This 2,850-hectare national park, created in 1978, stretches along the insular divide from the summits of Mt. Le Pu'e (840 meters), the double-cratered peak east of Afiamalu, and Mt. Fito (1,100 meters), highest point on Upolu, right down to the lava fields of O Le Pupu and the south coast. The park is intended to provide a habitat for the endangered Tongan fruit bat, or flying fox (Pteropus tonganus). In the past, these giant bats with one-and-a-half-meter wingspans would soar above the treetops at dusk, but illegal hunting has almost wiped them out.
At Togitogiga, 28 km south of Apia via the Cross Island Highway, five km east of Siumu junction and just a short walk from the main road, are beautiful Togitogiga Falls, good for swimming, wading, and diving. There are toilets, change rooms, and shelters at the falls. After heavy rains Togitogiga Falls becomes a raging torrent (admission is free). With the permission of the park staff, you may camp free near the falls for two nights maximum.
A rough four-km road begins two km west of the falls and leads across the lava fields to the black coastal cliffs in the southern section of the park. It probably isn't worthwhile to hike all the way down on foot and the road is too rough for a normal car, but you could do it in a jeep for fun. The O Le Pupu Trail follows the coast east from the end of the road, but the spent shotgun shells seen along the way are disheartening.
It's possible to do O Le Pupu-Pu'e National Park as a day trip by catching a Salani, Sapunaoa, or Vaovai bus from the markets in Apia, but you'll probably only have an hour or two at Togitogiga Falls. Ask the driver what time he'll be returning to Apia, or better, get together with other travelers from your hotel and rent a vehicle for the day.
Continue to Around Upolu: Southwestern »