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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Lolopuepue to Ambanga/Duviara
|Lolowai to Ambanga/Duviara
|Lolowai to Longana (airport)
|Longana (airport) to Ambanga/Duviara
updated: March 2010 by Stephen.