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The Shepherd Islands are a group of islands lying between the larger islands of Epi and Efate, in the Shefa province. At 88 square kilometres (34 square miles) and a population of over 4000 people and is made up of the islands of Laika, Tongoa (Kuwaé), Buniga [mbining], Tongariki, Émaé (Mai), Makura (Emwae), Mataso (Matah), and Monument (Étarik). Émaé and Tongoa are the largest islands in the group.

The region includes two submarine volcanoes, Kuwae, and Makura.

Tongoa and Emae

Accommodations on the islands vary from village homestay to individual island bungalows, located on Emae and Tongoa.

Mataso and Makura

Both islands form an enticing backdrop to the beach on the south-eastern side of Emae. A chartered trip to either island can be organised for 5000 vatu, or you can travel with the locals for 500 vatu each way. But a word of caution, unless you're a hardened sailor looking for excitement, choose a day when the sea is calm.

Solar power is mostly used so charge your phone and camera before you travel.


There is phone coverage with both the TVL and Digicel networks, but at times, reception can be unreliable.

Travellers Tips 

• Take your insect repellent with you as mosquitoes are bound on the islands. Check with your doctor about taking anti-malaria medication.
• The usual outer island rules apply - dress appropriately. When visiting villages, ladies wear knee-length dresses (or sarongs over shorts). Don’t pack your bikini as acceptable ‘klos blong swim’ are shorts and a top.
• Snorkels will be useful as well as sunscreen, essential
• Pack a solar light or torch, a small padlock in case the door of your room or bungalow doesn’t have one, soap, toilet paper and a towel.
• Take your phone charger; you may find you can charge it in unexpected places.
• There are no ATMs in the outer islands, plan accordingly taking emergencies into account.