Samoa - Land, Wildlife & Parks
The main islands of Upolu and Savaii are fringed by magnificent coral reefs and lagoons, overlooked by craggy volcanic peaks. Inland, the rugged interior hides virgin rainforest, tumbling waterfalls, steep gorges, and spring-fed pools and streams. Traditional villages and coconut plantations lace the coast, which is fringed by palm trees and white sandy beaches. Recent volcanic activity on the island of Savaii has also created many lava tubes and volcanic craters.
Samoa’s tropical climate and fertile soils embrace a diverse range of landscapes from rainforests and coconut plantations to scrublands, marshes and mangrove swamps. Native wildlife includes flying foxes, rare Pacific pigeons and doves, seabirds, skinks and geckos. In the surrounding ocean, dolphins, whales and porpoises migrate through Samoa’s warm waters, and turtles are regular visitors to the islands. The spectacular fringing reefs are home to some 900 fish species and over 200 varieties of coral.
Samoa has 10 endemic bird species and about 16 of the 34 land species are unique to the island. Uninhabited offshore islands are home to seabird breeding colonies, and the coastal walks on Manono Island are a great opportunity to see the more common species. Native pigeons and nesting seabirds can be found in the forested interior.
O Le Pupu-Pue National Park, Upolu Island
Nature lovers will find several good walking tracks in O Le Pupu-Pue, which stretches from the coast up to the mountainous spine of the island’s centre. The park contains some of the best remaining tropical rainforest on Upolu, and some 42 different types of birds. The lovely Togitogiga Falls are a short walk from the park’s entrance, and a trail leading through the rainforest to Peapea Cave also begins here. The park is open daily, and there is no admission fee. For more information about Samoa’s national parks, contact The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, phone (685) 23 800 or visit www.mnre.gov.ws
Lake Lanoto’o National Park, Upolu Island
Created in 2003, the 400 hectare Lake Lanoto’o National Park is great for birdwatchers, and home to some of Samoa’s rare endemic birds, including the red-headed parrot finch and the crimson-crowned fruit dove. Samoa’s largest lake is filled with goldfish introduced by German settlers during the 19th century. It takes about an hour to hike into the park, and a guide is recommended.
Reserves, Preserves and Conservation Areas
Government reserves, preserves and conservation areas protect Samoa’s vital rainforest, wetlands and coastal areas. Several villages have also set up preserves in conjunction with environmental groups. For more information on National Parks and Conservation Areas, contact The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, phone (685) 23 800 or visit www.mnre.gov.ws
Samoa’s Observatory is located at the end of Mulinuu Peninsula, Apia, phone (685) 20 855, fax (685) 23 141, email firstname.lastname@example.org visit wwww.meteorology.gov.ws
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