• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
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    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of the Solomon Islands


Solomon Geography - Landscape

The Solomon Islands lie in Melanesia and consist of two parallel island chains running northwest to southeast. The islands are actually a part of the Australian continental plate and are volcanic in origin and hence are mountainous. The highest point in the country is Mt. Makarakomburu, which is over 8,100 feet (2,400 meters).

The country is primarily made up of six large islands, including Guadalcanal, Malaita, New Georgia, Makira, Santa Isabel, and Choiseul. All the main islands are heavily forested and mountainous as each is home to numerous rivers. Due to this water and the fertile soil from the volcanic islands farming is common and the islands are easy to live on.

Most people living on the Solomon Islands are Melanesian and arrived from the nearby islands that make up part of Papua New Guinea to the northwest despite the fact that nearby ocean current run from the northeast to the south, west, or southwest. However, these ocean currents aren't enough to attract regular visitors so over time the people on the Solomon Islands became almost completely isolated and developed a unique culture.


Solomon Geography - Palm trees
Palm trees

The Solomon Islands' weather is hot, humid, rainy, and fairly predictable, although huge variations can exist within the country. This climate makes the country ideal for crop growth and human settlement as the rains and temperatures are somewhat regular. These rains allow the people to grow numerous foods, it gives them access to fresh water, and these conditions also allow animals to thrive, although few animals exist on the islands.

There are two basic seasons in the Solomon Islands: the dry season, which is a bit cooler and runs from about June to November and the wet season, which is hotter and runs from about January to May. Since the differences between "hot" and "cold" in the Solomon Islands are nearly negligible, the real difference in seasons is rainfall. Rainfall also varies slightly by geography as some mountainous islands and areas seem to squeeze more rain out of the clouds than other parts of the country.

During the dry season (June-November) daily lows average about 72° F (22-23° C) (at night), but daily highs are around 86° F (29-31° C) in Honiara. Elsewhere the temperatures vary slightly as the city of Munda has nearly the same daily highs, but lows average 78° F (25-26° C). The average amount of rainfall in most of the country during this season is about 4 inches (100 mm) a month.

The rest of the year is almost identical in regards to temperature, but the humidity rises and the rains increase, peaking in December to March. The months of December to March average over 8 inches (200 mm) of rain in most of the country, but Honiara averages over 12 inches (300 mm) during this season, and the southern part of Guadalcanal tends to get significantly more rain (over 3 feet (1 meter) of rain each month). The rainy season is also cyclone season, but major cyclones are rare as they only occur every dozen years or so, although they can arrive in quick succession and small cyclones occur nearly every year.


Solomon Wildlife - Saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodile

As an island nation the number of native plants and animals in the Solomon Islands are severely limited, but the nearby island of New Guinea gives the Solomon Islands easy access to numerous plants and animals that have arrived over time in various methods. Despite the close proximity to other land masses, native land animals are almost completely absent and the native plant life is small; only the migrating birds and sea life had any significant presence on these islands in the past. However, thousands of plants and animals have arrived to the Solomon Islands from numerous places, including New Guinea, as people, winds, birds, and oceanic currents brought with them new seeds, plants, and animals.

Since most mammals are land animals there were no native mammals to the Solomon Islands, although a few bat species that could fly from island to island arrived early in the island's history. Other than this, no land mammals existed on the islands until the arrival of the earliest people, who came from the region of New Guinea and brought with them pigs, dogs, and rats by the 1200s if not earlier.

The other historic mammals present in the Solomon Islands came in the way of the sea life as dolphins and whales are present in the water surrounding the islands. These waters are also filled with thousands of fish, shellfish, and other forms of sea life. In these waters you can find surgeonfish, clownfish, puffer fish, butterfly fish, grouper, barracuda, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, krill, crab, seahorses, rays, sharks, jellyfish, starfish, and sea urchins among many others.

Solomon Island Wildlife - Breadfruit tree
Breadfruit tree

Due to the overwhelming amount of water, it is not a surprise that most of the birds in the Solomon Islands are migratory birds or water fowls. The bird life includes rails, white-eyes, fantails, thrushes, honeyeaters, and parrots among others.

Like the mammalian life in the Solomon Islands, the reptilian and amphibious life is fairly limited. The most common of these animals are those adapted to the water and swimming as sea turtles and the saltwater crocodile can be found in the nearby waters. The islands are limited to a couple lizard species, frogs, and some snakes.

The insect and other small animal life is fairly diverse as many insects can fly or float and have made their way to the Solomon Islands. These animals include butterflies, bees, ants, flies, snails, and worms among others.

Like the native animal life, the native plant life is very limited. It is doubtful any plants originated in the Solomon Islands other than some local flowers and grasses. However the winds and water currents have taken seeds to the islands and in other cases birds and people have transported seeds to the islands. Because of this many of the most common plants native to the nearby islands of New Guinea and those further west have arrived to the Solomon Islands. These plants include coconuts, taro, breadfruit, bananas, yams, lemons, sugar, and perhaps even rice arrived in the islands during early human history.

There is also a substantial presence of other, non-edible, trees and plants, including orchids, ferns, mosses, mangrove trees, palm trees, and pandanus trees.

This page was last updated: November, 2013