Our plan for the day was to head to the Navala Village, a traditional and simple living village found in the middle of Fiji!
Our guide for the day Isaac, the father of Ryan who owns Tours By Locals Fiji, picked us up from our accommodation at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji at 8:30am in his 4WD and we set off on our adventure!
Our journey to the Navala Village took about 2 hours from our accomodation and although you can hire a car and drive yourself to the Village, once you turn off the main road there's about a half an hour drive of steep and uneven gravel road. We had a Suzuki Swift travel behind us which managed to make it through the conditions though.
Once we entered Navala Village we were welcomed by one of the village locals who showed us around the village. We learned that the bures (their homes) are made from bamboo and elephant grass and with the whole village stepping in to help build one, it only takes them 5 days.
They only build in the month of November as this is their quiet time of the year where there are no events and it's school holidays. There are 183 bures in total in this village with a population of 1000 villagers which make up several clans.
We were welcomed inside one of the bures to enjoy a delicious lunch with a family. The family won't eat until visitors have finished first. The family also had homemade souvenirs which were available for purchase but unfortunately we didn't have cash on us and they don't have eftpos facilities, so if you wish to support the village by purchasing products, be sure to take cash with you.
We had the opportunity to mingle with some of the children while they were on their lunch break from school and I have to say, these children are so friendly, respectful and love when visitors come to their village. They are so full of happiness, their smiles are contagious and they love it when they get their photo taken. I was very impressed by the quality of their schooling and education facilities. We had a look around the classrooms while the children were in the hall and what they are learning is very similar to our Australian primary schools.
The people in Navala Village are so welcoming and are so happy to show you around and I would highly recommend giving the Navala Village a visit if you are looking for an authentic and traditional experience!