Afu Aau Waterfall

Vailoa, Savaii Island, Samoa

About Afu Aau Waterfall


Hiking Distance: 500m round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2019-11-15
Date last visited: 2019-11-15

Waterfall Latitude: -13.74517
Waterfall Longitude: -172.3136

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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_057_11142019 - The main drop and plunge pool of the Afu Aau Waterfall
The main drop and plunge pool of the Afu Aau Waterfall

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

Afu_Aau_Falls_015_11142019 - Context of Julie on the short trail as she approached the lower sections of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Context of Julie on the short trail as she approached the lower sections of the Afu Aau Waterfall

The lowermost of the Afu Aau Waterfall’s sections featured a very wide segmented set of at least four waterfalls.

At least that was 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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_030_11142019 - The full width of the lowermost of the Afu Aau Waterfalls
The full width of the lowermost of the Afu Aau Waterfalls

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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_044_11142019 - The intermediate drop of the Afu Aau Waterfalls
The intermediate drop of the Afu Aau Waterfalls

Therefore, I’d imagine that most visitors would want to keep going instead of stopping at these smaller waterfalls.

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.

This plunge pool was at the bottom of the main Afu Aau Waterfall, and the trail ended with a direct view of this waterfall.

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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_083_11142019 - A wide look at the main drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall with a pair of springs opposite it on the left
A wide look at the main drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall with a pair of springs opposite it on the left

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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_095_11142019 - Julie heading back from the Afu Aau Waterfalls
Julie heading back from the Afu Aau Waterfalls

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.

Authorities

The Afu Aau Waterfall resides in the Palauli District near Salelologa on Savai’i Island, Samoa. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try the MNRE website.

Afu_Aau_Falls_002_11142019 - Looking back at the unpaved road towards the toilet, change room, and spillover parking area at the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_013_11142019 - Julie on the short trail leading to the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_016_11142019 - Another framed look at the lowermost of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_028_11142019 - Looking past part of the lowermost drop of Afu Aau Waterfall with a hint of the main drop further upstream
Afu_Aau_Falls_031_11142019 - Julie checking out the lowermost drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_034_11142019 - Context of the trail continuing beyond the lowermost drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_039_11142019 - Picnic tables near the spur path leading to the plunge pool for the intermediate tier of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_048_11142019 - Julie walking by the picnic tables on her way to the main drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_051_11142019 - Looking down at the intermediate cascade and plunge pool for the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_059_11142019 - The main drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_061_11142019 - Another look at the main drop of the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_070_11142019 - Looking to the right of the Afu Aau Waterfall towards the interesting alcove that also appeared to be the output of a small spring
Afu_Aau_Falls_089_11142019 - Steps etched into the streambed to facilitate access to the large plunge pool fronting the Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_092_11142019 - Looking directly across the large plunge pool towards the pair of smaller springs opposite the main Afu Aau Waterfall
Afu_Aau_Falls_097_11142019 - Almost back at the car park for the Afu Aau Waterfall

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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.

Salelologa_Ferry_001_11162019 - The ferry boat traversing the strait between Upolu and Savaii Islands docked at the Salelologa Ferry Terminal
The ferry boat traversing the strait between Upolu and Savaii Islands docked at the Salelologa Ferry Terminal

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.

Afu_Aau_Falls_004_11142019 - The car park at the end of the unpaved road for the Afu Aau Waterfall
The car park at the end of the unpaved road for the Afu Aau Waterfall

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).

Sweep starting from the mouth of the uppermost of the plunge pools before walking up to the brink of the lookout area for a closer look at the main waterfall


Sweep starting from the small tier between the uppermost and lowermost of the falls before walking over to the top of the lowermost falls


Sweep showing all the segments of the lowermost of the waterfalls and its plunge pool before going back up the trail for a more contextual view of the same thing


Sweep from the start of the trail revealing the lowermost of the waterfalls and its segments with a hint of the main falls in the background

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Tagged with: olemoe falls, vailoa, palauli, savaii, savai'I, samoa, waterfall, swimming, south pacific, toilets



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