A hidden haven up in the Highlands

Normal, Weekender

VISITORS to the Southern Highlands and especially in the Imbongu electorate can now benefit from the spoils of a rekindled accommodation facility.
Angima Investments who operate the Kaupena Guest House along the Highlands Highway offer guests a hospitable and breathtaking stay.
Away from the Enga/Southern Highlands turn-off, excellent road conditions can take you less than 30 minutes to this exotic and least exploited dwelling. The facility has five rooms, a master suite, a self-contained kitchen and a meeting room. Perched on the Kaupena Hills, and overlooking the Kaugel Gorge, the scenic posture along with the local hospitality can mean a lifetime’s experience for visitors.
“We have not disturbed the environment and have maintained it in its pristine form”, says proprietor Jack Angima.
“We want our patrons to enjoy the Imbonggu spirit and remember their stay here,” adds Angima.
The estate formerly used as a pilot project by pioneering missionaries maintains its original posture. The English-styled accommodation with a bit of American and European architectural additions captures the ultimate holiday accommodation.
“We have had working class people from the Imbonggu area stay here and they have enjoyed it. Moroever, other people have approached us through word of mouth and our aim now is to open it up,” adds Angima.
What is truly inspirational about the set up is its serene and attractive surrounding. Likened to a tropical jungle, the combination of modern amenities blending into the natural environment makes patrons enjoy both frontiers.
Fresh water is drawn from an underground well, and food is plentiful and can be collected from the local garden.
Protein is derived from the fish pond, as well as the chicken and duck farms and a variety of local vegetables, fruits, nuts and greens are collected from the local gardens.
Guests have a choice of preparing the food themselves or allowing the locals to prepare this in the oven or using traditional cooking methods.
Arrangements can be made for night songs, dances and home stay visits. At night, guests can be treated to local music, courtesy of the in house stereo and can also enjoy the fire in the main reception area.
“There are a number of opportunities that we can explore and the community is willing to assist wherever possible. Our challenge is to make our guests treasure their stay here,” Mr Angima said.
Together with his wife Erica and grown children they have a big task towards the up keeping of the estate and maintaining and balancing nature, the rooms and the overall appearance.
The weather has been their biggest ally as there is an equal number of rain and sunny days.
“ It is a great place to be at,” says Ross Bennett a visitor to the area.
“There is a warm feeling as you approach the entrance and you are surrounded by the thick jungle scent. Migratory birds pass through here and on a good day, there is a good chance of viewing flirting dances by some of nature’s colorful birds. Regular species include parrots, and occasionally pigeons. They all offer a memorable texture to the fun that can be enjoyed whilst there. Others dwell in the area.”
Visitors to the estate include former Governor-General Sir Wiwa Korowi and his family and some construction workers. Police personnel stayed there during the State of Emergency operations, and visitors from other provinces come here to chill out. Visits can be organised to the famous Orei Waterfall and scenic sites and to church.
To get to the lodge, you can get off at Mt Hagen and drive for 40 minutes, or in Mendi for a two hour ride. Consumption of liquor is restricted and patrons are encouraged not to take this in. Ideal for company retreats, families and even board meetings. News of its existence has been promoted through verbal testimonies.