About Afu Aau Waterfall
The Afu Aau Waterfalls (or Afu Aau Falls as well as Afu-A-Au Waterfalls; also called Olemoe Falls) was an idyllic swimming hole on the southern coast of Savaii Island (or more accurately Savai’i).
In my mind (and perhaps in the minds of most locals and tourists), this was the premiere waterfall on Savaii, which surprisingly didn’t have many sanctioned waterfalls to visit despite the island’s size.
The falls consisted of three distinct levels or sections each with opportunities to go for a swim to cool off from the tropical heat and humidity.
However, as you can see from the photo above, the uppermost of the waterfalls really made this place stand out as it featured a spring-fed 15-20m plunge along with a wide swimming hole that could very well be Samoa’s perfect waterfall.
After paying a modest sum of 5 Tala per person, we went on a short 250-300m track (perhaps 500-600m round trip) that took in all the waterfalls.
The locals thoughtfully provided toilets and a change room to make it easier to linger in this slice of Eden for a little while longer.
Experiencing the Lower and Intermediate Afu Aau Waterfalls
The lowermost of the sections featured a very wide segmented set of at least four waterfalls (or at least that’s what we counted during our visit though there were a couple of hidden ones beneath the trail that I couldn’t photograph).
I’d imagine that in higher flow (perhaps in times of flood), these segments might consolidate and appear closer together.
In any case, during our visit, there were two pairs of waterfalls spread far apart, which made it tricky to show in a single photo without a wide angle.
We noticed a ramping track forking off from the main track, which went right to the elongated plunge pool beneath these waterfalls.
The intermediate cascade further upstream nearby the picnic tables was a rounded cascade with its own smaller plunge pool.
There was another ramping track forking off the main track to get closer to this little swimming hole for another chance for a dip.
However, with just a glimpse further upstream, we could see a teasing view of the main waterfall of the bunch so I’d imagine most visitors would want to keep going first.
The Main Afu Aau Waterfall
Almost immediately upstream of the intermediate waterfall, the short track went past a little series of steps leading into a very wide and deep plunge pool before ending with a direct view of the main waterfall itself.
As far as we were concerned, this large plunge pool beneath the main waterfall was the most picturesque and inviting one of the swimming holes here.
We even noticed a smaller spring on the opposite side of the plunge pool as well as an alcove to the right side of the main falls, which further added to the ambience and scenic allure here.
Even though our late morning visit was pretty quiet (it was just Julie, myself, and one other Caucasian lady who already went for a swim here), the pool here seemed big enough to handle several more people.
Perhaps the only thing taking away from this garden paradise was the mosquitoes, which seemed to be most prevalent around freshwater streams like this.
The other thing that conspired to make us leave sooner than we wanted to was that we were fighting diarrhea from food poisoning.
Thus, Julie and I only spent 40 minutes away from the car, but we easily could have spent at least an hour or two here.
The Afu Aau Waterfall resides in the Palauli District. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try the MNRE website.
For the purposes of simplicity, we’ll describe the driving directions to the ferry terminal at Salelologa since just about every visitor to Savai’i comes by ferry.
First, we had to get from the Salelologa Ferry Terminal to the South Coast Road.
The easiest way to do this would be to turn right upon leaving the terminal, then driving about 1.4km to the South Coast Road, where we’d then turn left to go west on that road.
We then continued on the South Coast Road for about 11.3km where we would then turn right at the signposted turnoff for the Afu Aau Waterfalls (right before the steel bridge).
After paying the local at a fale shortly after going onto the unpaved turnoff, we then drove another 650m to the end of the road, where there was a modest-sized car park at the start of the short trail.
About 100m or so before the end of the road, there was also toilets and changing room adjacent to a larger space for spillover parking.
Overall, this drive would take about 20-30 minutes.
Note that when we left the ferry terminal, we also could have turned left out of the ferry terminal and followed the road for 1.2km.
Then, we would turn right and follow this road for 2.4km before finally reaching the South Coast Road, where we would then turn left again.
Once on the South Coast Road, we would then drive 9.3km to the signed turnoff for the Afu Aau Waterfall.
Doing the drive in this manner would also take about 20-30 minutes.
Finally, for a little local context, the town of Salelologa was about 11km (over 15 minutes drive) south of Tuasivi (East Coast), about 47km (about an hour drive) south of Fagamalo (North Coast), and 88km (about 1 hour and 45 minutes drive) southeast of Falealupo (Northwest Coast).
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