Location: Places >> Oceania >> Vanuatu
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Malekula anyone?
Posted June 1st, 2013 - 5:56 pm by from Montreal, Canada (Permalink)
Hey there,
I'll be on Malekula island this fall, our group chose Vanuatu for our next cooperation project!

So for about 4 mounts, I'll be building a rural training center on the North side of Malekula.

Does someone know anything about this island? It's very hard to get info, and I'm very curious! :D

Thanks guys!

Marc-Antoine - Québec - Canada

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 12:00 pm by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Hi Marc,
Plan to travel there soon so all answers from the newest LP book lol, pls ignore it if u already got one!

Pls be advised that "There are no ATMs and nowhere will take your credit card!!!"
The NBV in Lakatoro will change travellers cheques and Australian dollars, but you can’t access cash through your accounts, so take heaps of vatu.

POP 20,000 / AREA 2023 SQ KM

Shaped like a sitting dog, Malekula has two highland areas connected by ‘the dog’s neck’. The uplands are extremely rugged and inhospitable, rising to over 800m and crisscrossed by narrow valleys.

Two of Malekula’s major cultural groups are the Big Nambas and Small Nambas, named because of the size of the men’s namba s. Small Nambas men wear only one leaf of dried fibre wound around the penis and tucked into a bark belt. Their semi- kastom communities are built around tamtam, ready to beat a rhythm, and a dance area.

Big Nambas men wind large purple pandanus fibres around their penis, securing the loose ends in a thick bark belt and leaving the testicles exposed. They had such an awesome warlike reputation that no foreigner dared venture into their territory. Even police expeditions, which came to punish them for killing traders, were ambushed and dispersed. They kept a stone fireplace where unwelcome outsiders were ritually cooked and eaten. Cannibal sites that travellers can visit change; at the time of writing travellers could see cannibal sites on the island of Rano only.

Big Nambas erpnavet (grade-taking) ceremonies are preceded by lengthy rehearsals. The men cover themselves in charcoal and coconut oil, tie nut rattles around their ankles and wear feathers in their hair. At the highest level, a man has the powerful characteristics of a hawk, and a hawk dance is performed by a spirit man. The outfit, the movement and the spirit are stunning and unforgettable.


The Malampa Tourism Office ( 48491, 48888; malampatourism@gmail.com), near the police station in Lakatoro, can help with any aspect of tourism in the province and also offers an accommodation booking service. It’s the place to go to organise the Manbush Trail Tour (Click here)

Check the internet on the computers at the TVL Internet Vilaj (1hr 500VT).

There’s a hospital ( 48410) at nearby Norsup. Malekula’s mountainous central regions are malaria free, whereas the coast is infested with it.

Getting There & Around
There are daily flights with Air Vanuatu ( 23748, 23878) from Port Vila and Santo to Norsup, and three a week from Craig Cove. There are flights between Lamap and Norsup on Mondays and Thursdays. This may be the only way to travel between the two places during the wet season (and the flight can be cheaper than a boat or 4WD charter).

A chartered speedboat ride from Wala in northern Malekula to Luganville on Santo costs around 20,000VT. From Craig Cove on Ambrym to Lamap it costs 10,000VT.

The passenger ferry Big Sista (to Port Vila 7500VT; to Santo 3000VT) stops en route to Santo and Port Vila; check the office behind the market for times and days. Fresh Cargo (Click here; to Santo 2500VT) stops here too.

All inhabited islands are linked to the mainland by speedboats or canoes. Ask at local stores if you wish to charter one.

A road runs from Norsup around the north coast and down the east coast to Lamap. The road south is rough and rutted and fords many rivers; in the wet season it’s often closed.

It costs 300/100VT by taxi/minibus from Norsup airport into Lakatoro, but on weekends there aren’t many around. Boats often arrive at Litslits south of Lakatoro in the early evening, and a taxi then is also unlikely, so try to hitch if you see a vehicle. Otherwise you may have to walk, bring a torch.

Jump in the tray of a truck ( 5499748; 4hr) to travel between Lakatoro and Lamap (1000VT) on weekdays. It leaves Lamap between 3.30am and 5am and returns from Lakatoro at 1pm. At weekends you’ll need to charter a truck from Levi’s Store (22,000VT). Transport is more frequently available between Lakatoro and Veturah in the north (1 hr; trucks/charters 500/6500VT).

Most public transport leaves Lakatoro from the MDC General Store.

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 12:02 pm by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Sleeping & Eating

Nawori Bungalows LODGE $
( 5685852, 48888; Wala Mainland; d incl breakfast 2500VT) Etienne hosted the film crew for the Last One Standing TV series so his lodge is quite swish: there’s a generator, flush toilet and mosquito nets. Fall asleep to the sound of the sea lapping at the cliff below. His wife Lyne will cook for you. Cannibal tours to nearby Rano are 2000VT per person, plus 1500VT to charter the boat.

Tam Tam Bungalows BUNGALOW $
( 5548926, 5548927, 48888; Veturah; bungalows 7000VT) These pink bungalows have recently been updated and make a peaceful base for joining a tour and exploring the cannibal site at Rano and Small Nambas in Vao. There’s snorkel gear and spear/canoe fishing, electricity from 6pm to 9pm, a nakamal for drinking kava and a restaurant (meals start at 1200VT). Transfers from Lakatoro are 6500VT.