Written by Tristan
Background Information on the Millennium Cave
The existence of the cave has been known for many generations and previous ancestors used the entrance of the cave for food. The bats and swallows that reside in the cave was a great source of food.
The local people believed that evil spirits resided in the cave and so they were afraid to venture into it. Chief Tasru in the early 19th century ventured into the caves a short distance, but it wasn’t until 1987 when Serge and Renee Andikar fully explored the cave. 1997 this led to the cave opening as a tourist attraction.
Today the custom landowners of the Millennium Cave are the Vunaspef Village and they run the tour and tour guides. The whole community benefit from the caves as it provides work for tour guides, income for women who babysit and cook for the tourists and the income from the bungalows generate income to pay for school fees. Tour costs have enabled village roads to be upgraded, a French Kindergarten to be built, employment of a teacher and with plans for a Primary School to be built.
The Millennium Cave is in central Santo and is a 45 minutes bus drive from Luganville. The bus trip ends at a small village. Our bus driver led us through a coconut plantation and across a bamboo bridge to reach another village, where we met our guide.
Our guide led us along jungle paths and across creeks until we were met by another local. A red clay paste was used to paint a waterfall, bat, rocks and a track on our faces, to ward off evil spirits.
We descended a long ladder to reach a huge cave. With our torches to guide us we spent about half an hour clambering over rocks. There was black and white stuff on the rocks. I soon discovered that the black stuff was bat poo and the white stuff was sparrow poo. Gross! Our guides shone their torches on the ceiling. Above us were thousands of tiny bats. When we exited the cave, a bat fell in the water near me and I watched as it pulled itself back up the wall, using tiny hooks on his wings.
It was time for a break and we took the opportunity to wash the dried mud off our faces, before we ate sandwiches and half a chocolate bar each for lunch. One of the guides took Max and Ava to Vunaspef Village, while we went canyoning, as they were too young.
Our adventure continued as we scrambled over rocks and swam in the river, which was freezing. We swam in three pools of water, each one colder than the last. Our guide chewed up some coconut strips to feed to the big freshwater fish. He gave me one to chew up and feed to the fish. I tried to chew it but couldn’t, so i gave up and just ate mine. We climbed some small waterfalls before the steep climb back to the village, where we collected Max and Ava before our return trip to Luganville.
Tourist Information: (UPDATED JUNE 2019)
Cost of the Tour:
- 7 000 vatu per person
- If your child is too young to partake in the activities, babysitting is available for 1000 vatu.
- Phone: +678 547 0957
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Book directly through the tour office at Sarakata Bridge in Luganville.
For further information see their website here: http://millenniumcavetour.weebly.com/
Extra Information for a Cave Visit
A few tips to help you enjoy your cave visit.
- Where sandals or sneakers as the path can be slippery and flip flops would be dangerous.
- Bring water and a packed lunch
- As you get wet on the trip a change of clothes would be useful.