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Fiji: Sigatoka sand dunes

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Sigatoka sand dunes | Fiji | Oceania

[Visited: October 2012]

There are so many things to see and do in Fiji, that I felt spoilt with choice, and ended up taking a minivan to Sigatoka. After a briefing by one of the park guards, it was obvious I would take the longest hike, and I soon realized that the trails were very well marked. I soon reached an outlook, from which I could see the surrounding landscape for the first time. Hills covered by vegetation, patches of forest, and in the distance, also the bare sandy tops of sand dunes. Much of the trail in the open parts consists of a wide track cut through the tall grass, but I quite suddenly found myself in the Driodrio forest, by some believed to be the gateway to the spirit world: whenever a star was spotted right above it, it was a sign someone in the village would pass away. In fact, it proved a pleasant area to walk in, with tall trees giving some welcome shade from the strong sunrays.

Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Wind-shaped sand forms on top of the tallest sand dune of Sigatoka

When I emerged from the forest, I hiked up through a gully in tall grass, and when I reached the top, I found myself closer to the tall sand dune that marks the end of the Sigatoka sand dune area. There was enough wind to make the grass around me move constantly with a rustling sound, and when I saw a narrow side trail leading up a steep sand dune, I could not resist the temptation to climb it. I was rewarded wit sweeping views of a wide area of sand, and more sand dunes further away, all lying more or less exactly in the direction of the prevailing south-easterly trade winds. It is in this area that many discoveries of ancient civilizations are made; mostly pottery and bones, but I was not lucky enough to find any. Some of those witnesses of the old are exposed at the visitor centre; from it, studies can be conducted about the origin of the Polynesian people. From here, it was a short hike to the base of the tallest dune, which is the most exposed dune.

Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Vegetation surrounding the tallest sand dune of Sigatoka

Once I reached the top of that one, I finally saw the trademark of sand dunes exposed to wind: the constantly changing pattern of the sand, making fine patterns with the rays of sunlight playing on them. On the other side of the dune, I had the best views of the entire area, and the beach below. A narrow trail led down to the beach, where I took off my shoes to enjoy the feeling of feet sinking into the moist sand with the sound of the surf right next to me. When I left the beach, I almost ran to avoid burning the soles of my feet: the black sand was very hot. After this exposed stretch of the hike, I entered a forest of mahogany trees which provided a completely different feel: I was now walking on the fallen leaves of the giant trees. When I got out and suddenly found myself back to the visitor centre, I happened to be asked to pose for a brochure of the park, which I happily did; who knows, you might see me on it if you visit this quite unique corner of Fiji.

Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Tall grass covering the sand dunes
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Top of one of the tallest sand dunes
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Vegetation covering the sandy ground
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Area of sand, location of many discoveries of ancient civilizations
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Trees and bushes with the tallest sand dune in a distance
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Vegetation covering the tallest sand dune
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): The beach at the foot of the sand dunes
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Mahogany trail with impressive mahogany trees
Picture of Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji): Path leading through the Driodrio, or dark, forest

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