place for bird watching but ideal for cultural tour and to see people and their villages. Lodge comfortable overlooking valley thickly covered with trees and Karawari River flowing. Though electricity was not for 24 hours caused us no difficulty , It was hot and humid during day but rained every night without fail to cool us and electricity came exactly at 4-45 in the morning . freshly brewed coffe or tea with choices of cookies on table brought by Manager himself before he mdrove us in front wheel drive vehicle to boat through muddy slippery road just when day light was showing in horizon.Villagers live on sago pancake and fish from river. Sago plants are endemic and everywhere and fish in abundance in river.Land is v fertile .Saw coffe and coco plants growing without much care
. Had several pleasent walks along river shores . and cruising in boat for hours .Children run to plunge in river to cool themselves.
Food nicely done by chef who took pride in serving best food he could prepare. Ashtoningly where every salad leaf or egg have to be flown from distant Mt Hagen , food served was of best quality and in abundance
Room was clean shower worked well. If travel again would take medical supply , clothings and stationaries for children . Had an insight of Papuan villages and their people who live in closely knit community and always happy with broad smile .
Had a pleasent stay .
Yes, it has lovely views, museum quality artifacts for sale, etc. (see other reviews for these details). But it could be improved 100% by adding a generator so that a provided ceiling fan in each room could run all night to make sleep possible. Under mosquito netting, topped with plastic, and in the rain forest humidity, a working fan is essential for comfort. I have stayed in similar properties in other locations, such as the Danum Valley in Borneo, that manage to provide this, and it would take minimal expense and effort to do the same here in PNG. I strongly encourage ownership to look into this problem and solve it.
Perched high on the banks of the Karawari River, the Karawari Lodge has its charm but you will have to make some allowances for its remote location. The main lodge has its wall embellished with masks and carvings, many of them for sale but few of them small enough to fit into your charter aircraft weight allowance. It is modelled in shape on a spirit house. There is a pleasant outdoor terrace overlooking the river which was visited by the local hornbill, Joanne.
The rooms are in thatched huts, two rooms per hut separated by a nice sitting area, again overlooking the river and beyond, but you need to be in room 1-6. They are basically furnished with two single beds encased in mosquito netting. There is no air conditioning, just a ceiling fan that needs to work frantically between 6am and 10pm when the generator is on. The bathroom is clean and large enough, and filtered water is available for drinking and cleaning your teeth. Sadly for us we could get no hot water which would have been most welcome after our drenching during an afternoon village excursion.
Excursions are by boat and the transport is comfortable enough but your ride up to the lodge from the river is in the back of a four wheel drive vehicle along a bumpy and muddy track. The excursions were a little disappointing particularly compared to those offered by the Sepik Spirit, one was basically just a shopping exercise at a local fishing village. Supposedly there was to be a local ceremonial dance but it just didn't happen.
Our lunch was simple, pasta and salad with a vegetarian sauce plus some diced fruit. OK, good sized portions but pretty basic. Dinner was more elaborate, soup, a tasty chicken dish and a chocolate dessert. Plenty of cold beer and soft drinks are available, along with red and white wine.
The staff here were generally shy but friendly and they tried hard to make our stay enjoyable.
The term best available is used often here, we had a day here before our flight back to the highlands and we enjoyed the rustic nature of Karawari Lodge.