Sakao Garden Island Adventure
Let us take you on an adventure on our garden island of Sakao, set aside for forests and gardens. No one lives here, but we all visit regularly to tend to our gardens and cut coprah. The tour begins with a speedboat ride to a sandy beach on the nearest side of the island.
From here you start a two hour forest and garden walk. Your guides will share with you their horticulture knowledge as they show you their gardens and take you up into the rainforests that supply them with so many resources. Snacks on fruits and nuts that your guides gather as you walk.
The walk then drops down from the rainforest to the beautiful white sand beach “Bognar”. Here a special lunch awaits you. A whole chicken is cooked in its own juices and coconut cream in the middle of a yam ”laplap”, roasted hot volcanic stones. This special dish is usually reserved for weddings and other special occasions.
After lunch, your guides take you to snorkelling on the reef close to the shore and show you the rich diversity of the marine life surrounding Sakao. There’s also the chance to explore the old village here on the beach. Or you can choose to relax under the trees and recharge with a refreshing coconut juice. Return to the main island of Uleveo (Maskelyne) by speed boat in the afternoon.
Price increases to 1,000VT every extra person in groups with more than two.
7,500VT - 1 person
9,500VT - 2 persons
10,500VT - 3 persons
11,500VT - 4 persons
12,500VT - 5 persons
Note: for yachts moored at Sakao or Sangalai with their own dingy transport, substract 2,500VT from total price. For guests wishing to use a canoe instead of a speedboat, take off 1,500VT from the total price.
Island Paddle Circuit
Take a fibreglass catamaran canoe or a traditional dugout sail canoe (depending on the numbers in your group) around the entire island.
View the extensive mangrove islands that make Maskelyne so rich in marine life. Pass locals heading to the gardens in their dugout sail canoes and take in amazing views of the islands of Epi, Paama and the active volcanoes of Lopevi and Ambrym.
This tour includes fees into two of the islands most special attractions: Ringi TeSuh giant clam garden conservation area and a turtle pool where the villagers of Pellongk have the exclusive right to sing to the turtles. Your guide sings out in his local language and the turtles magically appear on the surface!
This tour also includes a visit to the island of Khuneveo, where a 1965 earthquake and tsunami permanently raised the sea level and forced the settlement to evacuate to the main island. Ruins of the old village can be seen above and below the high tide mark.
After the paddle, lunch is served in Pellongk village in a special restaurant beside a mangrove pool.
4,150VT - 1 person
7,000VT - 2 persons
9,850VT - 3 persons
12,700VT - 4 persons
(Add 2,850VT for extra person)
Price includes: guide, lunch, snacks, entry to Ringi Te Suh Marine Reserves, entry to the turtle pool, village tour of Pellongk.
Maskelynes Custom Dances
With their colourful costume displays, captivating songs and traditional dance styles, Melanesian custom dances are a spectacle to behold.
Many of the traditional songs and dances on the Maskelyne Islands are about long canoe journeys or fishng expeditions and many dance with a decorated canoe paddle. Each dance tells a story about the land, the sea and its people.
Usually about 15 men take part, dancing in traditional dancing grounds in the forest. Dances go for about 20 to 30 minutes after which a guide can explain the story of the dance and answer any questions.
Price: 15,000VT flat rate (for groups of more than 15 - 1,000VT per person)
Island walkabout Circuit
This walking tour to the three villages of the island is a good introduction to see what life is like on the Maskelynes and meet the friendly locals and introduce yourself to the chiefs. The tour goes for approximately 2 hours.
Visit the three villages of the island and chat with the locals, see the school, the villages churches, the health clinic, the Palm Project soap factory and the Women’s Resource Centre.
Your guide can introduce you to the village chiefs and share with you their stories about life on the island.
The Palm Project Soap factory makes pure organic coconut from extracting the oil of the coconuts grown on the island. They also make body lotion, shampoo and conditioner; remember to carry some money with you if you think you may like to buy some of their products.
Prices: 1,000VT - per person
1,500VT - for groups
Maskelyne Islands Custom & Culture Tour
Spend half a day experiencing the culture and customs of the Maskelyne Islander people on this cultural tour of the island.
Learn about traditional cooking methods and watch local women prepare a special chicken dish for you that is roasted inside leaf packages and covered in hot volcanic rocks. Visit the Women’s Resource Centre and learn how to make traditional thatch roofing from sticks and leaves gathered from the forest.
