Sigatoka sand dunes

View of the sea while descending. Picture: JOHN KAMEA

Standing on grey-white sand, sculptured by centuries of bellowing winds and rolling waves is a dazzling spectacle you cannot escape at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.

Established in 1989 to protect and conserve the unique natural and cultural significance of the area, the 650-acre park is one must-see natural wonder you can enter among the items in your bucket list.

The dunes offer both the travel enthusiast and nature’s explorer the chance to experience a place replete with a rare and fascinating fusion of surf, sea, sand and sunshine.

The park is open daily and its attentive-to-a-tee local rangers are always more than ready to provide you with an informative orientation on the park and guide you every step of the way as you traverse one of its two walking tracks.

The area’s vegetation thrives mainly on the dune’s eluvial sand and is a mosaic of both native and introduced species. From the first lookout, you will easily spot a gully robust with native trees such as sikeci, dilo and dakua.

This dry forest called driodrio (or darkness) is believed to be the gateway to the spirit world.

Locals say that when a falling star descends on the forest below, it means a village elder is about to pass on and embark on a journey to the realm of the dead.

Visitors can take the one-hour trail or the 30-minute walk to explore the dune’s unique ecosystem which includes an oasis of native trees, towering mahogany, swishing pandanus woodland, and an endless carpet of wines and grasses that help stabilise the sand and beautiful ripples of sand.

Towards the coast, you will find a number of herbaceous plants that locals have used as medicines to treat cuts and illnesses for countless generations.

You also get to see a noisy colony of bats, hung up high among tree branches, watch insects and native birds chorus from the boughs of its native dry forest or if lucky enough, you may stumble across other inhabitants like fluttering butterflies, the honey bees, Fiji Bush Warbler, White Collared Kingfisher and the Fiji Goshawk.

The dunes also hold old archaeological treasures that give rare glimpses into the lives of the Lapita people believed to be the first to settle in Fiji.

Because of the instability of the sand hills, strong winds continue to unearth evidence of the past including pottery shards more than 2600 years-old, stone tools, human remains and other archaeological relics.

If you are game enough stand at the summit of undulating sand ridges, some of which may rise to a height of up to 60 metres, and do the tadasana yoga pose while drawing in unadulterated ocean breezes and soaking up the tropical sunshine.

They say getting close to nature calms the mind, reduces stress and improves the body.

At the park, these are yours to enjoy for free.

The National Trust of Fiji was established in 1970 as a statutory authority charged with the conservation of Fiji’s natural heritage.

Its area of responsibility in Fiji includes the Momi World War II Gun Site, Borron House, the Island Sanctuary of the Crested Iguana (Yaduataba in Bua), the Conservation sites in Levuka, and the Garrick Rainforest Reserve in Serua.

Specially designed activities are available for those wanting to make their visit to the park a memorable experience.

Talk to the staff of the National Park who can put together a team-building recreational and educational program for your school, office or organisation. |

More Stories