SIBC tours Tenaru Falls: but is logging ruining the site for future generations?
It is one of the most amazing sites in the central Guadalcanal area, if not the whole Solomon Islands.
Tenaru Falls – a 60m waterfall and natural force to be reckoned with – is a true spectacle.
But the first step is getting there. And it is quite a trek.
SIBC took off from the dusty and crowded streets of central Honiara at about midday, heading east of the city towards Parangiju Inland Lodge.
The Lodge is about an hour’s drive from Honiara, up a steep and treacherous road that, at times, SIBC’s little mini Pajero struggled with.
But we got there.
On arrival we were met by our guide Robbinson Thomas, and started the hour-long walk down the steep and muddy terrain towards the falls.
The jungle is spectacular, and once you hit the sparkling, pristine Chea River, the rumble gets louder.
It is like the waterfall is almost calling out your name.
Then, through the thick and humid jungle, it appears in all its beauty.
Robbinson Thomas told SIBC the custom story behind the waterfall.
“Two tribes run the area,” he said as the waterfall rumbled in the background. “The left side is run by the Halisia tribe and the right side is owned by the Soto tribe.
Watch the video of the falls below:
“During ancient times it was forbidden (to come here). If you wanted to come you had to do a ritual.
For the original owners it is a sacred place – other people can enter – but they don’t without the ritual conducted by an elder.
“They can’t go there because during ancient times there were two witches, they represented the two waterfalls,” he said.
But there are more pressing issues for the waterfall – and it doesn’t include witchcraft.
Logging upstream has turned the area at the bottom of the falls from green to brown – a result of mud dropping down the waterfall from upstream.
Mr Thomas said the river also used to flow much stronger. The reduced flow was another result of logging, he said.
The falls, which have the indigenous name of Sasavu Chea, once used to flow on both sides. Now that only happens during strong rain- another imapct of logging.
But for the moment the falls are still a spectacular site.
Lets hope it lasts for the next generation.