The women of the Maskelynes are renowned mat weavers and inside the centre they will happily share their traditional skills and knowledge with you. If you want you can try your hand at weaving and make you own small souvenir mat to take home with you.
Your guides will then take you to their gardens beyond the forest on the edge of the village. Here you will learn about traditional horticulture techniques such as yam planting and digging and meet some children practicing the traditional art of pigeon trapping.
Walk through Lutes village to a secluded sandy beach for sand drawing and custom dance demonstrations. Then return to the anchorage at Sangalai for a special traditional lunch, usually only eten at weddings and other special occasions.
Price: 22,000VT flat rate for groups (without Custom Dance: 9,500VT)
Two trained tour guides, cultural demonstrations, custom dance, lunch and refreshments. Best for larger groups of 5 or more, but can be arranged for smaller groups.
Note: at least 12 hour notice is required to arrange this tour.
Avohk Island Adventures
The islands of Avohk are just magic. This tour visits three islands within the group and includes snorkelling, short walks, a village tour and a trip to the school and gardens.
Start on Bagetelle island, a tiny island with no inhabitants, just sand beaches, forest and historic ruins left behind by French traders.
From Bagatelle head out to a Marine Protected Area for some great snorkelling amongst colourful tropical fish, giant clams and many different varieties of hard and soft corals. The protected area was declared in 2005 by the chief of Avohk and covers the forested hills of the mainland, the mangroves and the sea grass beds and fringing reef.
After snorkelling, we paddle over the main island of Avohk where a local “laplap” feast awaits you. Manioc roots are grated, combined with coconut milk and spread out on large leaves. Pieces of fresh fish are added and the “laplap” is covered in island cabbage leaves. It’s roasted in a ground oven covered in hot volcanic rocks; when ready it’s covered in thick coconut cream and served.
After lunch, we go for a walk around the village, look at traditional houses, cooking methods and dugout canoes. Your guides explain how they live and you can chat to the friendly locals and children.
Then we paddle the canoe over the small island of “Urkake” where the children go to school. Only the teachers live here and the children paddle across everyday. Here your guides will take you to their gardens and show you the huge variety of plants they use and why Ni-Vanuatu people are so connected to nature.
Prices increase 1,500VT every extra person:
1 person 6,000VT
2 persons 7,500VT
3 persons 8,500VT
4 persons 9,500VT
(Yachts moored at Avohk or with their own transport substract 2,500VT)
"Ringi Te Suh" Giant Clam Garden
Ringi Te Suh” in the local language of the Maskelyne people literally means “leave it alone” or “live it to multiply”. This is precisely what the villagers of Pellongk have been doing since this marine protected area and giant clam garden was established in 1991. The project was the idea of the Enrel family who wanted to preserve endangered clam species whose numbers have been greatly reduced over the last few decades and to create more environmental awareness amongst the community. They set aside the area and paid villagers to collect clams and plant them inside the reserve, where they have grown and multi[lied in a protected environment. The reserve is well known throughout Vanuatu as a unique example of successful community driven conservation.
This tour is guided by the Enrel family who will explain the unique history of Ringi Te Suh. The tour starts in Pellongk village where you will be taken to the reserve in an outrigger canoe. Snorkel over the giant clams as the colours shimmer in the sunlight, and open and close as you pass over them. Enjoy refreshments of local fruits and drinking coconuts in the shade of the constructed shelter and trees that have colonised the artificial island of the reserve.
Costs: 1,200VT per person, includes guide, refreshments, entry to reserve.
Lunch can be arranged in Pellongk for 500VT per person.
Ask your host or guide to take you out on a canoe to catch fish for your dinner on a land line.
Snorkelling and spearfishing:
Take a canoe to the outer reef to spectacular coral gardens and deep drop offs, the water is always clear, making it great for spearfishing. Watch your guide spear your dinner or have a roast fish picnic lunch on a nearby island.
Ask your host or guide if you can go to their garden and harvest some veggies for dinner.
Kava with the locals:
You ar,e welcome at the kava bars in the villages, just ask your guide or host and they’ll take you out for a shell or two of South Malekula’s finest, made by a unique method of grinding that reduces the taste but increases the effect.
Note: for travellers on a budget, talk to your guides about the above activities.