SUNSET LODGE, SAVO ISLAND
Visible from Honiara, Savo Island is the location of Sunset Lodge. Situated on the western side of the island, it makes for an enjoyable weekend away. The island is beautifully lush and green, with interesting wildlife, hot springs and an active volcano. Sunset Lodge takes advantage of these features and offers a variety of tours, or for those who prefer to idle away lazy afternoons, there are hammocks on the beach.

The Lodge is nestled into the forest in which there are birds calling from the trees. Everything is green with the rambling rainforest tumbling down to the beachfront. The staff are cheerful and accommodating, making available bottled water or a hot thermos for tea and coffee anytime of the day. Food is plentiful in a long dining hall beside the beach. In addition to the reasonably priced meal package, soft drinks and Solbrew are available for sale.

The second volcano tour is more intensive and is a three hour round trip in addition to the fifteen minute canoe ride to get there. Be prepared for a hike! The walk commences in wide dry riverbeds where lava once flowed, causing the edges to be lined with steep cliff faces. As you move further up the volcano, the journey continues through untouched rainforest that is many centuries old. There are sections of the trek where you are required to clamber up slippery slopes with the sandy clay giving way underneath and also plenty of sloshing through rushing water. To add to the adventure, you will also need to navigate rocky outcrops, which have falls a few metres into the hot water pools below. Take plenty of water, as the walk can be fairly humid due to the steam as you near the summit and stand in the crater of the volcano.

Ensure you rise early at least one morning and jump aboard the canoe up to the point and onto the beach. As you make your way up to the edge of the forest, you can watch the Megapode birds scurrying about. The birds look like a cross between a bantam and a crow, having small dark grey bodies with large feet that are used for digging. The birds lay their extra large eggs in the sand, with the warmth from the volcano conveniently incubating them.

There are two volcano tours to choose from and both offer a glimpse of what lies beneath the surface of this great planet. After a canoe ride, the first shorter tour commences walking along the sand and up past a village. You then branch off into the forest and up to the volcano. The walk takes about half an hour each way and is the recommended choice for smaller children or the not so adventurous. Keep an eye out also around the island for impromptu shows from pods of silvery, sleek dolphins, feeding and playing in the water.

Getting there: Land and canoe transfers operate from Honiara or Vila (45 minutes drive from Honiara). The canoe ride is shortened if you opt to travel to Vila before boarding.
Things to do: Tours operate from Sunset Lodge daily and include the megapode field, volcano hike, dolphin watch, nature walk, waterfalls and deep sea fishing.
Cost: Around S$300/day including meals.
Enquiries: Book at the SI Visitors Bureau.


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