Posted 22 June 2013 - 12:09 PM
One of the immediate concerns raised by others relates to security in Port Moresby, pre-trek and post-trek. We hear the first-hand accounts of fearful ex-pats living in compounds, violent and petty crime, and other issues with law and order, while TV never paints a pretty picture. While I have every confidence that the risks can be well managed, I have some convincing to do to satisfy others. No amount of reassurance (e.g. "I'm sure it will be fine" or "such-and-such had no problems") will be enough; to satisfy concerns I would need to be able to plan a safe route between the airport and connection with Kokoda Trekking.
Assuming a trek from Ower's Corner to Kokoda, it is possible to plan a trip that would see secure transport (taxi?) from Port Moresby airport to a hotel (Gateway perhaps?), and then pick-up from the hotel by Kokoda Trekking for the start of the trek?
This is important, as it will make the difference between people joining our trekking party or not.
Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:59 AM
Could I trouble you please to review and respond to my question about security in Port Moresby?
I posted it in the forum and also sent an e-mail to you over a week ago. 180+ views but no replies. I've tried sending you a PM via this forum but your profile does not accept PMs. This makes it difficult to communicate with your company.
Trip Advisor reviews suggest that the Airways Hotel is more secure than the Gateway, but the important thing is to know that we can get transferred between airports and your company securely.
A reply would be most welcomed.
Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:35 PM
Since no one has replied so far I will reply with my own experience with another trekking company
I trekked in 2009 with a group organised by the Adelaide Crows AFL club
Our trip was organised by flight centre and we trekked with another company which I wont mention here
But from following this forum since my trek I believe Kokoda trekking will organise the transfer safely to whatever hotel/accomodation you choose
I think from memory they use Sogeri Lodge if you are trekking Owers - Kokoda which is just out of Moresby and very safe
My own trek - To start it takes a long time to get through Immigration/Customs at Pt Moresby - get used to it as it is your 1st taste of PNG time
We then collected our bags / exchanged some Kina and waited until everyone was through and got on a couple of buses
We stayed at the Gateway Hotel and yes it is a compound with guards/barbwire but dont let any of this put you off.
It is very expensive to stay there from memory $250+
We ate at the hotel that night and didnt leave to go anywhere but the night before your trek all you want to do is prepare yourself mentally/ double check equipment,etc. I wouldn't advise a night on the grog as the humidity probably is already kicking your rse.
We were transfered to Owers by 2 buses and yes you see people walking along with machetes but once again it is a PNG thing you get used to. A quick stop at Bomana cementry to pay your respect and off to Owers corner.
Then of course your trek - good luck and I hope you do choose to do it - there is no security worries at all on the trek - the villagers rely on trekkers income in part so they are not going to spoil this by creating problems on the track.
At the Kokoda end Kokoda trekking have their camp/resort which is a god send to tired trekkers. We were due to fly out in the morning but some delays meant we went to the resort for wood fired pizzas and beers - it is an excellent facility and no problems with security. I think with Kokoda trekking you stay overnight and then are driven to Pompodetta to fly back to Moresby.
We had an overnight in moresby again after the trek at the Gateway and we also went to the Moresby yacht club - again plenty of security there for the Expats. Moresby is not somewhere you walk around freely by yourself but the night before and after your trek you are hardly going to be wanting to sightsee. Moresby is simply a "transit" town for your trek.
I really hope the security aspect doesn't put you off trekking. Remember that no trekking company will put their clients in any danger - it just isn't in their interest if they want to stay in business. Even though I have not trekked with Kokoda Trekking they seem to me to be an excellent company and it is a little disappointing that they haven't replied back yet.
I have a friend who starts his trek today with them so I can ask him his experiences when he gets back if you want.
Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:51 PM
Just looked at what is included in the package with kokoda trekking and it says that you are met at the airport - transfered to Bomana to visit the cementry - and then taken to Sogeri lodge for your 1st nights accomodation. Sogeri lodge is on the way to Owers Corner so you would not be staying Moresby at all. Of course you can stay in any hotel you want and I'm sure they would organise your transfer to the hotel and then pick up for the trek. Hope Gail respond to you soon - I'm sure she is busy.
Another aspect to consider is that Kokoda trekking put up photos and updates about how the trek is going for family and friends to monitor at home. You can send messages of support to trekkers as well and they are passed on. And I also believe they carry GPS trackers as well as satellite phones so that should ease your families/friends security concerns as well.
Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:52 AM
I really appreciate you taking the time to provide so much detail. Between the website and the forum there is so much detail and a range of different experiences that it can be confusing.
I had read about Sogeri lodge but it hadn't occurred to me that it is an alternative to staying in Port Moresby. Looks like a very good option.
Posted 05 July 2013 - 02:10 PM
Im 14 days away from my Trek, we get into Moresby at 1630 and Gail has told us we probably wont go out to the Lodge as they don't like to travel at night or late afternoon! They will put us into Accommodation in Moresby and we will head out to Owers first thing next morning! I do believe all transfers will be done by Kokoda Trekking including meeting us at the airport!
