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Savai'i is the larger of the 2
islands and is one of the largest islands in the South Pacific.
It also has the largest shield volcano, Mount Silisili, (a
low, dome-shaped volcano formed by fluid, flowing lava, rather than
an explosive, cone-shaped volcano), in the South Pacific, raising
1,858m above sea level. The island has a high central core
with over 100 large and small volcanic craters, a vast tropical
rainforest stretching 727 square km , and long, green valleys
sloping down to the coast.
The town of Salelologa on the
south-east coast, is the biggest township on the island and is the
main port and ferry terminal from Upolu. The ferry crossing
takes around 90 minutes and operates several times during the day.
You can also fly from Upolu into Maota Airport, just outside
Salelologa, which takes about 30 minutes.
There is a main tarmac road that
runs right around the coastline of the island, and although you can
easily go all the way round in half a day, there are plenty of
villages, secluded beaches and stunning waterfalls to delay your
journey, and they are worthy distractions! Most of the other
roads are dirt or unpaved roads, so be aware of this is you want to
hire a car and go exploring. Your journey won't be fast, (or
smooth!!), but is well worth the effort and will certainly be
Savai'i is much less populated than
its small neighbour, with less than 45,000 local inhabitants, about
a quarter of the the nation's population. The island is much
quieter and less developed than Upolu, but still has some very good
quality accommodation properties, with wonderful palm-fringed
beaches, picturesque waterfalls, caves, fresh-water pools and coral
reefs teeming with marine life.
The island also has numerous
historical and archeological sites, and the traditional culture,
values and tribal way of life is very strong with the population.
Each village is still run by the chiefs, with each family
possibly having several chiefs with different titles, and the
village elders are very respected and revered amongst the local
population. Every village has its own Christian church and
almost every islander goes to a service on Sunday, a day of rest,
so shops, bars and some restaurants may not be open Sundays.
The majority of the population work
on plantations, growing taro, coca, coconuts, yams fruit and
vegetables, and every village has its own garden area, so local
markets are full of fresh, local produce.