Tanna Adventures has the extremely popular 'Kastom' walk to Black Magic

Tanna - Adventures .... Vanuatu Traveller feet logo

A tropical travel experience of untouched scenic beauty & cultural insight.

Traditional dancers with Tanna Adventures Painted girl in Kastom Colours with Tanna adventures

Tour 1 - The Classic Mount Yasur Trip.

Tour 2 - Port Resolution / Shark Bay Trip.

Tour 3 - Mt Yasur Volcano - "THE BIG DAY OUT"

Tour 4 - Blue Cave Trip.

Tour 5 - BlackManTown / Giant Banyan Trip.

Walk 1 - Second (Lenuingao) Waterfall & Beach Walk

Walk 2 - 'Kastom' Trails Walk to Esso's.

Walk 3 - 'Kastom' Trails Walk to Black Magic.

Walk 4 - First (Lenuanatuaiu) Waterfall Walk.

Walk 5 - Central Highlands River Pools & Cascades.


Home Page >> Great Island Tours & Inspring Walks >>Walk 3 - 'Kastom' Walk to Black Magic.

By Greg Watt avid traveller and author of travel websites and blogs. Read Greg's thoughts on Vanuatu Travel at www.vanuatutraveller.com & on 'Real Travel', travelling, and World Destinations at www.traveller-info.com

Tanna - Adventures, a Travel Experience

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Tanna adventures-Coffee logo ...... 'KASTOM' WALKS.


Because Tanna Island is populated fairly uniformly over its entire area, it has developed 'Kastoms' which are unique. Let Esso take you on a 'Kastom walk' around his neighbourhood, taking three to four hours. You won't see a tourist organized village, but a number of normal villages going about their normal lives, and be introduced to the real 'Man-Tanna'.

'Kastom' tracks are traditional tracks away from the normal roads which have connected villages forever. Anything that can be viewed from such tracks, is free for travellers to satisfy their immediate needs. Bananas, tropical fruit, sugar cane, herbs and vegetables are grown in abundance along the sides of the tracks.


Esso getting sugar can on a kastom walk for Tanna Adventures


Esso is especially talented at introducing you to the peoples of each village and providing you with the insight into lap-lap and other cooking, village ways and protocol.

You will come back buzzing with the experience, and an appreciation that you are truely one of the lucky few. The trek covers a variety of terrain including steep hills.





Tanna Adventures-Coffee logo ... TANNA ISLAND BLACK MAGIC

Over the years 'black magic' has been an integral part, if not secretive part of Ni-Vanuatuan customs. 'Kastom' can be highly developed (and still is on Tanna Island), placing amongst other things a code of conduct, and a set of rules which affect all aspects of life.

On a personal level, if a person feels so restricted from doing or achieving something, they might resort to 'black magic' to provide a pathway that clears all obstacles. That may have involved trickery through to poison.

At a tribal level, a weaker tribe may have invoked 'black magic' to combat a stronger and dominating tribe over a dispute. Invariably, the accusation of using 'black magic' led to terrible retribution.

Much of the darker side of black magic was stamped out by the early christian missionaries, but most people on Tanna develop a balance of belief that allows Christian, Kastom, a little bit of black magic, and even a smattering of 'Jon Frum' to happily coexist together.

Charles Montgomery in his book "The Shark God : Encounters with Myth and Magic in the South pacific" calls this fusional cosmology where all are able to sit side by side. Therefore it would not be unusual for Anglicans who profess Christianity in one breath, to announce their ambitions to become flying foxes and owls in the next, all with a nod and a wink from the local clergy.

The Show "Black Magic" does not dwell on the darker side of Black magic, but instead highlights what outsiders would natural magic. The Show is often funny, with a number of awesome surprises, and moves at a fairly quick pace.


















Inspiring Walk 3 - 'Kastom' Walk to Black Magic.

[Updated 12th April 2017]

Kastom Walk-A collection of Images from tanna Adventures

The best way to understand 'kastom' trails, culture and the spiritual side of Tanna Island life .......

One of the popular walks to do, is the kastom walk to Black Magic, which combines two aspects of life on Tanna Island - namely 'Kastom Trails', and 'Kastom Rituals'.

Both have developed due to the consequences of their inability in past history to resolve conflict and solve disputes, often resulting in widespread local wars and wholesale killings. At some point the population determined that they had to find another way to relate to each other, and solve social problems. The rules of 'kastom' were developed and are still strongly followed today, because the consequences of the past are still remembered.

