|Mr Christopher B. (New Zealand) |
Saturday, October 01, 2011
This place was paradise, set high up on the mountain above Apia with amazing views. Very helpful, friendly staff. Good selection of wines, beer. It's quite far from Apia, so arrive with a good supply of snacks, etc. It's a 30 tala taxi ride into town or Dave himself will run you into Apia on his way to his shop in the morning. Good, simple western food. Lots of flying foxes to watch. Wish we were still there!
|Petri Hottola |
Saturday, February 28, 2009
On a small island there really is no need to stay in several places, if one has a vehicle to drive around. I spent my seven nights at the well known Cloud 9 Eco-Lodge, Dave Parker’s place. The lodge had one of the best sceneries I have seen, with great views to a birdy primary forest valley, and all the way to the sea beyond the town of Apia. It is a great place for observations with a telescope and bird photography, particularly for flight photographs. There are two wide verandas with shelter, chairs and tables, from where observations can also be made in a rainy weather, the best time being late afternoon, between 4 and 7 PM. Food and drinks are available on request.
There is a variety of accommodation in Apia, but clearly not quite as good deals (quality/price) as Cloud 9, even if you do not take the peaceful, secure location and bird watching opportunities into account. One should reserve rooms beforehand, a fact repeated on signs along the approach road, but do not worry if you are a foreign visitor without a reservation. Either contact their office in Apia, or drive straight in and you will not be turned down as long as there is space. During the hurricane season, the time of my visit, I had the place mostly for myself. In January 2009, they charged T90 (€22,50) per night, including a breakfast, in my case often times a take-away one. I also had my dinners there, for T24 (€5,50). The young lady who was in charge of the services has a great voice and likes to sing Samoan songs while cooking.
Almost every afternoon, I spent the last hours of the day on the Cloud 9 veranda, scanning the valley below, and sky between the lodge and the coast. Especially towards sunset, dove, pigeon and starling traffic was busy, becoming mixed with hundreds or up to two thousand ‘flying-foxes’ by sunset (Samoan and Tongan). Some larger trees close by had roosting fruit-bats also during the day, not to mention a good variety of birdlife. Pacific Pigeons, Purple-capped and Many-colored (the most numerous species) Fruit-Pigeons gave great views any time of the day. Flat-billed Kingfishers had a territory at the lodge yard, and were once visited by a Samoan Flycatcher. The treetops had Samoan Fantails, Samoan Whistlers (twice), Polynesian and Samoan (once) Trillers. Numerous Samoan Starlings and Cardinal Myzomelas were seen from the veranda. Once, a lone Mao was observed. Samoan Wattled Honeyeaters were almost as common as the Samoan Starlings, and one to five Polynesian Starlings were present every day.
Blue-crowned Lorikeets were uncommon but regularly seen flying by, or resting in the trees. Red-headed Parrot-finches were relatively difficult to observe at Cloud 9, only three being recorded flying over. The more unexpected birds included a late afternoon Australian Barn Owl (+ another calling), a single Wandering Tattler (!) and a juvenile Red-footed Booby, all close to the lodge. The only Island Thrush, Samoan subspecies and therefore a theoretical future split, was seen by the Cloud 9 access road, hopping across it in the afternoon. Black Noddies were regular over the forested valley, far inland, with a couple of dozen White Terns visible most of the time, together with several White-tailed Tropicbirds. All in all, the Cloud 9 had almost all the target species and would be a great spot to observe the Tooth-billed Pigeon, if they still existed so close to Apia.
|“The fact that we're going again next year says it all!” |
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We (2 couples) stayed in the lodge.The rooms were clean, beds very comfy and we had a magic time! Pristine rainforest, an abundance of wildlife, combined with peace and clean air made this a unique stay. We had a hire car, which meant we could come and go as we pleased, however there was never a problem with evening meals, and we felt really privelaged to have been given a wide variety of the local cuisine to try, including an evening umu and several local breakfast dishes. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff were always happy and available without being intrusive. We are going back in 2011!
Stayed June 2010