There are a number of small villages on the island of Savai'i – the largest and highest island in Samoa. Some of the towns include Salelologa, Falealupo, Vaisala, Vailoa, Sato'alepai, Sale'aula, Safune, Safotu, Patamea, Foailuga and Asau.

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Villages in Savai'i

Salelologa

Salelologa is a village district at the east end of Savai'i Island in Samoa. It is the main entry point into the island with the only ferry terminal on Savai'i. It also serves as the main township for shopping and public amenities with a market selling fresh produce and arts and crafts.

The township consists of one main shopping street. Fresh fish, locally grown produce and arts and crafts are sold at the Salelologa Market (makeki) which was recently moved to a new site by the wharf in 2009. The market is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday. Most shops and markets in Samoa close on Sundays with a few small outlets opening in the late afternoon. There are also several small supermarkets, a wholesaler, petrol stations, bakeries such as Retzlaff's bakery, budget hotels and accommodation, as well as public amenities such as internet access, banks and Western Union money transfer outlets.

The main island highway which reaches most parts of Savai'i is tar-sealed and well-maintained. Salelologa is the only township on Savai'i and this is the main destination for arrivals and departures for local public transport and visitors to the island.

Salelologa wharf is the main port of entry into the island and is the only ferry terminal on Savai'i. The inter-island passenger and vehicle ferries operate in the Apolima Strait between Salelologa and Mulifanua wharf at the north west corner of Upolu. The ferries are managed by the government and operate seven days a week during the day. Ferry arrivals and departures are usually every two-hours. A one-way trip takes about 90-minutes with views of Apolima and Manono islands to the south during the crossing.

Maota Airport is an airstrip 10-minutes south of Salelologa. Most flights operate between Faleolo International Airport on Upolu, however, the service can be sporadic.

There are buses, taxis and rental car companies at the ferry terminal and in the township. The bus route is via the main highway which generally follows the coastline of the island where most villages and settlements are situated. The buses are usually scheduled around the ferry arrivals and departures with short stops at the market and shops before heading out of town. There are no 'bus stop' signs on Savai'i and catching a bus involves standing by the side of the road or signalling with a wave at the driver. Local buses are the cheapest form of transport on the island although they can fill very quickly at the ferry terminal. There are plenty of taxis at the wharf and around the township during the day. Rental cars are available on Savai'i although prior bookings are essential.

Falealupo

Falealupo is a village in Samoa situated at the west end of Savai'i island. The village has two main settlements, Falealupo-Uta, situated inland by the main island highway and Falealupo-Tai, situated by the sea. The road to the coastal settlement is about 9km, most of it unsealed, from the main highway.

Due to its location in the west of the country, and due to the Samoa is just to the east of the International Date Line, Falealupo has been described as "the last village in the world to see the sunset of each day".

Families have moved inland for the convenience of living by the main road near public transport, as well as the extensive damage to the coastal village from cyclones in the early 1990s, which left behind old church ruins along the coast. Rock pools, caves, and sandy beaches contribute to the natural beauty of the area. Falealupo-Uta has small shops and facilities for Western Union money transfer while there are beach fale accommodation and a shop at Falealupo-Tai.

Falealupo land includes large tracts of lowland rainforest. Most of the island's economy is based on subsistence living from plantations and fishing and with no other source of revenue, the villagers sold logging rights to their rainforests. Before the logging could take place, however, Seacology co-founder and chairman Paul Cox, an American ethnobotanist who had lived for many years with his family in the village, discovered that the pristine rainforests surrounding the village of Falealupo were to be logged. Cox worked with the village chiefs and promised to raise the funds for the school in exchange for a covenant protecting the 30,000-acre rainforest.

Vaisala

Vaisala is a small village on the northwest coast of Savai'i island in Samoa. The village lies within the political district of Vaisigano. It is located close to the coast in the northwestern corner of the island. To the west are the neighboring villages of Auala and Asau. The Vaisala Hotel situated at a white sandy beach is one of the largest hotels at the west end of Savai'i.

Vailoa

Vailoa is a village on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Vailoa is the capital of Palauli district on the south east of the island. Like most villages in Samoa, the local economy is based on subsistence living. The people live off their land from crops grown in plantations behind the village or fishing.

Famous people from Vailoa include Uale Mai, a rugby union player and a former captain of the Samoa Sevens team and one of the great players in the international sport. He is the only Samoan to be awarded the IRB International Sevens Player of the Year which he received for the 2005-06 World Sevens Series.

Sato'alepai

Sato'alepai is a village situated on the central north coast of the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Sato'alepai is in the political district of Gaga'emauga.

The village is by the sea with several small shops selling basic groceries. There are mangroves and wetlands inland, a short stroll from the main road circling Savai'i. Behind the village is an eco-tourism area in the wetlands with green turtles for visitors and tourists. The Sato'alepai Wetlands is listed as a Protected Area in the United Nations Environment Program.

There's a turnoff inland to Tutaga Primary School at the west end of the village, on the boundary with neighboring Fagamalo village. The closest hospital is at Safotu village, 15 minutes west on the main road.

Sato'alepai is about 42km from the ferry terminal and market at Salelologa on the east end of the island. Five minutes east of the village is Saleaula village and lava fields. Heading west on the main road, the next village is Fagamalo where there is a small post office and a police station next door. Manase, a popular tourist destination with beach fales is another five minutes past Fagamalo.

