Tanna

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Vanuatu Tanna

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Introduction

Tanna is an island in Tafea Province of Vanuatu.

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Geography

It is 40 kilometres long and 19 kilometres wide, with a total area of 550 square kilometres. Its highest point is the 1,084-metre summit of Mount Tukosmera in the south of the island. Siwi Lake was located in the east, northeast of the peak, close to the coast until mid April 2000 when following unusually heavy rain, the lake burst down the valley into Sulphur Bay, destroying the village with no loss of life. Mount Yasur is an accessible active volcano which is located on the southeast coast.

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Sights and Activities

  • Yasur Volcano

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Events and Festivals

  • John Frum Day - John Frum is a mythical figure associated with a cargo cult which arose on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Usually depicted as a WWII soldier from the US, John Frum is said to bring wealth and prosperity to those who believe in him. Every year, usually in March, a military parade is held in his honor, signifying that this non-violent cult is still quite active today.
  • Toka ceremony

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Weather

Tanna has a warm and humid tropical climate with breezes bringing some relief of the stiffling heat during the afternoon. Temperatures typically are between 23 °C at night and around 30 °C to 32 °C during the day. The rainy season lasts from November to April with occasionaly typhoons hitting the islands. The water temperature ranges from 22 °C in winter to 28 °C in the summer. Cool between April and September, the days become hotter and more humid starting in October. South easterly trade winds occur from May to October. Vanuatu has a long rainy season, with significant rainfall usually occurring almost every month. The wettest and hottest months are December through to April, which also constitute the cyclone season. The driest months are June through November.

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Getting There

By Plane

Whitegrass Airport (TAH) offers flights with Air Vanuatu to/from Anatom, Aniwa, Dillon's Bay, Futuna, Ipota and Port Vila, and with Unity Airlines to/from Port Vila.

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Eat

Lap Lap

The traditional dish which you will most likely be offered once during your stay is a root vegetable cake called lap lap. Essentially this is either manioc (cassava), sweet potato, taro or yam shaved into the middle of a banana leaf with island cabbage and sometimes a chicken wing on top. This is all wrapped up into a flat package and then cooked in hot stones underground till it all melts together into a cake.

Tuluk

Tuluk is a variation of lap lap with the cake rolled into a cylinder with meat in the middle. It tastes a lot like a sausage roll. You can find these again in the market (usually from mele village people) but they will be served from foam boxes to keep them warm.

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Drink

Kava

Kava is a local drink, made from the roots of the plant Piper methysticum, a type of pepper. Kava is intoxicating, but not like alcohol. Its effects are sedative. Some travellers have experienced a hangover from its consumption. Kava is consumed in private homes and in local venues called Nakamal. Some of the resorts also offer kava on occasion for travellers to try. Kava is served in a "shell" or small bowl. Drink the whole shell-ful down steadily, then spit. It's handy to have a soft drink on hand to rinse with afterwards, as the taste of kava is strong and not very pleasant. It is worth noting that the kava available in Vanuatu is generally a much stronger variety than the kava found in other Pacific islands such as Fiji, where it is comparatively mild. Four or five large shells in a typical kava bar will leave the inexperienced drinker reeling (or worse) after a couple of hours, and it can take a day to recover. Good advice to experience kava as pleasantly as possible is to go with an experienced drinker and follow their lead, take the small shells, and stop after an hour and a half. It's quite easy to find a local kava drinking buddy, just ask around your hotel and you'll find volunteers - maybe at the cost of a shell or two. Kava bars (or Nakamals) are normally dark places with very dim or no lighting at all. This is because bright lights and kava intoxication do not go together well - so be careful with flash photography, which may not be received very well in such venues.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 11:39 on Jul 17, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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