Makira-Ulawa Province

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Solomon Islands Makira-Ulawa Province

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Introduction

Makira-Ulawa Province is one of the provinces of the Solomon Islands. The main part of the province is Makira Island. The capital is Kirakira. Makira-Ulawa Province includes Makira (San Cristobal), Ulawa, Uki Ni Masi, Owaraha (Santa Ana), Owariki (Santa Catalina), Pio and others.

Makira-Ulawa people are mostly Melanesian and their traditional dances and rituals are still strongly kept, especially in the islands of Santa Ana (Owaraha), Santa Catalina (Owariki), Uki-ni-masi and Ulawa.

On Makira, six languages are spoken: Arosi, Bauro, Fagani, Kahua, Owa en Tikopia. The Bauro speakers have been considered to be the most isolated and conservative of the Makira groups

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Geography

Makira Island is 3090 km² large: 139 kilometres long by 40 kilometres wide at around the centre of the island. Mountains run like a spine down the island's center: the highest point reaches 1040 metres, then falls steeply to the sea along its southern shore. Many rivers penetrate the island in roughly parallel lines every two to five kilometers. Makira has more inland swamps - and saltwater crocodiles - than any other island in the Solomon Islands. Its coast is the only part of the Solomons where the rare Olive, or Pacific Ridley, turtle is known to visit and nest.

Because Makira Island was isolated for long stretches of time during periods of high sea level, a wide variety of unique plants and animals evolved. For example, 12 of its 70 resident species of birds are endemic, as are two species of trees, both figs (Ficus cristobalensis and Ficus illiberalis). This uniqueness highlights the importance of preserving Makira's forest habitat.

Makira is also among the most important islands in the country for birds. There are some bird watching spots on the island. At the village of Hauta, situated hundreds of metres above sea level, at the Bauro inland region an established conservation area exists. However, one requires a permission to visit, which can be acquired from the Provincial Office at Kirakira.

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Islands

  • Ali'ite
  • Makira (San Cristobal)
  • Malaulalo
  • Malaupaina
  • Owaraha (Santa Ana)
  • Owariki (Santa Catalina)
  • Pio
  • Ugi
  • Ulawa

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Events and Festivals

National public holidays in the Solomon Islands are as follows:

  • New Year's Day - January 1. Most of the celebrations for New Year are around Honiara. However, the resorts around the country, especially beach resorts, generally organize something for tourists. If visitors find themselves along Mendana Avenue in Honiara, they should keep an eye on personal possessions, particularly when a crowd is around.
  • Good Friday to Easter Monday - Easter is an important celebration in most areas of the Solomon Islands, especially in larger cities when Christianity is practiced by the majority of the population. Honiara usually hosts a fun run during this day, and going to Mass is a wonderful way to get involved with the people.
  • Queen's Birthday, June 10
  • Independence Day - This is one of the most important days of the year for locals. Independence Day in the Solomon Islands occurs on July 7 each year. Basically, thousands of natives flock to the capital city, Honiara. Here, a range of parades, performances and celebrations are held. Tourists will need to book a hotel in advance if they are going to travel to the capital during Independence Day celebrations.
  • Christmas Day - On the 25 December, Christmas brings much joy to the people of the Solomon Islands. Most locals will move back to their home towns outside of Honiara, or visit relatives who live in the rural areas. Honiara becomes quiet for a few days. Nevertheless, churches and community halls usually hold an event or gathering on Christmas, so tourists shouldn’t feel left out.
  • National Day of Thanksgiving, December 26

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Weather

Makira-Ulawa Province has a tropical climate with temperatures averaging 28 °C in coastal areas. May to November tends to be the drier time of the year with June to August being the coolest months of the year. The northwest monsoon season is from November to March, bringing with it warmer and wetter weather and occasional cyclones. The annual average amount of precipitation is around 3,000 mm, though locally places can get much wetter.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 13:26 on May 29, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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