Despite being the provincial capital, Mendi is a relatively small town, built around an airport. It shelters in a long green valley, surrounded by limestone hills. There is not much to keep you hanging around here – it’s really just the starting point for a trip into the Tari Basin or Lake Kutubu.
Mendi and the region west towards the Tari Gap isn’t always volatile. Nonetheless, the general vibe is that it’s only a few stiff drinks away from sliding back to its warring ways. If a war is on (as it was when we travelled through in 2015), it theoretically should be confined to the aggrieved parties, but you’d do well to seek police advice and quickly move on.