Malfakhal to Melip
MALEKULA HIKING TRAIL

Distance: 6.65 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

This is again a lot of beach cruising.  Right when you leave Malfakhal you head down the beach.  It is very important to try to learn the tides here before attempting this hike.  Ask folks in Malfakhal before you start walking if it is possible to cross the Matanoi river.  If it is high tide or there has been a lot of rain, it is unadvisable to attempt this crossing.  We were on an incredibly lucky run of near zero rain on South Malekula and the river still reached about chest deep at times.  Also this area is nasty for sharks.  Especially near the mouth of the river.  There are many stories of dogs and villagers that do not end pleasantly.

It is tricky because if you just follow the beach you will come to the river and it doesn't look particularly daunting, but if the tide is going in or out it rips along very fast and it is DEEP.  An outgoing tide will carry you right to a large rock, which is said to be pocessed by the devil and attracts sharks.  I tried to swim across without a pack and still had a lot of trouble.  A better route is to cut off the beach before the river into the bush.  You will pass a few small homes, and then come to the river about a hundred meters from the ocean.  Then it is best to secure all your belongings.

There is a small sand bar in the middle of the river.  Walk out to this, then try to follow the river down a bit before crossing to the other side.  Near the bank it is deep again and there is a tree marking where to head to.  Then you follow the side of the river back to the sand beach.

We are going to attempt to persuade the villages near this river to put some canoes there for crossing purposes.  But right now there are none.

As the sand beach ends and turns back to rock there is a well maintained cut off that leads you to the village of Mbwat Bang.  Apparently there is a cultural center in this village, but there is no sign.  It has a lot of artifacts and items from Nasaras in the area.  We did not see it, but I'm sure if you asked you would be taken to it.

Then back to the beach.  This is in my opinion the best of the three.  It would be an ideal place to camp, but you should ask permission first.

You will again cut the corner of the coast at the end of this beach and head along a well maintained road to Melip.