By Emily Russell
Photography by Peter Johnstone
Stunning coastal scenery, neat and friendly villages and a solid hit of exercise combined to make the West Guadacanal coastal trek a super enjoyable and rewarding weekend away. Impeccably planned and graciously led by our guide Stanley (tel # 7429305), we walked 38 kilometres over two days (day one 15km, 4-5 hours walking; day two 23km, 7-8 hours walking) along a great mix of shaded coastal track, sandy beaches and rocks (including a bit of scrambling). After driving to Lambi (about two hours from Honiara, 4WD required), we were taken by banana boat to Tangarere (a further 1.5 hours). The track took us through several villages, past a couple of logging camps and across several streams and rivers, two of which are home to crocodiles – thankfully none were hungry enough to bother us!
Overnight we stayed in a very clean leaf hut in lovely, friendly village. The hut had an adjacent toilet and the village had a water pump that was more than adequate for washing off the day’s sweat, salt and grime! We took all our own food, which was fine – delicious, actually. However, for those with more time or less stamina, Stanley is exploring options for a second overnight stay along the way, which could potentially include a meal prepared by local villagers and perhaps some insights into local life and history. If you have the time, this three day option would be well worth it. Overall, I highly recommend the walk and Stanley as your guide. He had everything covered – safekeeping place for our car in Lambi, boat and accommodation ready to go, even coconuts ready to drink at a couple places along the way. The distance over two days and the potential proximity to crocodiles mean it is not a walk for the faint-hearted, though with notice Stanley should be able to arrange boats for the scarier river crossings. He could also cut the distance down by adjusting the boat drop off point or picking upp outside of Lambi (potentially on the other side of the deeper crocodile river) – alternatively, he could use his strong connections into the local communities to arrange a boat to cross the crocodile river(s). I would certainly recommend you explore these options with Stanley if the distance or crocodiles would otherwise put you off: it is a beautiful walk and Stanley makes it super easy to organise. Just give him plenty of notice – there is no phone coverage so he has to visit or otherwise get messages to people in order to set things up.
Guide for walls of West Guadacanal -Stanley: ph. 7429305