One of the advantages of having a car to explore Samoa, was that it allowed me to make detours and visit some of the many waterfalls coming down the green mountains of the islands. Even though I have seen many of them already, seeing yet more never tires me, and when I pulled up at the Papapapai-uta falls just south of Apia, I only had to walk a few metres to look into a depression in the earth covered by tall trees, and on the other side, a 100m tall delicate veil of water coming down over the rocks. I was too far to hear the sound, but seeing the gracious scene of the continuous drop of water was soothing nevertheless. I continued on my way east, crossed a bridge a little south of Falefa, and parked the car at a sign. Here, I was introduced to the reality of most natural sights in Samoa: the land giving access to the site, or even just to a viewpoint, is in private hands, and the owners demand money for the privilege of using their land. The friendly lady warned against slippery steps, but it turned out to be actually very easy to walk down. When I saw them, I was surprised: there were serious falls indeed - which I had not anticipated at all! Two broad, but not tall, powerful streams of water were thundering down here, while a third, much more subtle stream, came down the rocks opposite the viewpoint at river level. In the distance, I could see people on outrigger canoes coming up against the stream; behind them, the Pacific.
Continuing my way east, I made a small detour to Fuipisia waterfalls which I had not seen described anywhere, but which turned out to be the most impressive ones I was to see on my visit. After a short interaction with the host family, I walked through a neatly kept garden, and felt the excitement of not knowing at all what to expect; since I was walking through thick vegetation, I could not see or hear anything to give a clue. When I reached an open spot, where I met the father of the family I had just talked to, I walked towards the edge and was rewarded with the sight of a tall, impressive fall plunging into the canyon it had created over time. Moreover, the good thing about Fuipisia is that the trail continues and you can actually get to the very edge of the waterfall. It was a little slippery; although wading through the water to the boulders at the very edge looked irresistible, I chickened out; the drop here cannot be much less than 100m. I was happy with the views from the side anyway, walked back to the guy in the fale enjoying the scenery, looked back one more time, and left.
The next day, I passed Sopoaga falls, which can only be seen from the garden of a family in a bend in the road; a stream of water coming out of the lush vegetation in which it then disappears again. The much touted Togitogiga falls were, to my surprise, not supervised by anyone, and turned out to be rather small two-level falls with pools. With much anticipation, I then drove up the short track to Afu A'au falls on Savai'i island, and after paying the entrance fee to a group of older men playing cards in a fale on the roadside, I reached the intensely blue waters of the highest pool. Afu A'au consists of 3 levels, and while the lower two both had waterfalls, the upper one was, strangely enough, totally dry. While one person would explain it as the consequence of a lack of water, someone else later told me that the water of the upper one was being used for irrigation. In any case, the hot weather made a dip into the cool, tranquil pool a very welcome diversion. I first went in the second pool where I swam under the fall itself, enjoying the pressure on my shoulders from the constant waterflow, and then had a swim in the bigger, upper pool. Both seem to be full of crayfish. Sitting on a rock to dry, the looks of the place and the pleasant sound of the water made it difficult to leave.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Samoan waterfalls (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Samoan waterfalls.
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