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Volcanoes and Cultures - Adventures in the South Sea

- 15 days volcano and photo expedition to Ambrym and Yasur volcanoes, Vanuatu -

"I can recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see, hear, feel, and smell the furious boiling lava of Vanuatu" (Andrew M., Australia)
Glow from Ambrym volcano
Glow from Ambrym volcano
Strombolian activity of Yasur
Strombolian activity of Yasur
Beach on Ambrym (Photo: Marco Fulle)
Beach on Ambrym (Photo: Marco Fulle)
The active vents in Benbow crater (Ambrym volcano)
The active vents in Benbow crater (Ambrym volcano)
Traditional food in Lalinda (Ambrym)
Traditional food in Lalinda (Ambrym)
Group at Yasur volcano
Group at Yasur volcano
Port Resolution beach break
Port Resolution beach break
Strombolian activity at Yasur volcano
Strombolian activity at Yasur volcano
Yashmin at the lava lake of Marum (Ambrym)
Yashmin at the lava lake of Marum (Ambrym)
At the Marum crater at night (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
At the Marum crater at night (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Group at a guesthouse in Tanna Island (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Group at a guesthouse in Tanna Island (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Custom dance (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Custom dance (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Group walking through the Ambrym caldera (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Group walking through the Ambrym caldera (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Marum lava lake (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Marum lava lake (photo: Yashmin Chebli)
Are you ready for adventure?
The contrast between unspoiled rain-forest, coconut palm beaches, primitive culture and moon-like landscapes surrounding lava-spitting volcanoes could not be bigger: join us on an expedition to the two most active volcanoes of Vanuatu: Ambrym and Yasur.
The expedition is also an immersion into the diverse and rich traditional culture of the islands, the daily life in remote jungle villages where you meet the very hospitable and welcoming people of Vanuatu.
A great mix of adventure, breathtaking landscapes, unspoiled tropical beaches, friendly people and exotic culture awaits you.
  • Multiple days (4 days each) for close observation of the active volcanoes Ambrym and Yasur
  • Option to ascent Yasur every morning / every night (6-7 times total) included
  • Option to abseil into Bembow crater on Ambrym
  • Charter flight Port Vila to Ambrym with scenic rounds over Lopevi and Ambrym volcano for aerial photography
  • Breathtaking moonscapes, unspoiled rainforests, pristine beaches
  • Intense experience of traditional life and culture of Vanuatu
  • Delicious food (rich buffets with roasted pig and chicken, vegetables, tropical fruits etc)
  • Custom dances and local music
  • Small groups
  • Accompanying geologist/volcanologist expert in Vanuatu's volcanoes

Ambrym + Tanna 15 days (normal itinerary)

