Best time to visit:
from April to October
Antimalarial prophylaxis is recommended
In a word:
Tank yu tumas (Thank you very much)
Climb to the top of the crater of the Yasur volcano; Attend the Kastom dances in one of the many villages; toast with a glass of kava.
One day, while we were watching a BBC documentary, about a tribe of a remote Vanuatu island, entitled: "Meet the natives", we gets o struck by those lands that we decide to go and discover them with our eyes!
It is really true, here is a tribe that venerates Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth II, since he was considered the white son of a mountain spirit whose ancient legends they talk about.
Three hours of flight from the Fiji Islands ... we fly over a sea of clouds of whipped cream ... just before we were enchanted to admire the wonderful Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands of Fiji from the top aboard our ATR42 of Fiji Airways…
The pilot announces that the descent begins, we fasten our belts and look out ... still clouds that slowly begin to thin out like a light mist ...
The verdant islets of the Vanuatu below us ... The vegetation is very thick!
Downhill path ... welcome to Port Vila!
A musical group welcomes us with some ukulele, little Fijian guitars and cheerful songs!
Outside the airport we negotiate with a local van and immediately dive into the messy traffic of the capital!
People are jovial and many greet us smiling!
Sakaria, our driver, tells us a little about the history of his island, while he accompanies us to our Guesthouse! Backpacks on the ground, we're at Vanuatu!
Not far from the capital Port Vila, you can be amazed by the beauty of Iririki Island, a small island that can be reached in just a few minutes by boat to enjoy a day of rest and relaxation.
Here we set foot in yet another tropical paradise!
Once again it seems to me to live in a book of adventures!
We spend the whole day relaxing a little in the sun carefree, then circumnavigating the islet with a kayak and, finally, admiring the bottom while snorkeling until sunset when the bay of Port Vila: a green stripe between two blue masses: the blue sky and the cobalt sea is colored yellow and orange, a sign that another day has passed!
In 40 minutes of flight we land in the small land seen in that famous documentary!
The Isle of Tanna is wild, mysterious, we like it right away with its unpaved roads and the natives who look at us curious, often with a machete in their hands immersed in weeds or with wood on their shoulders, women with big leaves banana trees emerge from the bush stop to greet these two whites who suddenly appear
We stay atAlofa Beach Resort, or rather, two beach bungalows in front of the Pacific Ocean. The sound of the waves breaking on the rocks will make us soundtrack every night, often intimidating us ...
Lizzie, the strong all-rounder of our lodge, immediately makes us notice with pride that here they even have the current 24 hours a day and seven days a week…. but only in the two small bungalows!
The roof is formed by intertwined palm leaves and gives us a good night, adding that spiders, although large, are not poisonous ...
With an off-road vehicle we dive to discover the hinterland. We stop at Yakel where you can still see the life of the village unfolding unchanged for centuries.
We are met by one of the boys of the tribe, one of the rare who speaks English, is completely naked except for a small "penis case" said "namba" that dangles between his legs.
He takes us inside his small village, among his people, among the huts, among the naked children, among the girls in skirts or the old people sitting around the banyan drinking kava..
They reject progress and are strongly linked and rooted to their origins and continue to live like their ancestors.
We witness the dance Kastom and we are literally enraptured by their songs, their movements ... women, men, children and the elderly dance in a circle, raising clouds of dust that make this ceremony even more magical ...
Not far away we meet the chief village of a tribe that lives in the mountains, we have many questions, it's called Yapa Nikiauris and is one of the five lucky ones who, in 2007, had the good fortune to be invited, by a British television crew, to England to know their God: the Prince Philip! Just one of the protagonists of that famous documentary. We made it!
Let's have a long chat, thanks to the help of an interpreter, and we get excited so many times. His answers have strengthened my awareness of how far we are ...
He says he is in his fifties even if he doesn't know exactly (he shows many more, who knows how many he really has!), He went to the other side of the globe to ask only one question to his God, the Prince Philip in fact he is from Tanna!
