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Step back in time to the days of the traditional highlands salt trade, practiced by the people of Enga, reaching across the Highlands Region and beyond for generations before first contact. 

These high altitude salt ponds are formed from underground springs which bubble to Earth's surface, more than 2,500 metres above sea level.


Some seven generations ago, the people of the Laipyan Tribe at Aipinaka in the Laiagam District, first discovered these ponds held salt water after a man noticed flocks of the maiule bird drinking from the pond. Curiously, he tasted the water and was amazed by its saltiness.


The people then developed ways to extract aip (salt) from the ponds using logs and soon this aip was spread throughout Enga and the surrounding provinces, becoming an important commodity.


Aip was used to trade for crude oil, kina shells, kundu drums, ornaments, sago, pearls and claypots.


Traditional aip (salt) is extracted from burning logs after they have been submerged in the salt pond for 6 to 7 months, soaking up the sodium in the water.


Only wood from specific trees Auwek, Suk, Kaina, Milya, Komai and Tindokop are used.


The logs are removed from the pond and dried, then arranged in a pyramid formation and a fire is lit at the bottom. It takes more than 2 hours for all the logs to burn to soft ash leaving just grains of salt.


Pandanus leaves and other select leaves (sundu and sanga) are then used to wrap the salt in bundles for distribution and trade.


It's and hour and a half drive from Wabag town or a 45mins drive from Yaskom Resort Hotel, through scenic  Laiagam District  to Yokonda Village, where your tour will start. with a 30-minute walk to reach the salt ponds.



A pleasant 30-min walk from Yokonda village, walk through forest groves, crossing creeks, past neatly planted traditional kaukau and bean gardens and you will reach the salt ponds.


You will hear first-hand the story of the discovery of the salt and see a demonstration of how the salt is extracted in the ways of the forebears of the local people. You will also be able to taste this uniquely flavoured salt, which is also available for sale and is a popular souvenir to take home. 

ENTRY WITH TOUR GUIDE ONLY. Book your tour at Yaskon Resort-Hotel -

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