MALEKULA HIKING TRAIL
Distance: 7.00 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
The locals don't like doing this walk, and therefore...well I didn't like doing this walk. The trails are spotty. There is a ton of soft mud and mosquitos. And there just really isn't that much to see. However, if you want to walk the entire trail you really have no choice. Be sure to fill up your water bottle in Hokai! The elevation is pretty much flat the entire way.
If you aren't trying to walk the entire way this is a good area to skip. It is much more scenic cruising from Hokai to either Akamb Island or Farun on the mainland on a custom canoe. You could easily hire one in Hokai and you would get to pass two uninhabited islands on your way to Akamb which are good for snorkling their reefs.
The trail starts to get rough about a mile outside of Hokai. You are pretty much walking in areas where villagers plant water taro, and you will be walking through water and muck. Shoes are pretty much pointless.
Eventually you will come to a river and this you will have to swim at high tide, therefore it is good to take the tides into consideration before walking this section. At low tide you can pass in thigh deep water but you have to pass around the mouth of the river. There is (was) a stick placed next to a sandbar which guides you to where the shallow areas are. Just walk out to the sandbar and then diagonally back to the far shore. The sand is black but the visibility is good here.
If it is high tide you may just have to put your bag on the top of your head and go for it.
After this you will come to a small village of about five or so custom houses. You could persuade one to take you on a canoe if you are fed up with the walk.
You will then cross another small river. There is yellow calico marking both sides of the bank. This area is an old nasara and is taboo. There will be a large hill in front of you. To be respectful is best to take a wide path around the back of the hill inland. We could not mark the trail here out of respect for local custom, but if you walk wide around the hill and back towards the water you will be able to pick up the marks again. It is good to keep your voices down and if you are scared of the spirits you can take a branch of wild kava and hit yourself with it, which is supposed to keep them away.
The trail then ascends a small hill. If you miss the turn you will find yourself between sharp rocks and mangroves. This is a place for crabs. No joke, one time I walked here and could barely put my foot down without getting pinched. The trail on top is one hundred percent more enjoyable then dodging those little guys.
As we neared the end of the walk, our guide was nice enough to inform us that is the area is ever hit with a cyclone the trail we were walking on (and marked) would be irrelevant. Would have been good information to know before...
You will pass one more small village, then come to to the main passage for the Akamb canoes. Akamb is a very nice, densly populated island where villagers must paddle to the mainland everyday to get to their gardens. You can hop a ride on a canoe over there to stay, or head on to Farun which is 1.5 miles further. Akamb has a phone, so that is a plus. Also, Akamb had the strongest kava of any of the places we slept. (In my opinion. Some members of the komiti beg to differ.)