Sale'aula

Sale'aula is a village on the central north coast of Savai'i island in Samoa and is the traditional center of the Gaga'emauga political district. Chief council meetings are held at Vaitu'utu'u malae in the village. Volcanic eruptions of Mt Matavanu (1905 - 1911) in central Savai'i swept northwards towards the coast and destroyed villages in its path. The lava flowed over 40 square miles (100km²) of countryside to the sea and also destroyed another village Salago. The depth of the lava flow in some parts was 400 feet. A Catholic church and a meeting house of the LDS Church were also buried.

Sale'aula land was covered by lava that reached other villages to the east including Mauga and Samalae'ulu. The colonial German administration acquired land on the main island Upolu and resettled villagers at Salamumu and Leauva'a. Today, those villagers are still part of the Gaga'emauga electoral district on Savai'i. Today, a few families have re-built homes upon the lava fields where there is sparse volcanic vegetation. There are some church ruins and the grave of a nun which was encircled by the lava flow. Local families provide fale accommodation for visitors and tourists by the lava and the coast.

Safune

Safune is a traditional village district on the central north coast of Savai'i island in Samoa. It lies within the electoral constituency of Gaga'ifomauga. Safune is the birthplace of Mau leader Olaf Frederick Nelson. The Mata o le Alelo pool associated with the Sina and the Eel Polynesian legend is also in Safune.

Moana (1926), one of the first documentary films made in the world, was filmed in Safune and directed by Robert J. Flaherty who lived in the village for more than a year. Flaherty was in Samoa from April 1923 to December 1924.

He went to Samoa with his wife Frances Flaherty, their three young children, a red-haired Irish nursemaid (nicknamed 'Mumu' or 'Red' by the Samoans) and Flaherty's younger brother David Flaherty who would act as the film production manager. The tropical landscape of Safune was very different from the frozen icy setting of Flaherty's previous film Nanook of the North.

Safotu

Safotu is a village on the central north coast of Savai'i island in Samoa. The village is situated by the sea with a district hospital and school at the west end. The hospital sits upon a small rocky rise of black volcanic rock.

The main island road passes through the village and there are several churches and local stores. A turnoff from the main road leads to the inland village settlement of Paia. Safotu is about 46km from Salelologa and the ferry terminal. The popular tourist destination Manase village is the neighboring village to the east. Heading west past the village is Samauga followed by Lefagaoali'i and Safune.

Safotu is situated on a coastal strip at the west end of a volcanic escarpment approximately 50 m high that runs down to the coast. The coastal strip extends inland rising steadily towards Mt Matavanu. Atuimo Point is a rocky headland forming one end of Safotu beach. The lagoon varies from 300m - 400m in width along the coast with small reef breaks off the shore. There are small freshwater springs surfacing along the shore and some of these are contained as village pools at the western end of Safotu beach.

Patamea

Patamea is a village on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. While most villages on Savai'i are situated near the sea, Patamea is situated inland, away from the coast. The village is in the Gaga'emauga political district near the central north coast of the island.

The nearest villages to Patamea are Samalae'ulu and Mauga, a village built around the rim of a small volcanic crater. The main tar-sealed road circling Savai'i, which generally follows the coastline around the island where most villages are situated, runs inland where these settlements are located. The main road is considered a life-line for these inland villages for access to schools, churches and nearest hospitals at Tuasivi and Safotu. However, at Samalae'ulu village, the main road crosses a ford at Maliolio River which can become inaccessible during flooding. The river over flowing can also make access to plantations impassable along local roads which cross Molioli River in parts. Loss of access to plantations can have economic and health impacts on the villagers.

Like most villages in Samoa, the village of Patamea is based on a cash economy driven by traditional work, mostly in plantations although there is some cattle farming as well as family members working in the capital Apia on the main island Upolu. As the village is situated inland with no coast access, there is little fishing.

Foailuga

Foailuga is a village on the south-west coast of Savai'i island in Samoa. It is situated in Palauli district. Foailuga is near the other villages of Foailalo and Satuiatua. Many of the villagers have emigrated overseas, mainly to the United States and New Zealand. Like the rest of Samoa, Foailuga is governed at a local level by chiefs (matai) with support from the women's committee in the village. Life remains relatively traditional with subsistence living from food and crops grown in plantations as well as fishing.

The people of Foailuga are mainly Methodist and Mormon. Sports include volleyball, basketball, and kilikiti, Samoan cricket.

Asau

Asau is situated on the north west coast of Savai'i island in Samoa. It is the capital village of the Vaisigano political district and serves as the main business centre at the west end of the island.

Asau was the centre of the timber industry in Samoa with logging of native forests. In the 1960s a new wharf was completed at Asau for the lumbering operations of an American company Potlatch Corporation. The mouth of Asau Harbour was blocked by a coral reef and both the Samoan government and consultants had difficulties in clearing away the coral. A government dredge sank while trying to remove the coral. Later, New Zealand bombs dropped on the reef did not solve the problem. The large sawmill operating in Asau has since closed. The harbour is seldom used now.

The Asau Airport is an airstrip primarily used for chartered flights. In 2008, an American development company, South Pacific Development, based in Honolulu, made plans to expand Asau Airport and harbour. The company has obtained a 120-year lease for 600 acres (2.4 km2) of prime oceanfront customary land in Sasina village, to build a luxury resort estimated to cost $450 - $500 million US dollars.

The breakwater protecting the bay is an old American airstrip from World War II. The port was well used in the past as it was well protected on the east and south by the main land and on the north and west by coral reefs.

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