Descending into Manaro Ngoru crater, Ambae, Vanuatu
Lake Manaro Ngoru, Ambae, Vanuatu
Lake Manaro Ngoru, Ambae, Vanuatu
West coast walk, Ambae, Vanuatu
West Ambae, Vanuatu
Palm, Ambae, Vanuatu
Bushwalking at Duviara, Ambae, Vanuatu
Walking on Ambae

Lake Vui Panorama, Ambae, Vanuatu

Visiting Ambae's Crater Lakes
Ambae is an active shield volcano with three crater lakes on the summit. Lake Manaro Ngoru ('ngoru' means dry) can flood during cyclones but this crater is generally dry. Lake Vui ('vui' means poison) is large, turquoise-blue and acidic. Lake Manaro Lakua ('lakua' means big), also called Manaro Gesa ('gesa' means green) is the largest lake. You can see gas bubbling from Lake Vui and there is a vent beside Manaro Lakua but these lakes are quiet most of the time. Updates on the volcano are available from the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

It's possible for fit and capable people to hike to one or more lakes and return in a single day. Camping on top is an option but it would be no fun carrying camping gear and food on the steeper routes. Also, it's cold and wet around 1400m above sea level. The driest months of the year in are June to October.

Western Route
A reasonable hiking track was cut from Nangweangwea up to the top of the island in 2004. There are plans to construct a bungalow and market this route to the crater lakes. Contact us if you know the current status.

The track from Nangweangwea is steep but fairly clean up to the top (3 hours) then not so clear to Lake Manaro Ngoru (1 hour) and across to Lake Vui (1 hour). The return walk takes about 10 hours from Ndui Ndui. You will need about two or three litres of water and lunch.

Northern Route
From Duviara Guesthouse, near Ambanga, there is an established trail to Lake Manaro Lakua. This northern approach is a gentler grade but longer distance. It takes about 4 hours up to Lake Manaro Lakua (3 hours down) or 5 hours to Lake Vui (4 hours down). The track to Vui is more difficult but allows you to see two lakes in one day. Guide fees are 2000 Vatu per day. There is also a 1000 Vatu per person kastom fee to pay for the lakes.

There's a campsite near Lake Manaro Lakua with water available from a nearby stream. Bring a tent and sleeping bag and don't expect to find any dry firewood. Duviara Guesthouse has tents.

The weather at Ambanga is unpredictable. You might have to set out in the rain and hope for clear weather when you reach the summit. If it's raining on top you will see nothing much but clouds and mist.

Duviara Conservation Area and the Manaro lakes won a Commeanwealth Youth Programme Silver Award in 2008.

Walking to get around Ambae
Ambae's coastline is too rugged for roads in some places. Walking is also an independent and free mode of transport.

West Ambae Walk
The break in the truck road on west Ambae is an option for travelling to the north of the island. The truck road is impassable from Sara Namundu village (about 2 hours walk from Ndui Ndui) and ends soon after. Then it's about two hours walking along the rugged coast, with some fine views along the way. Coming out on to the road on the other side, you might have to continue walking as there are few trucks before Lolopuepue. It's a long, full day walk from Ndui Ndui to Lolopuepue.

North Ambae Walking
The distances may be long but the walking is fairly easy on north Ambae and sometimes you can catch a passing truck.

North Ambae walking Time
Lolopuepue to Ambanga/Duviara 1.5
Lolowai to Ambanga/Duviara 3+
Lolowai to Longana (airport) 1.5
Longana (airport) to Ambanga/Duviara 4+

Last updated: March 2010 by Stephen.

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