Malampa Province in Vanuatu
includes the islands of Malekula, Ambrym & Paama.
For travellers Malampa offers a unique combination of active volcanoes, guided treks,
and a rich cultural experience of kastom dance and art.
Malekula is the second largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago, has a population of approximately 20,000 and over 30 different languages representing the many cultural groups. The most common spoken language is Bislama (Melanesian Pidgin English) but as a legacy of former colonial times there are strong French-speaking and English speaking communities - making it an ideal destination for visitors who speak either language.
Malekula is he home to the Big Nambas and Small Nambas tribes. Previously fearsome warriors and cannibals, they are now sharing their unique culture and traditions with visitors. For village celebrations women still wear grass skirts and mean wear the nambas, a woven penis sheath.
You can join a tour to experience celebrations with rhythmic dancing, singing and fantastic costuming, as well listen to the stories as you visit eerie cannibal sites. You can tour and be hosted in small villages to sample delicious local foods (kakae) and experience traditional ways of life - from traditional fire-making to weaving.
For a more active adventure - you can try snorkeling in the beautiful waters of the many beaches and marine reserves teeming with colourful fish species, try traditional outrigger canoe trips, and walk a number of adventurous guided hiking trails including the iconic Manbush Trail and Dog's Head Walk in to the mountainous interior and beautiful conservation areas.
The art of Malekula is some of the finest in Vanuatu; sand drawing, tall head dresses, puppet figures, weaving, beautiful local timber carving, masks, and clay pottery.
There are many authentic and beautiful locally-built, hosted and catered bungalows to stay at on Malekula, where your hosts are both very extremely friendly, hospitable and knowledgeable.
The offshore islands of the Maskeylynes, Uri, Uripiv, Rano, Wala, Atchin and Vao (to mention just some) are also worth visiting for a unique small island experience.
If you are staying in Lakatoro - it is worth visiting the local produce market during weekdays to purchase inexpensive seasonal fresh food - from drinking coconuts, pineapple, peanuts, papaya (paw-paw), to aelan kabis and also try local delicacies including lap-lap and toluk - with tasty local organic beef.
Also worth visiting in Lakatoro is the Malekula Cultural Centre in the Provincial area above the town to see local art and read about the fascinating history. Entry is 500Vatu.
Fantastic local craft from around Malekula is able to be purchased from the Women's Cooperative Craft Centre behind the market house.
There are not the same number of taxis as in other more populated centres in Vanuatu, however it is possible to catch a ride on public transport - the back of a 4X4 or ute or alternatively catch a 'bus' (van). It will have 'B' at the start of the license plate. Simply wave if you would like ride. Most small local trips should cost around 100-200Vatu.
For longer journeys it is advisable that you book with Malekula Tourism Transfers via malampa.travel.
Click here to visit our Malekula website
Ambrym to the east of Malekula across the Coral Sea is famous for its active and awesome twin volcanoes - Mt Marum and Mt Benbow, its fabulous black-sand beaches, and beautiful intricate carvings in wood, stone and tree fern.
Ambrym is also known for its mystical sorcery and powerful magic, tamtams and Rom spirit dances.
In the villages, the ancient customs play a significant part in day to day living. The 'Man blong Majik" are treated with utmost respect and practice sorcery and magic beyond all imaginings.
The magnificent tamtams carved from tree trunks are impressive forms of art planted in the ground and measuring up to several meters high to beat out the rhythm for signing and dancing during ceremonial rituals
Mt Benbow (1160m) and Mt Marum (1270m) volcanoes are constantly making their presence felt - rumbling away with the smaller vents oozing steam and lava. Standing on the rim of these volcanoes the core of the lava lakes can be seen swirling and spitting in endless fury. They are located in the middle of the island and form a huge caldera some 12kms in diameter. The lava flows and ash dust that surround the two volcanoes give the landscape a moonlike aspect and the sight is breathtaking.
There are many accommodation options in local-style bungalows, and a number of excellent guided tours with professionally trained guides across the ash plain to see the volcanoes.
Paama is the smallest of Malampa Province's islands just south of Ambrym and rarely visited by tourists. Paamas waters however are home to a spectacular array of marine animals including turtles, and dolphins. During daylight, all of Paama's neighbouring islands are clearly visible from various locations on the island. Indeed, on a clear night the red glow of Ambrym's twin volcanos can be seen clearly from the black sand beach at Liro.
Tourism is just opening up in to Paama and this should be a fantastic place to visit in years to come.
Click here to visit our Ambrym website