It is separated from the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malo by the Bougainville Strait. Lakatoro, capital of Malampa Province, is situated on its northeastern shore and is the largest settlement in the island. On the northeastern side of the island there is a group of islands called Small Islands, amongst them (from N to S) Vao, Atchin, Wala (island), Rano (island), Norsup, Uripiv and Uri (island). Off the southwestern coast is Tomman Island, in the south Akhamb Island and at the southeastern point the Maskelynes Islands are found, among them Sakao Island and Uluveo.
It has a maximum elevation of 879 m. It is called Mt. Liambele. In 1768, Louis Antoine de Bougainville gave his name to the straits which separate Malakula from Santo.