Your host at Malevu is Toye Momonikese who speaks excellent English and is a well respected member of the village. Malevu was first inhabited many centuries ago by Fijians who spotted the village from the mainland of Viti Levu and decided to paddle across and settle there.
Image right: The greeting party at Malevu
The village of Malevu is on the east side of Naviti Island in the central Yasawa (see map) in the centre of a beautiful sandy beach stretching miles and miles. Naviti is a large island ideally located in the central part of the Yasawa Islands.
Before fijibure.com the only form of income was selling crops such as Yams to the backpacker resorts on the Yasawas.
Image right: a harvest of Yam on its way to the resorts
There are about 200 people living in Malevu. Your first impressions of Malevu are a small village beautifully maintained with houses separated by walkways marked with white stones. For tourists visiting Malevu there are proper beds on offer with your Fijian hosts during your Fiji Holidays.
There are some fantastic traditional activities that are unique to Malevu including sunset picnics on the beautiful beach, snorkelling in the waters near a tiny island, mountain walks etc. Your host, Toye, will take you on various activities. Other activities include lovely relaxing walks around Naviti Island and a boat cruise around the island lasting about three hours. As you will see on the activities page the fascinating island is normally off-limits to tourists and even the local inhabitants.
When it comes to insects, frogs, shells and animals the island of Naviti is unique. It has an amazing abundance of butterflies - all colours, sizes and types - wherever you go. There are no frogs, nor mongoose (which are everywhere on the mainland Viti Levu) or mosquitos (that I experienced in the village in June with windows open and no netting). There are no snakes on the island and only a few bird varieties. In fact I never saw a fly on the island either!!! With the long beaches it is a shell collector's heaven - our host offers shells for sale at a very low cost.
While there are flies I never had any hovering around my Fijian meals!
Image right: Butterflies even come into the village houses!
Fijian villagers are very healthy and believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Image right: a village scene
It is important to note that Fijian villagers are offended by bikinis or scant clothing worn in the village area - be safe and wear clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Do NOT wear hats in the village.
However, if you go to the beach away from the village treat it like any other - and get a great suntan in a bikini!
There is a telephone in the Community Hall at Malevu - you will need to buy a Tele Card to use it and it does not support international calls..
You will enjoy the most incredible and memorable holiday adventures whether walking along the secluded beaches, collecting shells, snorkelling or enjoying some of the unique activities on offer. At Malevu you will, from the moment you step into the village, be accepted into the community. You will, in true Fiji-time, be able to participate in traditional ceremonies, like Kava drinking in the "vale ni so qo" (or large community hall), dancing and singing as well as swimming in the sea, snorkeling in a beautiful location, relaxing. Alternatively you can just lie under the moon and watch the sea break gently at your feet.
Image right: the crystal clear waters off Malevu beach
It is important to note that the "man is boss" in the traditional Fijian community so you will find the village women doing all the household work, cooking, etc. Tourists to the village are welcome to participate in the kitchen, washing etc... but this is entirely optional although you will enjoy chatting to the women about their experiences at Malevu. All food, washing etc.. is done for you by the women in the village - and these costs are included in the cost of accommodation. Once again you are not expected to do anything but relax and do what you wish, but for those who want to take a step back in time this is an unforgettable experience well worth considering.
If you have children this will be a holiday and experience of a lifetime as they are immediately welcomed into the fold by Fijian kids of all ages - about 60 of them! (Bring a small rugby ball with you and your kids will be kept occupied for your entire stay! Simple things like balloons and sweets are a firm favourite.)
While the local Malevu Fijian dialect may be spoken by villagers English is understood by the villagers. (Fijian translation of common greetings can be seen at this link).
Malevu is the ultimate backpacker adventure. You are in a safe environment, welcomed into a friendly community from the moment you arrive - and you have the island and beautiful beaches of Malevu to explore.
When you arrive at Malevu there is a very simple traditional ceremony that you can participate in. When the villagers gather in their community hall they welcome guests at a Kava ceremony known as a "sevu sevu". An elder from the village will welcome you and the man or male spokesman for your group, at this time, is expected to make a short speech and provide a small gift to the village (such as 1kg of powdered Kava - which cost about F$20 or US$10). Once these formalities are over your host Toye will keep you informed of future Kava celebrations, entertainment or other activities taking place during your stay. (A big wooden drum is often beaten to alert villagers of celebrations, church services and other community activities).
More on kava at this link
The transport costs and transport options are detailed at this link.
Please do not tender credit cards to the village as they do not have those sort of banking facilities - cash is king. There are plenty of ATM machines at Nadi and Lautoka.
Image right: The ladies of the village chat
Gifts and Village Funds:
If you are thinking of bringing gifts consider bringing practical things like books, notepads, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners that can be used in the school. If you have children consider bringing a gift of a rugby ball, tennis balls, cricket gear, balloons etc for the village... a great ice breaker and your kids will have a great time. This option is entirely up to you and is not expected.
There is also a village fund which has been set up at the request of past guests. The village fund is contributed to by guests, but it is important to know that donations are voluntary and you are NOT expected to donate to the funds. The funds are administered by the village mataqali (or elders) without any outside influence.
The two village funds are:
a building fund which is used in identified projects that help the entire community; and
micro-financing - a fund which is used to finance small enterprises that individuals or groups of villagers in each village want to set up. The money is loaned interest free and with no strings attached. The recipient is morally bound to return the money once he has started earning an income from his enterprise so that the money can be used again to help someone else in the village.
There will be a poster in your guest room in the village which tells you more about the village funds, alternatively you can discuss them with your host.