Hiking Tenaru Falls
So far we’ve been pretty lucky in terms of organising weekend activities. If you can make enough enterprising friends, just sit back and wait for the invites to roll in. Smart people take all the funs without the responsibility.
However, if you find that you’re the one doing the organising, the first step in organising any hike in the Solomon Islands is making sure you have a guide and paying the kastom fee. Guides will show you the way because you’ll never be able to find your way anywhere without one, and kastom fees are your koha to the village for letting you walk on their land.
The Tenaru hike is a bit special in this regard as it has two villages that currently dispute ownership over the land. I have one friend who attempted to do the hike this year but stopped 10 minutes into it when an angry woman, fist shaking, kicked them off the land because they’d paid the wrong person/village.
The details below are contacts that the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau have provided so presumably that means you shouldn’t run into any issues. Presumably, but not guaranteed.
Chief Peter: 737 0130
Elijah Sylverio: 757 6794
Stephen: 740 5220
Cost: $100-$150 per person
Car Parking: $50 per ca
(Details as at September 2017)
There is more than one starting point so I won’t bother putting down any directions as it will depend on your guide. However, all of the starting points will see you driving east out of town, past the airport, turning right at the Parangiju Lodge turn-off and past St Joseph’s School.
Our starting point on this occasion was a small village in the valley. We left the cars here for $50 SBD each and set off with two guides for the 20 of us. Starting from the valley means the walk is relatively easy and flat the whole way through. It’s so flat it’s almost boring. The track crosses the river throughout but at this time of the year, none of the crossings were over knee-deep. This is probably a good thing because I imagine shallow and clear water makes it a lot easier to spot lurking crocs much like these ones that were caught from the same river not long after we finished the walk.
We found the hike relatively cruisy. Relative being the key word here, as this is compared to the other Solomon Islands walks we’ve been on. The trail goes through a fair bit of jungle with many parts cutting across the river banks. Walking through the water is a refreshing disruption from the heat, but also means there isn’t any cover. We’d recommend wearing hardy shoes that are fit for all terrain because not everyone came out of the walk with their shoes intact.
Tenaru Falls is a stunning and spectacular fall. The ‘reward received’ to ‘effort exerted’ ratio is pretty high. Other waterfalls we’ve seen in the Solomons are pretty in comparison to the 60m ruggedness of Tenaru. The recent rain meant the falls were a greenish-brown rather than the usual blue but nonetheless, still majestic. There are actually two falls here usually but during the dry season we only saw one. You can swim here and the locals have jumping spots if you’re into that kind of thing.
The walk there should take about an hour and a half, a little longer if you have a slower group. It isn’t as exciting as other walks we’ve done but the falls at the end definitely make it worth the trip.
Start early – between 7 am to 8:30 am. Keep in mind your shoes will take a beating. Take snacks. Ok to take dogs on a leash and kids over 10. Be wary of aggrieved villagers.