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Map of Efate Island EN.png
Map of Efate
Vanuatu - Efate.PNG
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 17°40′S168°25′E / 17.667°S 168.417°E / -17.667; 168.417 Coordinates: 17°40′S168°25′E / 17.667°S 168.417°E / -17.667; 168.417
Archipelago Vanuatu
Area899.5 km2 (347.3 sq mi)
Highest elevation647 m (2123 ft)
Highest pointMount McDonald
Province Shefa Province
Largest settlement Port Vila (pop. 44,040)
Population65,829 (2009)
Pop. density55.6/km2 (144/sq mi)

Efate is an island in the Pacific Ocean which is part of the Shefa Province in Vanuatu. It is also known as Île Vate.



It is the most populous (approx. 66,000) [1] island in Vanuatu. Efate's land area of 899.5 square kilometres (347.3 sq mi) makes it Vanuatu's third largest island. Most inhabitants of Efate live in Port Vila, the national capital. Its highest mountain is Mount McDonald with a height of 647 metres (2,123 ft).


Captain James Cook named it Sandwich Island "in honour of my noble patron, the Earl of Sandwich" on his 1774 voyage on HMS Resolution. [2]

During World War II, Efate served an important role as a United States military base. [3]

On March 13, 2015, Port Vila, the island's largest human settlement and the capital of Vanuatu, bore extensive damage from Cyclone Pam. [4]


Efate became an independent commune in 1889 when residents declared the region as Franceville. However, by 1890 the commune was broken up.

Efate is governed by both the Port Vila Municipality and the Shefa Provincial Council, whose governance is the town limits of Port Vila only, and rural Efate and the outer Efate Islands, respectively.

Small Islands off Efate

Eretoka Island (3 km (2 mi) west) Eretoka-2008-11-02.jpg
Eretoka Island (3 km (2 mi) west)

Around Efate lie many small islands, among them are Eretoka (Hat) Island, Lelepa, Nguna, Pele, Ekapum Lep, Erueti Lep, Ekapum Rik, Iriwiti Lep, Hideaway Island, Ifira Island, and Emao. Eretoka Island is a small island that, when seen from a distance looks like a floppy hat. This is where the famous Chief Roi Mata, along with his 20 wives and many other servants, were buried. [5] Nguna, Pele and Emao are stratovolcanoes, which may form the rim of a volcanic caldera to their north. [6]


Efate was used as the location for 3 seasons of the reality game show, Survivor . The island was used for season 9 of the American edition of Survivor (titled Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire ), season 2 of Australian Survivor (titled Australian Celebrity Survivor: Vanuatu ) and season 6 of the French edition (titled Koh-Lanta: Vanuatu ). Much of the Survivor: Vanuatu and Australian Celebrity Survivor was filmed approximately 30 minutes from Port Vila near Mangililu and Gideon's Landing, the latter of which is now a commonly visited tourist attraction.


Eratap, a small outer island of Efate. Eratap, Efate, Vanuatu, 13 April 2008.jpg
Eratap, a small outer island of Efate.

The capital of Port Vila is the hub of tourism in Vanuatu receiving approximately 60 000 tourists annually by air transport, cruise ships and the yachting community. Due to the British and French influence both cuisines are readily available in the capital. Budget dining include the scattered Chinese eateries across Vila and the Mummas Market downtown. Outside of Port Vila a more rustic destination awaits, with most people living a traditional lifestyle: cooking island food or 'aelan kakae', tending their gardens daily as subsistence agriculture is the dominant economy in Vanuatu, and swimming at the beach.

Port Vila services the domestic carrier Air Vanuatu which goes to the outer islands of Vanuatu. Popular destinations such as Tanna and Santo can be reached daily from Port Vila, while more remote locations can be reached on a less regular basis. The island is served by Bauerfield International Airport.

Efate offers a range of tourism attractions and activities including Mele Cascades, Eton Beach, Tanalilui Road Markets, Round Island Tour, Buggy Fun Rental, Diving and Sunset Cruises.

See also

Related Research Articles

Vanuatu Island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean

Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Port Vila Capital of Vanuatu

Port Vila, or simply Vila, is the capital and largest city of Vanuatu and is on the island of Efate.


Ambrym is a volcanic island in Malampa Province in the archipelago of Vanuatu. Volcanic activity on the island includes lava lakes in two craters near the summit.

Shefa Province

Shefa is one of the six provinces of Vanuatu, located in the center of the country and including the islands of Epi and Efate and the Shepherd Islands.

The Central Vanuatu languages form a linkage of Southern Oceanic languages spoken in central Vanuatu.

