Lololima Waterfalls

Port Vila, Shefa Province, Vanuatu

About Lololima Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: tour; 2-3km optional river walking and hiking
Suggested Time: 4.5 hours

Date first visited: 2014-11-28
Date last visited: 2014-11-28

Waterfall Latitude: -17.72754
Waterfall Longitude: 168.38898

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The Lololima Waterfalls were lesser known than the famous Mele Cascades even though both were close to the main city of Port Vila.

Perhaps as a result of it being less well known, the experience somehow felt intimate.

Lololima_077_11272014 - The Lololima Waterfalls
The Lololima Waterfalls

However, our experience at this waterfall was nothing short of fun.

And as you can see from the photo above, it was also a very attractive series of waterfalls to boot.

The Lololima Waterfalls were really comprised of a pair of large sloping drops over limestone surfaces with a few smaller plunging tiers offering plenty of opportunities to have a swim or a refreshing dip.

Our tour of this falls not only included just seeing it, but we also got interactive with it.

Indeed, we climbed it, explored the gorge upstream from it, swam beneath and behind it, took a dive from a rope swing in front of it, and we even explored an impressive cave behind one of the waterfall’s main drops.

Lololima_062_11272014 - People enjoying themselves at the plunge pool at the bottom of the Lololima Waterfalls
People enjoying themselves at the plunge pool at the bottom of the Lololima Waterfalls

When Julie planned our Vanuatu trip, she made sure to visit this falls based on favorable TripAdvisor reviews.

And after having done it ourselves, we could see why.

Basic Logistics

We booked our tour through Ecotours Vanuatu, which was guided by Pascal Guillet, who also seemed to run this tour company.

He was accompanied by his son Dimitri as well as a local ni-Van guide from Ambrym Island named Bosco.

Our tour group was intimately small as it included five other tour guests (two from France and three from Sydney, Australia).

Lololima_031_11272014 - Looking down at the context of the swimming hole at the bottom of the Lololima Waterfalls
Looking down at the context of the swimming hole at the bottom of the Lololima Waterfalls

I believe Julie arranged for the tour via email, then our accommodation aided us further by confirming our booking as well as relaying to us when to meet at the lobby.

Overall, this tour took us about 4.5 hours (pretty much a half-day tour), which we did in the afternoon.

We pretty much brought swimming clothes, towels, and camera, but I had the option of leaving it with a tour guide when it was in jeopardy due to water.

The Lololima Waterfalls Experience – Transport to the Waterfalls

Once we were picked up from the lobby of our accommodation, we were then driven around in a pick-up truck where the trunk doubled as an open-air sheltered taxi.

The roads through Port Vila were smooth, and they stayed that way as we climbed higher up into the hills backing the town.

Lololima_006_11272014 - Looking back towards Port Vila as we were driven up to the Lololima Waterfalls
Looking back towards Port Vila as we were driven up to the Lololima Waterfalls

During this climb, we briefly made a photo stop of the nearly birds eye view towards Port Vila.

After this photo stop, the ride then became unpaved and bumpier as were driven into a large cattle farm run by some Catholic School.

The ride lasted nearly 60 minutes (from the time we were picked up from around downtown Port Vila).

At that point, we got off the truck and walked for a short five minutes or so to the Lololima Falls.

The Lololima Waterfalls Experience – Playing at the Falls

The walk to the waterfalls was mostly flat on grassy terrain before we had to descend steps.

Lololima_013_11272014 - Walking with the group towards the Lololima Waterfalls
Walking with the group towards the Lololima Waterfalls

During this descent, we got the view of Lololima Falls that you see pictured at the top of this page.

From up here, we could see the whole context of the main part of the falls, including the clear plunge pool with rope swing beneath the bottommost tier.

There was also a shelter between the two main tiers of the falls.

We were told that a freak flash flood that occurred three months prior to our visit (shouldn’t it still be Dry Season at the time?) wiped out the previous structure, which was said to be a full-up house or building.

Lololima_009_jx_11282014 - Climbing up the Lololima Waterfalls
Climbing up the Lololima Waterfalls

Anyways, at this point, we pretty much had the option to play at the waterfalls on our own or do some exploring with Pascal.

Given the amount of getting wet that was anticipated, I had left my DSLR behind (under Dimitri’s watchful eye) and we stuck with capturing the experience on Julie’s iPhone since we also had a small dry bag that was made specifically for it.

Julie and I ended up following most of the group, which accompanied Pascal up the upper tiers of Lololima Falls then waded in the river further upstream.

It was also good that we were wearing reef shoes since our walking included scrambles on rocks and other submerged objects in the river like twigs and branches.

Lololima_027_jx_11282014 - The split waterfall on the Lololima River, where we could enter one segment and emerge out the other
The split waterfall on the Lololima River, where we could enter one segment and emerge out the other

As far as climbing the falls was concerned, the footholds carved into the slope of the falls made climbing it much easier to accomplish with care.

As we continued wading upstream in the tranquil river gorge, we saw one small split waterfall (possibly 10ft or so) where it was possible to go up to a “hidden” drop in a small “cave”.

We got to go beneath this hidden waterfall and out an adjacent waterfall from its backside.

Aside from that the rest of the exploration was a combination of walking along the river’s banks or in the river itself for about 60 minutes.

Lololima_033_jx_11282014 - River walking in the gorge upstream of the Lololima Waterfalls
River walking in the gorge upstream of the Lololima Waterfalls

When the river wading part was done, we then bush walked through a small bit of jungle before making it onto a private road.

While on the road, we quickly backtracked our way to the main drops of Lololima Falls again.

This time, we emerged by base of the falls by a deep pool and rope swing, which some of us gave that a go.

Finally, our ni-Van guide Bosco showed us to an interesting cave that was hidden on the far side of the upper tier of Lololima Falls.