Note:
Due to the expedition character and the infrastructure of the destination, changes in the exact itinerary on location might be necessary (e.g. due to weather conditions, changes in domestic flight schedules etc.)
Day 1: Arrival on Vanuatu (Port Vila, Efate Island)
Arrival at the Airport of Port Vila & transfer to Port Vila town.
Acc.: mid-class hotel in Port Vila (D)
Day 2: Efate - Ambrym (charter flight with sightseeing)
Morning departure from Efate (Port Vila) to Ambrym (chartered plane) with scenic flight time over Lopevi volcano and the Ambrym caldera.
Meeting with the exceptional family of your guide and transfer in the village with one stop to the hot springs of sesivi with a refreshment at the ocean shore. Welcome ceremony. Afternoon & evening to discover the village.
Acc.: simple village guesthouse (B, L, D)
Day 3: Ascend into the caldera - Marum volcano
Hike and ascent into the caldera. Installation of the base camp, picnic lunch with traditional food and hike to discover Marum volcano.
Acc.: base camp inside the caldera (B, L, D)
Day 4: Benbow volcano
Expedition to the crater of Benbow with its usually active lava lakes. Descend (abseiling) into its crater optional, conditions permitting (trained guides assist you with professional equipment). Return to the base camp in the evening.
Acc.: as before (camp) (B, L, D)
Day 5-6: Marum & Benbow - spare day in the caldera
2 more days in the Ambrym caldera to discover Marum and Benbow inside the large Ambrym caldera in order to maximize photo / video opportunities.
Acc.: as before (camp) (B, L, D)
Day 7: Crossing of the caldera - descend to Endu
Cross the entire caldera and descend to the east coast of the island to the charming and unspoiled village of Endu on the east coast, where you'll be welcomed with lots of smiles. A welcome ceremony and a wonderful local dinnerwait for you.
Acc.: simple, but charming family-run guesthouse (B, L, D)
Day 8-9: Culture & Traditions of Endu
Two full days to discover the traditional culture and life of the village: visit the schools, see dances, magic, medicine, local crafts and assist the preparation of the pig - the highest of ceremonial meals.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 10: Endu - Lopevi volcano and lava tubes - flight back to Port Vila
Transfer early morning to Toak or Penapo village; views of Lopevi stratovolcano. Discover the famous tradition and art of sand-drawing of Toak, a declared Unesco immaterial heritage.
On the way to the airport, visit lava tubes in Penapo; refreshment and flight back to Port Vila. After transfer to the previous hotel, group dinner in a seaside restaurant.
Acc.: hotel in Port Vila as on D1 (B, L, D)
Day 11: Flight to Tanna - Transfer to Yasur volcano
In the morning, we fly to Tanna island. A 4WD pick-up brings us accross the island to a simple, but charming guesthouse directly at the feet of Mt. Yasur volcano. After lunch, we drive and hike to Yasur volcano to enjoy its spectacular volcanic activity from close, as long as we wish...
Acc.: guesthouse on Tanna (B, L, D)
Day 12: Day-trip to Port Resolution beach & Yasur volcano
Relaxing day-trip to Port Resolution combined with a magnificent lunch on one of the world's most beautiful beaches... Visit of Yasur volcano in the evening/night.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 13: Custom dances of Imao - John Frum village - Yasur
Optional early morning / sunrise excursion to Yasur volcano. Walk to the villages of Imao to see unique custom dances with an
amazing panoramic view on Yasur volcano.
After lunch, transfer to the village of John Frum: meeting (and luch) with village chief; side-trip to Sulfur Bay at the foot of Yasur to bathe in hot springs, visit of the local museum dedicated to the memory of John Frum.

If this falls on Friday, option to assist the all-night long dancing celebrations. Option to visit Yasur volcano again in the evening / night.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 14: Flight Tanna - Port Vila, free afternoon
Optional morning visit to Yasur volcano.
Transfer to airport, flight Tanna - Port Vila. Transfer to the hotel, free lunch & afternoon. Farewell dinner at the seafront (not included).
Acc.: hotel in Port Vila as on D1 (B)
Day 15: End of tour
Transfer to airport or own extension (recommended: 1-day tour on Efate).
Acc.: none (B)

