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For around 250,000 Ni-Van and visitors to Vanuatu the most efficient way to get around their nation of islands is to take the small, island-hopping aircraft that ply the archipelago. 






As you lie in the volcanic saltwater hot springs of Biap Beach you can see the island of Malekula to the south. Malakula, along with the islands of Ambrym and Paama make up the province of "Malampa" (pop. approx 30,000)


Ambrym is 150km across ocean from Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila. But planes don't fly every day. There aren't any large towns on Ambrym, though Craig Cove, where the airport is has a post office, bank and a few guest rooms for the tourists that come to trek to the volcano. The rest of the villages are similar to Biap, a cluster of palm huts and gardens.

Looking a little like a pyramid, the volcanic island is 50km wide with an elevation of 1300m. Juxtaposed to the thick jungle surrounding it, the summit is a massive 100sqkm desert-like black sand caldera with two, very active volcanic cones Benbow and Marum. It is the presence of these volcanoes that gives the island its reputation for 'black magic'. 

There are no paved roads on Ambrym but it isn't much of an issue as there are only a handful of cars. Traditionally, the villagers had little need to go far. In fact, they were so isolated from each other that at least 5 different language groups developed.