KALI and the west coast of Manus, Papua New Guinea:  a travel-destinations profile for travelers, tourists, backpackers - to safe and friendly tropical sites-sights

The airport at Momote and the main town, Lorengau are in the east.   Travel from them to the West Coast is by boat or canoe, usually an open fiber-glass 3 or 4 meter speed boat.  The trip takes around 4 hours.

The Beautiful West Coast of Manus - travel-distinations profile

| Accommodation | activities | Health Matters | general supplies | telecommunications | traditional social structure | Dancing and music and sport | environment-geography | weather | Reaching the Manus Province | Accommodation in Lorengau | Reaching Manus Province | Accommodation in Lorengau | SECURITY | Travel to the Beautiful West Coast of Manus | Radio and TV |

Just north of Kali bay is Lessau , which is a picturesque coastal village with a backdrop of big trees and hills. This is adjacent to the Health Centre for the area. This is staffed by nurses and headed by an health extension officer (medical assistant).  Patients requiring the attention of a doctor are referred to Lorengau Hospital where there are three doctors and support staff.

At the southern end of the bay is the Sili-in Government Administrative Centre.&nbso;;This is staffed [by] forestry officers. There are Aid Posts at Salien Island and Bipi Island, staffed by community heath workers, south and west of Sili- in, respectively.

The inner part of the bay is not inhabited and is surrounded by mangroves with the sea filled with fish, dugongs and some crocodiles.

About two kilometers off the coast from Sili-in is Kali Island, a village of some 200 people.  The people are renowned fishermen.

On the coast near Kali Island and Sili-in are the Lu and Salien rivers along side which are village gardens, mangrove forests and waterfalls up stream.

Several kilometers to the north of Kali Island is Seleheu Island.  A picturesque Island surrounded by coral reefs and white sand. This island is used for gardening by the people form the adjacent crowded Nihon Island, which has a population of some 300.

About half an hour's boat trip west of Kali Island are Bipi and Sisi Islands.  Bipi has a population of over one thousand whereas Sisi is used more for gardening.   These islands have are large and are surrounded by white sandy beaches and small coral reefs.


Kali has a Community Guest House with five separate rooms. The village over sea toilets are shared and well and tank water is used for washing. Food, three good meals are available at K30 per day, including the accommodation.

Lessau has a house with amenities near the beach used for visitors.


Day and night fishing, either from boats of canoes or skin diving - 'snorkeling', no tanks.

Visits up picturesque rivers to remote water falls.

Walks in rainforest.

Trips to mangrove swamps and to see sago making.

Village activities of canoe and house building.

Cultural dancing

Village handicrafts and wood carving (on Bipi)

These can all be arranged through the Community Government Member at the respective village on arrival.

Health Matters

The area is served by the Health Centre at Lessau and Aid Posts at Bipi, Salien and Harengan.

Visitors are advised to take prophylactic anti-malarials (e.g. Laraim or doxycycline) and use mosquito repellants at dusk, nights and early mornings and sleep in screened rooms or under mosquito nets before, during and after their stay in Manus.

Visitor are also advised to carry a plentiful supply of plaster, 'band aids' and antiseptic ointment for dressing small sores.  Sore tend to enlarge quickly in the tropical humidity.

Light skinned visitor require a plentiful supply of sun screen. This is not readily available on the island.

There are pharmaceutical items medicines, including antibiotics, sold at two stores in Lorengau.

General supplies

All the main stores, including two supermarkets, are in Lorengau and there are usually well stocked with most basic commodities. Outside supplies are purchased at village trade stores wish stock goods such as tin meat and fish, rice, tea and sugar and biscuits.


The government station at Sili-in has radio communication with Lorengau Forestry Office.

The Health Centre has radio communication with Lorengau Health Office and hospital.

Bipi often has a privately run public telephone connected to the national (and international) telephone network (-675 470 2022).

Messages are sent across the Province on the Radio Manus 'Tok Save' program.

Traditional Social Structure

The outstanding feature of all Manus societies was the individualism and self-reliance that they fostered.  The most cohesive unit was the clan; a number of clans would make up a village, but they retained their separate identity with-in the village. 

Each clan would have a men's house which was built by the most powerful person in the clan.  Around this would be a number of family houses.   Each house was under the protection of a recently deceased male relative whose skull was kept within the house.  The spirit of the deceased was potent for as long as good fortune visited the person who gave the skull shelter.  The skull was discarded when the spirit was no longer effective.  The spirit the joined the amorphous mass of important spirits of previous ancestors.

Apart from ancestral protection there was no organized religion of worshiping of deities. Even the spirits of the recent ancestors were hardly worshiped; they were afforded respect and offered shelter, and for this they were expected to return protection; the spirits had power that mere mortals did not have, but were not all powerful. Communication with spirits was conducted through a medium, usually a woman. If serious illness struck a person the assistance of spirits would be sought, but it was necessary that the victim of the illness confess any moral transgression which may have offended the spirit. Truth and respect for property were highly valued attributes and it was through the spirits that the code was maintained. (Record of the national Museum and art Gallery number 6, 1979 - The People of Manus)

The influence of Christian Missionaries and taking on 'western behaviour' has changed some of these outlooks and customs. Today the dead are buried in communal or private cemeteries.

