Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is located on the Fiji island of Viti Levu near the mouth of the Sigatoka River. The national park encompasses an area of 0.68 square miles (1.77 sq km) making it one of the smallest national parks in the world.
The parabolic sand dunes reach heights between 65.6 to 196.85 feet (20 to 60 m). Hinterland erosion and traditional coastal dune development have created this sand dune ecosystem. The dunes are thousands of years old and the park serves as an archeological place as well with various discoveries. Along with human remains, there have been finds of pottery shards and stone tools.
The dunes are comprised of a fine greyish brown colored sediment that differs from the traditional fine sandy tan dunes in most places. Additionally, the dunes have vines and shrubs covering much of them.
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes were the first national park declared for the country of Fiji and often described as one of Fiji’s natural wonders.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes Highlights
The national park is less than a square mile and the sand dunes are the highlight of the national park. The dunes also have historical value as well. Excavations of the area reveal remnants of pottery, stone tools, and human remains. It appears it was also part of a burial site.
UNESCO has declared Sigatoka Sand Dunes as a World Heritage site with historical significance. With remains and artifacts still being discovered, universities from Fiji and around the world come to study and learn more about the historical significance.
The Sigatoka River originates on the western side of Mount Victoria. Mount Victoria has a summit of 4,344 feet (1,324 m) and is the highest mountain in Fiji. The mountain is the source of the river but it is not part of the national park.
The river flows 74.56 miles (120 km) where it will traverse through and end Sigatoka Sand Dunes where it serves as the mouth of the river. The river is lined with vegetation that flourishes in the tropical setting of the Fiji Islands.
Sigatoka River safaris are a popular tourist attraction but that is usually done further inland outside of the national park boundaries. However, it is a common experience for those who are on the island to enjoy the natural beauty of the dunes and the river. Taking advantage of both is a great way to gather the best facets of Fiji's nature.
Trails of Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
There are two different trails that explore this small national park. One of the treks takes about an hour with the other one taking about 2 hours. Both walks provide an exploration of the dunes
Short Trail: This one-hour trek meanders through the forest and ends in the dunes at the mouth of the Sigatoka River.
Long Trail: This 2 to 3-hour journey travels along the ridge of the sand dunes.
Apart from the trails, the majority of exploration is by exploration and hiking along the beach and over and through the dunes.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes Highlights
- Sigatoka Sand Dunes
- Sigatoka River
- Coral Coast Fiji, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, https://www.coralcoastfiji.org/activities/sigatoka-sand-dunes-national-park, retrieved October 2019.
- Coral Coast Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, https://www.coralcoastfiji.org/activities/sigatoka-river-safari, retrieved June 2020.
- Fiji, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, https://www.fiji.travel/us/activity/sigatoka-sand-dunes-national-park, retrieved October 2019.
- Lonely Planet, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/fiji/attractions/sigatoka-sand-dunes/a/poi-sig/1022680/362585, retrieved October 2019.
- Rough Guides, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/australasia/fiji/rural-viti-levu/south-viti-levu/sigatoka-sand-dunes-national-park/, retrieved October 2019.
- UNESCO, Sigatoka Sand Dunes, https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1375/, retrieved June 2020.
- Wikipedia, Sigatoka River, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigatoka_River, retrieved June 2020.