Samoa, a gem in the South Pacific
Several thousand kilometres from the nearest major land mass, in the heart of the South Pacific ocean, sits a hidden gem barely touched by tourism. A series of 10 Polynesian islands, called Samoa. Upolu, home to the majority of the Samoan residents, and Savai’i, the rugged jungle covered island full of stunning waterfalls, are the two largest islands out of the archipelago. Both are entirely surrounded by reefs 100m off shore, that shield the strong pacific tidal forces and allow for the crystal clear waters to lap gently up against the soft white sand and overhanging palms. A true triumph to that ideal image we all hold of paradise.
Inland, the Samoan islands consist of huge mountain peaks, vast green valleys, and a dense jungle foliage with more colours than anywhere I’ve witnessed. All this punctured only occasionally by inland lagoons or a picturette waterfalls. Untouched and wild is the feeling you get when exploring this dazzling group of islands.
Driving along the outer rim of the two major islands Upolu and Savai’i, a variety of scenes unfold. From palms overhanging the turquoise blue water, to a smattering of uneven volcanic lava fields, or even sheer cliff faces that rise directly out of the pacific. The landscapes are as dramatic as it’s location.
Let us take a look at some of the island’s highlights…
Photographs from Samoa
The Samoan beaches
They say a picture can paint a thousand words, and if I was to describe a coastal paradise, Samoan beaches would be a great place to start taking pictures. With the entire island surrounded by a reef 100m off shore, it’s protected and calm turquoise water laps softly up against soft white sand and dangling palms, punctuated occasionally by the odd volcanic rock formation. It’s year long warm temperate climate makes it a perfect place to experience tranquility and paradise.
Afu Aau waterfall
A fresh water lagoon, surrounded by dense green jungle and sprinkled on both sides with a series of waterfalls surrounding the idyllic turquoise water. If I could describe this place in one word, I’d use the word “enchanting”. Floating on your back, with small ripples of water lapping up against your side from the waterfall falling from the jungle above, you would forgive yourself for thinking you’ve transcended into one of those movies you watch in envy back home on the couch.
An elegant waterfall located at the cul-de-sac of a grand valley that’s covered in thick lush jungle. This is one elegant scene where you can appreciate not just the fall itself, but it’s vegetated covered mountainous surroundings, equally. The waterfall is one that can be enjoyed both from a distant vantage point, and while getting up close and personal to the crest of the fall itself.
Saleaula Lava Field
Molten lava from the still active Mt Matavanu, buried several villages when it erupted in 1905, and has shaped much of the Samoan coastline in the area. In Saleaula, you’ll find this half buried church right in the midst of a lava field, surrounded by bright green vegetation that have since flourished from it’s mineral rich lava deposits.
Leaving idyllic coastlines behind and moving towards the island heart, you’ll be blessed with one of the most colourful jungles, grand mountainous peaks surrounded in thick vegetation, and a vibe which makes you want to lose yourself. If you want to feel like you’ve left civilisation behind, and truly amongst the wild, the heart of the Samoan island’s are where you’re going to want to be.
Just outside of the village, Taga, on the south western side of Savai, sits an impressive coastline filled with a series of lava tubes that brace up against the pacific ocean. Every few seconds, strong tidal force slam against the lava tubes, forcing a high pressure jet of water exploding up into the air with an impressive raw.
Young Coconut Crab
One of the many species of hermit crabs found scavaging throughout the southern pacific islands. While these ones are only babies, this family of arthropods can grow to be the largest in the world, up to a length of 1m (3.3ft).
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