Most of our time we spent in the Madang Province, one of the safest and easy to visit areas of Papua New Guinea. Madang itself is a bustling little city with a fine university in Divine Word University (http://www.dwu.ac.pg/). We found the Jais Aben resort (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) to be a relaxing, friendly and secure place to stay. Jais Aben is close by the Binatang Research Station (http://www.entu.cas.cz/png/), a unique and world-class institution that investigates PNG insects; we are very grateful to the help of the director and staff at Binatang for their advice and assistance.
We then spent time in four villages near Madang where the villagers are trying to both conserve their natural resources and promote ecotourism. All of these villages would be pleased to have visitors. Please recognize that living conditions can be basic (e.g. pit toilets in most places unless noted), but the rewards of meeting people, experiencing their culture and the beauty of their natural areas far outweigh the lack of luxury accommodations.
Members of the Didipa clan were among the first people of Madang to recognize the importance of conservation, when they decided not to log their area in 1962. Kau is close to Madang (near the Jais Abens resort), and there is a large mission house that can accommodate guests, with toilets. The Kau forest is accessible, beautiful and many areas remain relatively undisturbed. Contact Maling Rimandai at (675) 72781480, or at email@example.com.
Keki is an ecolodge in the Aldebert mountains run by Moyang Okira. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to get there as the road can be difficult. But the ecolodge is worth the ride: Moyang has built two beautiful traditional houses to welcome guests, situated overlooking the forest below, and near the forest where one can see birds of paradise and the rare Fire-maned Bowerbird, a species only found in the Aldeberts. Contact Moyang through the Madang Visitors and Cultural Bureau at (675) 852-3302.
Ohu Village is south of Madang (while not far, the road is rough and may best be approached with 4-wheel drive vehicle) and has become involved in several ecotourism projects over the last decade, including a butterfly garden. Many of the residents work with the Binatang Research Station, which studies insects. Recently, the villagers have been working on conserving their forest and showing it to visitors. Contact Bruce Isua at (675) 76865948 or (675) 76200927 or Steven Sau at (675) 696-9671.
Wanem is the most remote of the areas we visited. It is located close to the Ramu river and requires a several hour trip by 4-wheel drive vehicle, followed by a 4-6 hour walk into the village (the length of which depends on how high the river is). Recent threats to the forest have encouraged the people to start a conservation area. This village gives one an intriguing view of life inside the forest, as much of PNG was until recently. Contact Philip at (satellite phone) 872-762-868-136, or through the Binatang Research Center (http://www.entu.cas.cz/png/), at (675) 853-3258.