Lololima_071_11272014 - On the far side of the Lololima Waterfalls where we could scramble into a small cave
On the far side of the Lololima Waterfalls where we could scramble into a small cave

Inside that cave, we saw a calcified tree that was stuck in there (said to be a petrified tree at this point), some stalactite and stalagmite formations, a few swallows calling the cave home, and even some small bats further inside the cave.

It looked like the cave could keep going, but Bosco told us that crawling further inside would require scuba gear because of low oxygen levels in there.

When the short cave exploration was over, we then enjoyed a large platter of refreshing fruits provided by Pascal that consisted of very sweet pineapples, papaya, bananas, brown coconut, and grapefruit.

And all this fruit was accompanied with cups of lemonade.

Lololima_040_11272014 - Looking back at the footpath leading to the Lololima Waterfalls
Looking back at the footpath leading to the Lololima Waterfalls

So we had some more time to explore the main area at leisure while socializing and just enjoying the place.

Eventually, we started walking back to the parked truck roughly 2.5 hours after we had first arrived at the falls.

And nearly an hour later, we were dropped back at our accommodation near Port Vila.

Authorities

The Lololima Waterfalls reside in a private farm near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu. We booked this excursion through Ecotours Vanuatu. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Lololima_003_11272014 - Contextual view of the southern part of Port Vila as we made our way to Lololima Falls
Lololima_011_11272014 - Getting off the truck and starting the walk to Lololima Falls
Lololima_012_11272014 - Making our way to the Lololima Falls on a pretty short and benign walk
Lololima_014_11272014 - Looking down towards a section of the Lololima Waterfalls as we are getting closer to it
Lololima_015_11272014 - The group stands atop the gorge to enjoy the view before we were about to descend down to the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_016_11272014 - Looking downstream towards nice clear water as we continued to descend towards the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_023_11272014 - Looking towards the upper drop of the main part of the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_025_11272014 - Julie and Pascal making their way down to Lololima Falls
Lololima_029_11272014 - Contextual look down at the Lololima Waterfalls as the group starts to get ready to get wet
Lololima_039_11272014 - Looking towards the context of the Lololima Waterfalls as I descended closer to the shelter
Lololima_044_11272014 - Another contextual look at the beautiful Lololima Waterfalls when the sun momentarily hid behind clouds
Lololima_047_11272014 - Someone hanging onto the rope swing about to make a big splash in the plunge pool at the bottom of the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_049_11272014 - A couple of lawn chairs were set up besides Lololima Falls as seen from right in front of the shelter
Lololima_054_11272014 - Looking over the bottom drop of Lololima Falls towards the colorful plunge pool at its base
Lololima_007_jx_11282014 - The group following Pascal as we waded our way upstream to the upper drop of the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_017_jx_11282014 - Looking down from the top of the Lololima Waterfalls as we continued our upstream scramble on the Lololima River
Lololima_019_jx_11282014 - Now that we were above the main part of Lololima Falls, we were now in calmer waters and wading further upstream in a Lololima River's gorge
Lololima_023_jx_11282014 - Some parts of the Lololima River's gorge were quite scenic as we were surrounded by tall walls
Lololima_032_jx_11282014 - Scenic and tranquil look at the Lololima River's gorge further upstream of the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_036_jx_11282014 - After leaving the Lololima River, we walked on this 4wd road back in the downstream direction
Lololima_037_jx_11282014 - After making our way upstream and out of the Lololima River, we then bush walked through jungle onto a road before descending more jungle to get back to Lololima Falls
Lololima_039_jx_11282014 - View of the thick bush trail as we descended back down towards the other side of Lololima Falls
Lololima_047_jx_11282014 - After plunging from a rope swing, I swam behind this waterfall as that guy in the wet orange shirt back there is me
Lololima_051_jx_11282014 - Looking across the bottom of the lower drop of the Lololima Falls
Lololima_054_jx_11282014 - The tour wasn't over yet as some of us waded back to the upper tier of Lololima Falls and approached a cave on the right side
Lololima_067_11272014 - Looking back at the lower Lololima Waterfall with the tour participants gathered at the shelter enjoying refreshments
Lololima_069_11272014 - Closer look at the narrow footpath climbing to the top of the lower drop of the Lololima Waterfall
Lololima_072_11272014 - About to go into the cave by the far side of the upper drop of the Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_055_11272014 - Some after school kids cooling off and having fun at the upper main tier of Lololima Waterfalls
Lololima_080_11272014 - As we were heading back up, I took another look at the upper tier of Lololima Falls
Lololima_081_11272014 - Last look back down at the plunge pool and the lower drop of the Lololima Waterfalls as there were longer shadows from the setting sun
Lololima_075_11272014 - Our last look at the Lololima Waterfalls as it was time to leave

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Although it was possible to hire a car on Efate Island, I don’t think most tourists would consider coming to the Lololima Waterfalls on their own given how bumpy the road to get here was.

In any case, we let Ecotours Vanuatu pick us up from our accommodation in Port Vila, and it was almost an hour drive to get to a point where we could start walking to the falls.

Our tour costed Julie and I 5900VT per person, which included the 1000VT kastom (landowner) fee per person.

This was basically a half-day tour, and our half-day took place after lunch starting at 1pm and returning back to our accommodation at about 5:45pm (nearly two hours of which were transport).

Right to left sweep of the full context of the falls as we were descending towards it


Left to right sweep of the large plunge pool being fed by the lowermost of the main Lololima Waterfalls


Having fun going from one hidden waterfall then out through the other one next to it. This was further upstream from the main Lololima Falls

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Tagged with: port vila, efate, shefa, vanuatu, waterfall, ecotours, pascal, play, swim, swimming



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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