I think Gail and Nathan are under the pump ATM as I too have had a few delays to querys and inquiries! I presume this is prime time for the trail and they are busy!
One thing Im not sure about is the security of suitcases left in storage in Moresby and if we take our passports/extra cash with us on the trail???
Posted 07 July 2013 - 09:23 AM
I'd love to hear where your Moresby accommodation is and how you find out. Security of luggage etc is also key.
Best wishes for a great trek, and I hope you can post some info here upon your return.
Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:55 PM
We stayed at the Gateway and they look after passport,cash etc in an envelope that you sign in/out and is put in their safe
As for baggage it was stored in a luggage room which took awhile to get back as nothing happens quickly at the hotel - like I said PNG time
I would imagine that everything would be safe in the luggage room but best to put valuables in their safe
Cant speak for other hotels in Moresby but they probably have similar arrangements
Take enough cash on the trail for cans of coke, twisties,etc and for a few bevvies/pizza at orohaven
Try to take small notes to pay for the cans of coke - it varies in price along the track...
Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:31 PM
Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:17 PM
All trekkers are met at the airport on arrival and taken to where we have booked for the night. If trekkers wish, we take them to the Yacht Club where they can enjoy an evening meal before being returned to rest for the night.
The next morning you are collected from your accommodation and driven out to Bomana War Cemetery before heading out from the starting point at Owers' Corner. Alternatively, if you wish to walk from the opposite direction, we fly you to Popondetta in a Dash 8 aircraft and you are driven by road up to Kokoda.
Depending on the time of the flight and arrival into Kokoda, you may overnight at our base there by the name of Orohaven or commence your walk the same day and overnight at Deniki.
I personally have lived and worked in PNG since 1972 so am more than aware of the dangers but providing we follow common sense rules, we have not experienced any problems with our trekkers.
With regards to trek food, ie nibbles or anything else you might like to bring, all you need do is to state on their customs form you have items of food. Then when with the customs agent, state you are walking the Kokoda Trail. I have never heard of any food being taken off any of our trekkers so can only assume they do not get a hard time.
As at 2013 we have taken well over 4000 trekkers across the Kokoda Trail and should you consider trekking with us, we would love to welcome you to PNG and show you a good time on the track.
Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:24 PM
How were your trips last year? All good I hope and if you trekked with KTL, then I'm sure your experience with Gail and her Company would have been excellent. I have trekked twice with Gail and Gail saw us off at the Airport to fly to Kokoda and met us at Owers Corner when we returned 0n our 1st trip (although we had to travel in the back of the truck and not the Tarago because we all smelt so badly) and then on our second trip Gail took us to Owers to start walking and then again when we flew in from Popondetta. On both occasions, Gail also welcomed us when we arrived at Jacksons.
The Gateway was a fantastic place to stay, both in '05 & 12.
Posted 24 August 2014 - 02:38 PM
I trekked Kokoda with my 19 year old son last month. Had a fantastic time, trekking from Owers' to Kokoda with a local PNG guide. The trip went extremely well, I couldn't have been happier with it. I didn't end-up choosing KTL, although I'm sure they would do a wonderful job. We passed a large KTL group camped at Dump 66 and I think further north too.
Security in Port Moresby wasn't an issue after all. The Gateway Hotel collected us from the airport when we first arrived from Australia and then again when we returned from Kokoda. They also took us to the airport for our return home. They hotel was great, there was no difficulty or charge for leaving bags at the hotel while on the track. We ate breakfast at the hotel and dinner at Enzo's Pizzeria, which is in the hotel. When we returned to the Gateway from Kokoda at about 10:15am our rooms were (understandably) not ready, but we were able to relax in our dirty stinky trekking gear by the pool and enjoy a few beers while we waited. I took the view that it wasn't too early in the day for a beer, it was actually 9 days too late for one....
I ventured outside the hotel across the road unaccompanied to check out some local artist's paintings and felt perfectly safe. My trekking company also took us on an informal tour of Port Moresby after we cleaned up, which included time at an arts and crafts market. We were accompanied there but never felt on edge or threatened. I felt safer there than I have felt in certain parts of Sydney. My take on Port Moresby security is simply that if you are sensible and cautious, and travel with the hotel or trekking company, there are no issues.
Port Moresby aside, there were two particular highlights for me:
- Engaging with villagers along the track, and seeing that their village lifestyle remains intact and sustainable. It was an absolute joy and privilege to be able to experience that.
- As a trumpet player I was able to pay tribute at Isurava by playing The Last Post at our own personal dawn service: https://vimeo.com/100676940
Thanks for asking. Now that I've wound-down and settled back into normality I will take some time to offer advice in some of the other forums. I have plenty to share that might help others to prepare for their own treks.
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