We are a little surprised by this revelation! The translator explains to me that, in reality, it is only their belief as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II has never been here! Decades earlier he had visited Port Vila but never Tanna.
He goes on to say that he didn't like what he saw there. It is inconceivable that we work to eat, here is the Nature that feeds you ...
Guests by some English families have followed their lives for a few weeks, accompanying them in every activity, even grooming their pets.
On the same day they saw some homeless suffer on the street in horror ... he concludes saying, still saddened, that we love animals that should live happily in the open air and then let our brothers die in the street.
In the afternoon, we head for the volcano Yasur. The road is really ruined, full of big holes and mud and despite the off-road, we travel the 25 km that separate us from the slopes of the smoking volcano in almost two hours ... Here we are in his presence! Beneath our feet an endless expanse of black ash looks like a lunar landscape. The Yasur Volcano it is perpetually active, it erupts about every 15 minutes ...
It pulls a strong wind, it's cold and the smoke produced by the volcano envelops everything. When you go up and get closer to the crater you can hear hisses and really awesome bangs.
Once we reach the top, we look inside, and then, after yet another powerful roar, incandescent lapilli that contrast with steamy white splash into the sky. A unique emotion!
Under your feet you feel that the earth is alive and breathing, speaking from within, a heart of lava illuminates the evening ...
Stones of fire hurl themselves against the walls with violence, a force that only Nature can have. The sound of eruptions is very strong and continuous. It's a unique feeling in the world!
We reach the village of Leitouapam to see the largest banyan in the world.
It is gigantic and continues to grow undisturbed ... it covers an area of 200 meters and is more than 80 meters high with branches reaching even 100 meters!
It is difficult to establish the age of this majestic tree but a popular story tells that it would have been here already at the arrival of the mythical Captain Cook in 1774.
This is a magical place where the mystery of time has been captured in the real world.
Have you ever heard of Nekowiar? It is a ceremony that takes place every three years.
Long preparations, men and women use powders mixed with coconut oil to paint the face of dark red with yellow and black stripes.
About 200 people are involved in this dance that lasts three full days until they are offered pigs, seeds of kava, skirts and laplap (national dish of Vanuatu). The pigs are killed with machetes and a great banquet begins.
We explore the nearby market which is held once a week and brings together all the inhabitants of the island. The colors range from the intense green of the vegetables to the orange of the mango trees, to the bright red of the papayas up to the bright yellow of the bananas ... in a corner there is a lady who sells a kind of brown cord wrapped tightly around herself, a missionary Canadian passing that way explains that it is tobacco! What a wonder the world is!
At Isangel, we visit a small community coming from’Futuna Island, welcome us by simulating an assault with spears and big sticks, suddenly emerging from the bush.
They show us how their life takes place in the village, how fishing takes place, how the huts are arranged; they explain to us that, in the past, when the village chief died, all his wives were buried next to him ...
After a hearty breakfast with all our new friends from Tanna, on foot, along the coral beach, we move to the village "Lowanatom" inhabited by the homonymous tribe.
They welcome us by giving us a wreath of woven leaves and flowers before starting the dances and singing their ancient songs.
They wear colorful clothes and their faces are painted with very bright colors ... the same ones they leave on our cheeks when they greet us!
This dance is very impressive especially when they begin to clap in unison on pockets of braided rope that serves as bass to their ancient litanies.
On an old pickup truck, escorted by Lava, we reach the village of Iuianak and the tribe Lavinu. We are in the heart of the jungle. The men begin to beat their feet hard on the ground, the dust rises, the women, with their bare breasts and yellow skirts, begin to hop, singing the songs of their tribe. They circulate in a circle, the atmosphere is very strong and we are kidnapped by those ancestral rites!
It is already time to return to Port Vila ...
Time flies just when you live it intensely but, no fear, the journey continues and this time, from the capital of Vanuatu we will continue to New Caledonia!
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