The people presently living in Manus arrived there in various migratory waves. The last of these occurred some 200 years ago when '200' canoes came up to the east coast of Manus Island. The canoes split up with half going along the north coast and half along the south. Those traveling eventually settled at Pere and became known as the Titan people who spread to various sites along the south coast and islands. Those who went along the north coast had a less settled time and after many adventures settled on Kali with considerable reduced numbers. They were given some land by the Salien people in exchange for protection, as they had a fearsome reputation. The traditional language of the Kali died out some 40 years ago and they took up the Nyindro language of the surrounding main island people. Around the same time the Kali were influenced by a great Titan leader, Paliau Moloat, who introduced a modern way of life and removed many of the old customs. This did not occur in other Nuyindro speaking villages.

Dancing and music and sport

Traditional Manus Dancing is unique amongst all the cultures of Papua New Guinea with its use of Garamuts (slit-drums) of different sizes and tones, and the energy of the dancing. It has become one of the most popular of the traditional dances across the country where dog toothed decorated bodies writhe and jump sensuously to the various fast rhythmic beats of the different sizes of garamut.

Today many villagers enjoy modern music and village dances/discos are arranged.

Many villages have string bands and there is an annual string band competition.

There has been an annual Manus cultural show[s].

Most villagers play soccer and basket ball. Kali is no exception to this. There are regular inter village matches held around the West Coast.

The Environment - Geography

Manus Island is covered by thick lush rainforest. Many species of orchids flourish I the forest canopy. The forest is full of bird life. Animals include possum and bandicoot and wild pig. There are large and small lizards but few snakes and no poisonous ones.

Surrounding the main island are many other islands, some of which are coral atolls. There are many coral reefs teaming with marine life just off the coasts. Kali Bay has many reefs with much sea life, including dugong and turtle.

The islands of the Admiralty Group lie between 1degree and 50 minutes south and 3 degrees and are bounded by the longitudes 146 degrees and 20 minutes east and 148 degrees and 20 minutes east.

Manus Island lies just north of a volcanic arc which sweeps up from the Solomon Islands and to the Bismarck Sea. To the west the arc becomes less pronounced and only the Western Islands break the surface of the sea to indicate the broad ridge beneath the surface. The highest point on Manus Island is Mt. Dremsel with an altitude of 720 meters and at the center of the south coast.

Most of the 45, 000 people in the province live on the coasts of the main and surrounding islands except for the eastern part of Manus Island itself where there are many inland villages.

The Weather

For most of the year the daily temperature range is between 22 and 32 degrees Celsius. There are two main seasons - the south east from May to September and the north west monsoon from November to March. The driest time of the year is usually around August September, but recently (2002 ) the 'El Ninio' has reduced rainfall.

Reaching the Manus Province

Air Niugini flies several days each week from Port Moresby via Lae and Kavieng to Momote Airport in the Manus Province. Momote is on Los Negros Island, which is connected by a bridge to the eastern end of Manus Island.

Air Link runs light aircraft regularly between Manus, Mdang, Weak and Kavieng.

Lutheran Shipping from Lae and Madang and Coastal Shipping from Rabaul run regular freight and passenger services to the Province.

Accommodation in Lorengau

The Harbourside Hotel (tel: -675 470 9263 / 9093, fax: -675 470 9392);  the Kohai Lodge ( tel: -675 470 9004);  and the Kukuni Lodge (tel: -675 4709 263) - supply the equivalent of 3 and 2 star accommodation in the Provincial capital, Lorengau.  All can arrange transfers to and from the airport, which is around 20 kilometers out of town.  There are also guest houses available in Lorengau and a tavern near the airport and Momote. Both hotels can arrange tours and transport to other parts of the island. Lorengau has a population fo some 5,000 people.


Most houses are not surrounded by high security fences in Lorengau, as is found in many of the towns on the mainland or Papua New Guinea. Lorengau does not have the security problems found on the mainland. People can walk around in the town after dusk without fear.

Lorengau has the main police station for the Province. Law and order is kept in the villages through the village court system and customary leadership. The strength of community harmony is reflected with a lack of problems. Kali is a pretty harmonious place!

Travel to the Beautiful West Coast of Manus

Travel is by 5 or 6 meter fiberglass speed boasts and the 90 kilometer trip takes some 4 -5 hours. There are no regular ferries or boat services around the Province.

Places on boats to the west coast can be found by going to the Lorengau beach and asking people for any boat going in that direction. Any passenger would be expected to contribute to the cost of fuel for the engine. They should take water and some food, such as biscuits, to share with others on the boat. It is also advisable to take a rain coat and sun hat for the trip.

Radio and TV

Radio Manus broadcasts on the 90 meter band in the early morning and evenings. The Karai service of the National Broadcasting Commission transmits its short wave service from Port Moresby on the 35 meter (day time) and 60 meter bands. Kalang FM is relayed by an FM transmitter in Lorengau.

Radio Manus broadcasts community information regularly each day and this is the main method whereby messages are sent out form the town to individuals and villages. Its telephone number is -675 4709146 or 4709029 and fax -675 4709079

A small transmitter broadcasts EMTV from Port Moresby around Lorengau. There are scattered satellite dishes, including one on Kali Island..

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Content from South Pacific correspondents:  PNG, Kali village, Manus Island & Australia
December 2002

Copyright © 2002 photos by R.Q. Reilly

On Copyright:  multi-media content on this web site (articles, stories, photos, graphics, and other materials) remains the property of the original/licensed creators of the materials on this site unless otherwise noted. © 2002 ManusIsland.com republished in MetroTown.info with permission from ManusIsland.com

Manus Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea location near northern Australia and south east of SE Asia
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