Malekula Map, Vanuatu
Malekula is Vanuatu's second largest island with coconut plantations down the east coast and thick bush almost everywhere else. The interior is rugged with hills climbing to 879 meters. The small islands off the northeast side of the island are well populated.
The 24,000 inhabitants speak 30 different languages. Northern Malekula is the traditional home of the Big Nambas people, all have whom have now adopted western dress and moved down to the coast. The Small Nambas of southern Malekula have retained more of their customary ways.
Lakatoro and Norsup in the north are the former British and French administrative centers. Between them is the island's main airport with daily flights to Efate and Espiritu Santo. Several flights a week also call at Lamap in the south, but Wintua Airstrip at South West Bay is only used for charters.
There are no resorts or hotels on Malekula although a couple of basic rest houses exist in Lakatoro and Norsup. Some of the outlying villages used by occasional tour groups from Port Vila also have guest houses.
Hiking is the main activity here with several good climbs into the hills directly behind Lakatoro. Recently a 72-kilometer route called the Kula Trail has been marked along the south coast between Lamap and Lembinwem.
Also of interest are Vao and Wala islands just off Malekula's northeast coast where the old dancing grounds are still used for traditional ceremonies.