Shepherd Islands

The Shepherd Islands are a group of islands lying between the larger islands of Epi and Éfaté, in the Shefa province of Vanuatu. The aggregate land area is 88 square kilometres. They were named by Captain Cook after Anthony Shepherd, a British astronomer and friend of Cook.


Paama is a small island in Malampa Province, Vanuatu.

Emae Island in Shefa Province, Vanuatu

Emae is an island in the Shepherd Islands, Shefa, Vanuatu.

Nguna Island in Shefa Province, Vanuatu

Nguna Island is an outer island off the north coast of Efate, Vanuatu in Undine Bay.

Moso Island Island in Shefa Province, Vanuatu

Moso Island is an island off the northwest coast of Efate in Vanuatu, in Shefa Province. It is separated from Efate by Namoso Passage, which is 200 metres (660 ft) wide at its narrowest point.

Iririki Island resort in Shefa Province, Vanuatu

Iririki is a privately leased island, located in Mele Bay, near Port Vila, the Capital of Vanuatu. The whole island is owned and operated by Australian businessmen Shane Pettiona, Darren Pettiona and Peter Stockley.

Vanuatu, officially known as the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 500 kilometres (310 mi) north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea. The nation's largest town and the capital Port Vila is situated on Efate Island.

Cyclone Pam

Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam was tied with Cyclone Yasa in 2020 as the second most intense tropical cyclone of the South Pacific Ocean in terms of sustained winds and is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu. A total of 15–16 people lost their lives either directly or indirectly as a result of Pam with many others injured. The storm's impacts were also felt, albeit to a lesser extent, to other islands in the South Pacific, most notably the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and New Zealand. Pam is the third most intense storm of the South Pacific Ocean according to pressure, after Winston of 2016 and Zoe of 2002. It is also the second most intense tropical cyclone in 2015, only behind Hurricane Patricia. In addition, Pam is tied with Orson, Monica, Marcus, Fantala and Yasa for having the second strongest ten-minute maximum sustained winds in the Southern Hemisphere. Thousands of homes, schools and buildings were damaged or destroyed, with an estimated 3,300 people displaced as a result.

Mele-Fila (Ifira-Mele) is a Polynesian language spoken in Mele and Ifira on the island of Efate in Vanuatu. In spite of their differences, Mele and Fila are two dialects of the same language and are mutually intelligible. French and English are also fairly common among the residents of Efate.

Cyclone Fran

Severe Tropical Cyclone Fran was the third tropical cyclone within four weeks to impact Vanuatu in 1992. Fran formed on March 4 and then gradually intensified. Winds reached gale-force on March 5, and hurricane-force a few days later. Cyclone Fran reached the powerful Category 5 equivalent on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale near Vanuatu. The storm weakened somewhat due to land interaction, but briefly re-intensified after moving away from land. Fran gradually weakened over the next several days over less favorable conditions. Meanwhile, the storm passed north of New Caledonia. Eventually, as a Category 2 system on the Australian scale, Fran made landfall on Queensland during March 16. Severe Tropical Cyclone Fran turned towards the southeast and eventually headed back out to sea. The system dissipated the next day. On Efate, over 130 houses lost roofs. Along Queensland, two rivers sustained major flooding, but no deaths were attributed to this cyclone. Total damage from the system was AU$8–10 million. Moderate damage was also reported in Fiji. In New Caledonia, the storm brought flooding and landslides.

The Lololima is a river of the main island (Efate) of Vanuatu. It passes near Port Vila, the capital, on the southwest side of the island. There is a waterfall of the same name, near the settlement of Lololima, which is a significant tourist attraction.

Port Vila Central Hospital is the principal hospital serving Efate, Vanuatu, near the capital of Port Vila. Situated on a hillside overlooking the lagoon, it has over 200 beds and 6 full-time doctors, with four wards—medical, surgical, paediatric and maternity.

Ifira Island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu

Ifira is an offshore island of efate located in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean.

Erueti Lep is a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Shefa Province of Vanuatu.


  1. 2009 Census Summary release final Archived December 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine – Government of Vanuatu
  2. "JULY – SEPTEMBER 1774". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  3. Fighter Squadron at Guadalcanal, Max Brand, Naval Institute Press, 1996, ISBN   1-55750-088-6
  4. Andrew Freedman (March 13, 2015). "Monstrous Category 5 cyclone makes direct hit on tiny Vanuatu". Mashable. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  5. J. Maarten Troost, Getting Stoned with Savages, Broadway Books, 2006 ( ISBN   0-7679-2199-2).
  6. "North Vate". Global Volcanism Program . Smithsonian Institution.