Ofu-Olosega

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia American Samoa Ofu-Olosega

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Introduction

Ofu and Olosega are parts of a volcanic doublet in the Manu‘a Group of the Samoan Islands - part of American Samoa. Archaeology field work carried out in the 1980s yielded pre-historic evidence including ceramics, adzes, shell and bone which have been significant in furthering understanding of the ancient history of the Samoa Islands and Polynesia. This included samples of red-slipped plainware ceramics that appeared to be in the tradition of the Lapita culture. The work, carried out by a team that included Pacific archaeology specialist Patrick Vinton Kirch, focused on a site called To'aga (site AS-13-1), a 2 kilometre-long coastal stretch on the south coast of Ofu. The results showed continuous human habitation of about 3,000 years.

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Geography

The twin islands, formed from shield volcanoes, have a combined length of 6 kilometres and an area of 12 square kilometres; their population is about 500 people. They are geographic volcanic remnants separated by the narrow 137-metre-wide Asaga strait, a natural bridge of shallow coral reef. Before 1970, one had to wade between the two islands at low tide; now a single-lane road bridge over the strait connects villages on Ofu island with those on Olosega.

The highest peak on Ofu is Mount Tumutumu (491 metres), also referred to as Tumu) and the highest elevation on Olosega is Mount Piumafua (629 metres). The most recent volcanic eruption took place in 1866, 3 kilometres south east of Olosega.

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Sights and Activities

American Samoa National Park

The American Samoa National Park has a lot to offer for those travellers keen on the very best of nature in the world. The shorelines, reefs and rainforest are of outstanding beauty. The park actually is actually divided into three parks on four separate islands! Lata Mountain on Ta’u has wild and remote forests, free-flowing streams, and rugged coastline. It occupies 2,160 hectares of land with highlights including a spectacular escarpment along the southern side and cliffs up to 900 metres high. The the impressive Judds Crater tops things of. To add, the lowlands and rainforests are home to fruit bats and many native birds. Islands like Ofu and Olosega have are a bit different in that they have the most accessible coral reefs and also more and longer white-sanded beaches against a dramatic background. The fourth island, Tutuila even has forests accesible by car and also great wildlife and o course a scenic coastline. Basically, all four islands are actually extinct volcanoes heavily eroded to rugged peaks when the Pacific Plate moved and eruptions from within the earth together made this gift of nature.

Ofu beach

Ofu beach is one of the highlights of this island. It is located along the southern coast and is an impressive 4 kilometres long. It boasts fine white sand, palm fringed beaches and turquoise waters as its front garden. These offshore waters are good for viewinig beautiful corals and tropical fish. There are almost 300 species of fish and an estimated 150 species of coral. Excellent for diving and snorkelling. Or just laze around a bit of course.

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Events and Festivals

American Samoa Flag Day

Each April 17, the people of American Samoa celebrate the day the first United States flag was raised above their territory in 1900. Several homes and offices proudly fly both the Stars and Stripes and American Samoa’s own flag during this lively two-day celebration filled with feasts, parades, cricket matches, and traditional fautasi longboat races. Fagatogo hosts a fun traditional dance and music competition.

National Tourism Week

American Samoa now owes at least one-quarter of its gross domestic product to tourism, and during the first week in May, the territory celebrates this growing sector of its economy with this lower key equivalent to the Teuila Festival in neighboring Samoa. The festival’s highlight is undoubtedly the annual Miss American Samoa crowning on Utulei Beach, but locals and tourists also enjoy parades, canoe races, fireworks, and barbecues throughout the week.

Manu’a Cession Day

On July 16, the three tiny Manu’a islands celebrate their 1904 addition to the United States territory of American Samoa with this festival filled with flag raising, church choirs, and traditional Samoan entertainment. Although Olosega, Ofu, and Ta’u can only be reached by boat or air and there is only one major hotel on all three Manu’a islands, those able to make the trip can celebrate among some of American Samoa’s most beautiful coral reefs.

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Weather

Ofu-Olosega has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures hoover around 30 °C throughout the year and never drop much lower than 23 °C or 24 °C at night. Temperatures are slightly higher during the wetter November to March period and slightly lower between April and October. This last period is the best season to visit as it rains less (but still significantly) and there is almost no chance of hurricanes, which can strike from December to March.

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Getting There

Ofu has a small airport (IATA: OFU, ICAO: NSAS) and a boat harbor that serve the population on Ofu and Olosega. Before regular airline service was discontinued in 2009, the flight from Pago Pago took about half an hour.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 12:26 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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