14 days itinerary on tours with Ulla Lohmann or Basti Hofmann

Note:
The 14-days version guided by Ulla or Basti (or both) is very similar to our 15 days version, but normally does not include a charter flight and has one day less on Ambrym. Due to the expedition character and the infrastructure of the destination, changes in the exact itinerary on location might be necessary (e.g. due to weather conditions, changes in domestic flight schedules etc.)
Day 1: Arrival in Port Vila
Airport pick-up and transfer to hotel. Group dinner.
Acc.: hotel (D)
Day 2: Flight from Port Vila to Ambrym Island
Flight to Ambrym, drive to Lalinda village and camp in village.
Acc.: B, L, D
Day 3: Hike into the Ambrym caldera
Hike with porters into the caldera of Ambrym, set up base camp.
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 4: Marum lava lake
Hike to Marum crater and observe its active lava lake.
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 5: Benbow crater's lava lake
Hike to Benbow and abseil (no experience required) into Benbow crater to observe its active lava lake from close (conditions permitting).
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 6: Spare day in caldera
Spare day, if not needed extra optional activities in the caldera, e.g. a small lava tube, a recent flow, a palm forest etc
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 7: Traverse of the caldera, descend to coast
We traverse the caldera by foot though spectacular landscape and descend on the other side of the island.
We overnight in the village near the beach.
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 8: Spare day: local customs and village culture
Relaxing spare day to allow for bad weather and to experience the real village life.
Acc.: camp (B, L, D)
Day 9: Ambrym - Port Vila - Tanna - Yasur volcano
Flight via Port Vila to Tanna, transfer to bungalows near Yasur volcano. Volcano visit in the evening: fireworks almost guaranteed!
Acc.: simple bungalows (B, L, D)
Day 10: Port Resolution beach & Yasur volcano
Day on the beautiful Port Resolution beach, evening at the volcano.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 11: Custom village - Yasur volcano
Visit of a custom village, traditional dances and ceremonies. In the evening visit of Yasur volcano.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 12: Ash plane, John Frum village & Yasur
Hike through the Ash Plane, and observations of its geological features. Continuation to the custom village of John Frum (together 1,5 hours): A tribe, which prays to the Americans as gods.
Two options: stay the evening/night in the village to participate in ceremonies (if available), or visit the volcano again in the evening / night.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 13: Flight Tanna - Port Vila, free afternoon
Optional morning visit to Yasur volcano.
Transfer to airport, flight Tanna - Port Vila. Transfer to the hotel, free lunch & afternoon. Farewell dinner at the seafront (not included).
Acc.: hotel in Port Vila as on D1 (B)
Day 14: End of tour
Transfer to airport or own extension (recommended: 1-day tour on Efate).
Acc.: none (B)
Tour code: VAN_SPV
Tour type: Volcano expedition: photography - active volcanoes - nature & culture
Difficulty: Moderate
Group size: 6-12
Duration: 14 or 15 days

Dates:

30 Oct - 12 Nov 2017
20 May - 3 Jun 2018
22 Jul - 5 Aug 2018
23 Sep - 7 Oct 2018

Price (p.p.): 3290 €  ? 

Included:

  • All transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Charter flight Port Vila to Ambrym with scenic rounds over Lopevi and Ambrym volcanoes (great for aerial shots!) (on 15-days version only)
  • Domestic flights between Efate, Ambrym and Tanna
  • Full board on Vanuatu (including table water) except a few meals as specified
  • Accommodation in guesthouses, hotels and camping
  • Porters, camp hands and local guides
  • Camp kitchen
  • Volcanologist guide / expedition organizer (Yashmin Chebli, Ulla Lohmann or Bast Hofmann)

Tour guide:

The expedition will be accompanied either by team volcanologist Yashmin Chebli, National Geographic photographer and adventurer Ulla Lohmann or videographer and climbing instructor Basti Hofmann.
Yashmin Chebli has a university degree in geology and has been working as specialist volcano tour guide with focus on Vanuatu and Hawai'i for more than 15 years. Website: www.vanuatu-expedition.com (photos) and Youtube channel!
Ulla Lohmann - internationally renowned photo journalist, adventure and expedition leader. Ulla's work also includes documentary films & articles for ARTE, GEO, National Geographic and others, photography and climbing workshops in the Alps, National Geographic Student expeditions in Australia and more. Ulla's specialty areas are the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea. Website: ullalohmann.com
Basti Hofmann is Alpine climbing instructor, logistics manager and studied geologist with over 20 years of experience and passionate photo- and videographer (macro and drone photography) with numerous assignments for National Geographic, BBC, Terra X, ZDF and others. Website: bastihofmann.com/.com
On many tours, Ulla and Basti work together.
Yashmin Chebli explaining a pumice deposit

Basti Hofmann and Ulla Lohmann working with a drone

Arrival info:

The tour starts and ends in the capital Port Vila on Efate Island where international flights arrive (usually from Brisbane or Sydney in Australia or via Aukland New Zealand). Participants normally arrange their own flight tickets, but on request we can help with that.

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