A tour with a difference in Savai’i

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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CHECKING OUT SAVAI’I: Lote with Savai’i’s prolific tour guide Warren Jopling taking a natural history tour of the big island.

CHECKING OUT SAVAI’I: Lote with Savai’i’s prolific tour guide Warren Jopling taking a natural history tour of the big island.

Taking time out to really take in and enjoy what’s right in front of you was the aim for Lote Hoffman’s Samoan getaway. 

The New Zealand born beauty, who resides in Mount Isaac, Australia, has been to Samoa before, but she felt this trip would be more about relaxation.

“Being half Samoan, I really feel a connection to Samoa and I came here when I heard my aunt’s husband was performing a concert at the Taumeasina Island Resort, which turned out awesome,” she said.

“I was really impressed with the high caliber of the set up which was really great and it just felt like you were at a well-planned outdoor concert like you’d find overseas.”

Working as a Business Analyst in the Mines is a full on job with its stresses and Lote was looking for some much needed relaxation, treating herself to staying at various resorts in Upolu and Savai’i.

“I’m an Accountant by trade and I’m working in the Mines as a Business Analyst. Living in Mount Isaac by myself it’s so isolating and there are not that many Samoan people there, so reconnecting with my family and having a relaxing holiday is the idea behind my travels.”

Lote has been resort hopping and treating herself to accommodations in some of the best hotels in Samoa, loving the different, but same high standard facilities they offered.

“I stayed at the Taumeasina Island Resort when I first got here and it was great. I’ve been here before, but last time, I only came here for dinner, so I thought to myself that this time round I would stay there. I just love that they have the ocean right there because I kayaked every day.  Aggie Greys Hotel is beautiful and the room service has been really good.”

Deciding to get out of the city life for a spell, Lote headed to Savai’i for a two-day trip staying at the Amoa Resort.

“I’ve been there before, but I just found it so beautiful. I kind of wanted just a couple of days of really relaxing and kicking back because I find that when I’m in Upolu, I’ve got so many things to do and places to be, everything’s happening – it’s like a faster life here, but in Savai’i they don’t have all of that there so you have no choice but to relax and enjoy that time.”

Following a recommendation she read on Trip Advisor, Lote decided that she wanted to see Savai’i in more depth and reached out to one of Savaii’s most prolific tour guides, Tuapou Warren Jopling, who was featured on Samoa Observer’s list of People of the Year. 

“It was awesome. I really enjoyed going around Savai’i with Warren, he is so knowledgeable and he knows so much about what’s underneath Savai’i and all the places you’ve heard about. He showed me diagrams and maps to really give me an in depth tour of Savai’i.”

Fulfilling a fantasy to visit the birth places of Samoan goddesses, one of the highlights of her Savai’i tour was visiting the Tafua crater.

“Ever since I read the Telesa series, I have always wanted to visit the places that the book mentioned and Warren actually took me up to the Tafua crater and apparently, no other tour guide in Savai’i does that. You couldn’t even see a path up there, but Warren knew exactly where to go and when we got up there, the view was absolutely stunning.”

“He told me so many interesting things, especially around the water reservoirs in Savai’i and I got a lesson in  why some villages need to drill out further inland to prevent the high levels of water salinity, he’s honestly an awesome tour guide.”

Lote returns to Australia this weekend, but before she goes, she looks forward to attending a family reunion of sorts and an 80th birthday, where she will perform a Cook Island/Tahitian inspired dance which she has been practicing all week.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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