Getting Tribal with Dance at Big Nambas Malekula, Vanuatu
If visiting an authentic tribe in their forest and flowered environment isn't awe inspiring enough, the energy hits another level once the male warriors stomp dust, begin to sing their throaty chants and start to dance.
While not every dance is a war dance, let's be honest...with a history of cannibalism, chiefs with multiple wives and alternative beliefs, the people of Malekula Island in the Vanuatu archipelago certainly have some pretty wild and wonderful stories to share. You are in for a real treat because telling a tale, which is known locally as 'storian', is one of the national pass times.
Malekula is one of Vanuatu's 14 main islands and the second largest in the archipelago. It lies between the popular tourist destination of Espiritu Santo and the island of Efate where the capital Port Vila is located but Malekula is still quite remote and is shrouded in mystery.
Nothing in this tour is overtly commercial or touristy. As you sit in the ancient Malekula tribal forested homelands you will notice that there may not be any wifi but the air will be charged with spirit and energy. And best of all, the locals are known for being the friendliest people on earth. There will always be a laugh and genuine kindness.
- The natural untouched environment and traditional way of life in the beautiful bamboo hut villages
- The kids – they’re everywhere and love to smile and play with anyone, especially in the sea or a nearby waterfall
- The fruit and traditional foods wrapped in banana leaf
- The roads are dusty and bumpy, but the views make up for it so ride outside in the back of the truck if you can
- You’re really out in the natural environment here – so there may not be much access to power, internet , shops or any of those first world conveniences
- Pack your own snacks and a battery pack
- Given this really is an off the beaten track location, don’t expect to book things quickly or have everything run like clock work. Take extra time to plan and be relaxed about ‘island time’ when you get there
Air Vanuatu flies direct to Vanuatu from major airports on the west coast of Australia. Vanuatu is closer than many other pacific islands so its usually only a 2.5 to 3.5 hour flight making a quick escape easy. From the capital Port Vila, the domestic flight to Malekula is only 45 minutes and there are flights 3-4 times a week. Fly into Norsup airport in the north of Malekula.
Bumping around in a basic truck on rough roads to get there is the hardest part.