'Kastom' has been so successful that it can claim to be a major contributor to Ni-Vanuatuan people being one of the friendliest peoples in the world.

Kastom trails provide a demarcation of land ownership between villages - neutral ground that is sacrosanct to all. For that reason protocols have developed for walking on the trails, entering villages and Nakamals. For travellers, walking the trails provides a non touristy peek into Tannese life, at is simply not available otherwise.

Similarly, very few outsiders get to see and experience rituals that are traditionally reserved and kept secret for men. Magic provides a glimpse of warriors & war, while also providing a glimpse of magic & mystic that little is spoken about openly.

Other islands of Vanuatu are renowned for their magic, but it is little understood that substantial ritual magic was also present on Tanna Island.

While Black Magic is a show, you would not think it and it is done with humour and most will leave with a smile on their face. For this reason we always try to program this walk on the last day for our itineraries.

Travel Tour Overview from Esso's Accommodation :

Walkers leave from The Tanna Adventures restaurant after breakfast down the only steepish section of the walk to the deep valley containing the creek which heads down to Lenuanatuaiu waterfall. Travellers then head along the creek for a short distance, before connecting onto one of the 'Kastom' trails.

The 'Kastom' walk from Esso's to "Black Magic" takes about three hours and generally goes over easy walking tracks. The 'Kastom walk itself is not a touristy excursion, but a walk through real life and you get to go through about three or four villages and generally experience whatever is going on there ( from just another day, through to a funeral, or a feast or celebration).

'Black magic" is a show, you would not think it ,and is quite surprising. I will not say too much about it as it will spoil it .

Added Overview Travelling from the Whitegrass Coast :

• If the tour is taken from any of the accommodation along the whitegrass coast, then approximately 1 hour can be added to the tour time (half an hour each way).

Kastom Walk to Black Magic - Travel Timeframe:

• Approximate timeframe is four to five hours.

• Approximate walk time for the Kastom walk is three to three and a half hours.

• The Black Magic show takes about 1 hour.

• the pickup and drive back to Esso's is about 20 minutes.

Tanna Adventures - 4wd along the many dirt roads of Tanna
Tanna Adventures- boys in a dug out canoe
Tanna Adventures Accommodation - waves on wild black sand beach

Tanna adventures-Coffee logo Ways to Book Tanna Island Tours & Walks.

Check out our 'no obligation' Personalized Booking Service which will give you a number of personalized options from us, to suit your requirements. Click the buttom below to be taken to our booking queries page.

Check Out Our Personalized Booking Service

If you would like to know about our booking process, and all the options which are available to you - have a look at our Making a Booking Guide.

Tanna adventures-Coffee logo Walk Rates - Kastom Walk to Black Magic.

Tour rates are in Vanuatu Vatu for the following Participant numbers. You will pay the rate in Vatu as shown - the displayed amount in AU$ is indiicative (* see below) and the actual rate will be based on the exchange rate at the time of booking.

Please note that the Single Participant rate applies if there is only one person on the walk ( person must be over 18 yrs old). If a single traveller does the tour when there are other Participants then the rate will reduce to that of the two or more Participant rate.

• ONLINE BOOKINGS - Rates specified in table below apply. A deposit of is required at the time of booking, with the balance paid in Vatu (Cash) to Esso at the time of departure.

• CASUAL (IMPROMPTU, NON-ONLINE) BOOKINGS - Rates specified in table below PLUS a 15% surcharge apply. Full payment rquired in Vatu (Cash) to Esso at the time of departure.

• TOUR START/FINISH POINT - Rates apply from Departures from Esso and Rachel's accommodation. Other localities incur additional pickup/dropoff costs).

- per Adult. [18 yrs and older] Vatu 4,300 (AU$ 57.00)
- per Adult. [13 yrs and older with
adult 18yr or older]
Vatu 3,850 (AU$ 51.00)
  - per Child. [5 yrs -12 yrs] Vatu
51.00 )
  - per Infant. [5 yrs and under]
(not reccommended)
---- )

Yes - I want to make a Booking please

* Approximate equivalent rates are given in Australian Dollars to provides prospective guests with an FX comparision. Australian FX Rates given here are per Average of ANZ Bank and Westpac Bank Published Rate Dated 12th April 2017 ( 1 AU$ = 75.80 Vatu).