Review: Kiburu Lodge, Mendi 


Kiburu Lodge is on the outskirts of Mendi, about 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, in the middle of a large estate alongside the town’s namesake river, once a favoured grade five white-water rafting destination. John Brooksbank takes a look.

The lush hills of the Mendi Valley frame the Kiburu Lodge. Credit: John Brooksbank

Kiburu has been part of the scenery here since the late 1980s when it was established by local landowner Francis Awesa. The constant sound here is the gurgling water of the nearby Mendi River. As you walk around the well-groomed gardens, raggiana birds of paradise flit through the tree tops, making their intermittent but very distinctive calls. It’s a haven of peace. There is back-up water and power if the main supply is disrupted, plus extensive use of local timbers, woven cane and pit-pit blinds, so the lodge has a village atmosphere. Construction is a pole and beam style; all structures initially had kunai thatch roofs, replaced now with more permanent materials. The layout of buildings and two-room cottages is along the banks of the Mendi River.


There are two self-contained standard rooms per cottage; self-catering units; backpacker rooms; and three-bedroom houses with lounges, kitchens and verandahs, ideal for extended stays. The intimate bar, dining room and conference centre occupy the main two pavilions of the lodge.

Food and drink

The hotel’s restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner. Predictably, being in the fertile highlands, there is much use of local produce, especially fruit and vegetables.

What guests like

‘The grounds are kept safe and secluded from Mendi town. The river runs near the cabins, creating an amazing monotonous noise that will relieve any tensions or jet lag.’ – TripAdvisor 


Kiburu Lodge in brief

Who stays? Mainly business and government travellers 

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How big? 20 keys  

Cost: Standard rooms start from K295 + GST

Check in & out 2 pm & 11 am  

Phone number +675 549 1077

Highlights Rooms are surrounded by well-kept gardens, home to several native bird species, including the raggiana bird of paradise, whose favourite food trees have been planted. Guests are almost guaranteed to see Papua New Guinea’s national bird.  

Nearby Mendi is the capital of, and the gateway to, Southern Highlands Province. From here, it’s an easy drive along sealed road to Mount Hagen, capital of Western Highlands Province. Alternatively, there are roads into Hela Province, home of the famous Huli wigmen. 


This review first appeared in Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.



  1. Elsie May Yapen says

    I can’t get through on the landline there any mobile contact?

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