Yakel Kastom Village + Blackmantown.
Observe the contrast between the Kastom of the past, with the bustle of today's marketplace.
Coming into Blackmantown.
Travelling along a coastal track, visitors explore the western coastline at the end of the Whitegrass plains, where small communities are interspersed with a number of churches, coconut palms and tropical bush. Wide beaches have collections of outrigger canoes, used primarily by local Tannese for fishing, pulled up to the beach fringes. Children are often seen playing in the waves at various spots, always with a smile and a cheeky wave.
Heading into Blackmantown, the central market is popular amongst local Ni-Vanuatu and also serves as a community hub where people get together to socialise, hear what is happening on the island and organise transport back to their villages. The marketplace has a vast array of both traditional staples such as yam, taro, banana, “kumula” and bush greens, along with introduced fruit and vegetables with citrus being prominent. Further interest is created with the market being situated on the coast near to the breakwater where the various cargo ferries offload goods that are sold in the local stores.
What's in a Name : Blackmantown
Unusual for the islands is the nature of the surrounding area of grocery, butchery and hardware stores, all owned and run by local Tannese. The hum of the commercial area has an atmosphere that is uniquely Ni-Vanuatu, with no Chinese or “outsider” stores present. In fact, the island itself is relatively devoid of anyone outside of the island itself, with outsiders consisting mainly of a very small number of Australian, New Zealand, and French missionaries and accommodation management. While Tannese are affable, hospitable and very interested in the outside world, they are also proud of their island with the name “Blackmantown” being coined by the Tannese themselves.
Yakel Kastom Village.
While there is a small number of “kastom” villages, the original and foremost is located at Yakel located in the lower slopes surrounding the earlier volcanic mountains to the south-east of the island. Kastom villages that are open for tourism provide a glimpse of how Melanesian life was lived not so long ago, and much of the customs and traditions on display are still retained in varying degrees by most villages on Tanna today. The setting and slices of life presented at Yakel remain true and authentically represent these parts of kastom that are valued by Tannese. It is of note, however, that western influence has permeated most regions of the island in some form or another and most villages now live their lives in a duality of “worlds”. Almost all villagers own mobile phones and wear western clothes, and so today, traditional outfits seen in Kastom villages are normally reserved for ceremonies and more formal occasions.
The Importance of Yakel.
The trip to Yakel takes approximately 20 minutes from Blackmantown, and the village itself is centred on a large flat formal meeting area or Nakamal. Yakel has come to the attention of the media back in time as the area surrounding it is the home of the Prince Philip Cargo Cult which still has a small following. It is also the location of the four Tannese travellers that were the centre of the UK television series “Meet the Natives”, centred around the Melanesian tribesmen’s thoughts regarding the modernity that they were exposed to while visiting various families in England, especially how modern UK life contrasted with their own customs and culture. More recently, the village was the setting for the widely acclaimed independent movie “Tanna” which delved into the generational conflict that occurs within communities that observe strict kastom rules.
Contrasts of Island Life.
The tour provides visitors with insights into the contrasts in the way Tannese live, from the distinctly traditional displays found in Kastom villages, through to the more modern remote island adaption to outside influences.
Yakel Kastom Village + Blackmantown Tour Information.
Whitegrass Zone • Pick-up + Drop-off
|Price Details||Min 2 Adults||Children|
|AUD 97||AUD 20|
|AUD 25||AUD 5|
Middlebush Zone • Pick-up + Drop-off
|Price Details||Min 2 Adults||Children|
|AUD 126||AUD 20|
|AUD 32||AUD 5|
Let Us Help You.
See & Do Trips provide completely costed itineraries, which will take much of the planning worry out of your time on Tanna. Overall, they may also be a more economical proposition.
The duration of the tour takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on weather, and road conditions.
Morning or Afternoon Tours are available.
The Yakel Kastom village + Blackmantown Tour can either be commenced first thing in the morning (pickup at 8.30 am from Whitegrass Zone), carrying through until after mid-day, or afternoon (pickup at 11.30 am from Whitegrass Zone) and continuing over the course of the afternoon.
Pickup and Dropoff from Accommodation.
Costs includes pickup and drop-off from accommodation on either Whitegrass or Middlebush Zones.
Fitness and Health Levels.
The tour is designed for most people.
The Tour includes transport to and from accommodation. Transport to Blackmantown and Yakel Kastom Village, along with entrance fees.
What to Bring.
Firstly, as always, water should be taken. As always, participants should dress to suit the weather. It is recommended that sunscreen is taken along with a cap or hat when walking along the beach.
A suitable camera or mobile phone to take pictures of the journey.
The Yakel Kastom Village + Blackmantown Tour requires a minimum number of two(2) people for it to proceed.
Single travellers are able to be a part of tours that are proceeding, or where more than one single shows interest for a specific date, then we are able to make up minimum numbers accordingly. Single travellers should contact us directly through our inquiry form to organise.
Booking Cut-Off Period.
Online bookings are accepted up to 36 hours prior to the scheduled tour date under consideration. For example, a cut-off of online bookings occurs at midnight on Wednesday night for a tour commencing at lunchtime on the following Friday.
Where bookings are wanted to be made closer than 36 hours to the scheduled tour, these should be requested through our inquiry form. Such late bookings may or may not be possible and are dependent on communications on the island amongst other factors.
Best Tour Days.
Generally the biggest market days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,and these are the best days to see the markets, however smaller markets have commenced on tuesdays and thursdays.
Bookings : Deposits and Final Payments.
All bookings can be confirmed with the payment of a booking Deposit or alternatively bookings can be paid in Full. Payments can be made by Bank Transfer (cleared funds) or Credit Card.
On payment of a deposit customers receive a booking acknowledgement, including a booking statement of all payments made and due. The remaining Final Payment shall be received no later than fourteen(14) days prior to the day of the booking. Once the Final Payment is received, customers are sent their Formal Documents in respect to their bookings
Alternatively, customers can choose to make Full Payment at the time of booking, and will be issued their Formal Documents immediately.
Prices are Contingent on Entrance Fees at 1st April.
Our Prices are made up from a number of items, attraction entrance fees included.
In recent years, the Mt Yasur Volcano administration has taken to increase entrance fees at extremely short notice, effective at 1st April year to year. Other Kastom owned attractions have subsequently followed suit, including the Blue Cave, and its associated boat trip. Consequently, our costs are "Contingent", and any differential in entrance fees + boat trip, either side of 1st April are payable as an extra to the booking.
Increases due to "Contingent" entrance fees affect very few people, and are only relevant to bookings that are made prior to 1st April for a scheduled date occurring after 1st April. The majority of bookings are made after 1st April and are not affected in any way.
Full Terms and Conditions of Making a Booking.
Full Terms and Conditions regarding making a booking with Vanuatu Traveller are available here and all customers should take the time read and be comfortable with them. Should you have any questions please contact us via the contact form.