Naroro (literally means "umbrella - or protection from the weather") is a small village with about 200 inhabitants. The village lies just 4 kilometers inland from the large town of Sigatoka on the main island of Viti Levu (see map). Visitors to Naroro can expect to sleep on a proper bed. Your host Sireli Kurivitu comes from a prominent family who manage and own the famous Tavuni Hill Fort monument. Like his forefathers Sireli has Tongan blood running through his veins.
Image right: Sireli in the village green under the towering Tavuni Hill
Tavuni Hill is an amazing place to visit there are the remains of a temple, a Tongan Chief's home and rock wall that towers over the Sigatoka river. The fresh mussel shells once eaten by this old Tongan tribe hundreds of years ago still scatter the ground. The most famous historic site is the 2,500 year old stone where men and women were placed before they were killed.
The views from Tavuni Hill are quite fantastic!
Naroro's largest building is a church which doubles as the community hall. The churches are very active among this devout community.
The hosts at Naroro provide flush toilets and showers. Water is tapped directly from the Sigatoka river.
There is a reliable source of electricity in Naroro with the powerlines leading directly into the village. All houses have power.
Fijian villagers are very healthy and believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
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 during your Fiji holidays.
However, if you go to the beautiful secluded beaches nearby treat it like any other - and get a great suntan in a bikini!
There are no public telephone in Naroro but the Easy Tel System is operational here - ask your host how to make a phone call.
You will enjoy the most incredible and memorable holiday adventures whether walking through the ruins of Tavuni Hill or enjoying the other unique activities on offer. At Naroro 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 community hall), dancing and singing as well as swimming in the Sigatoka River, watching as the villagers hunt wild pig or catch fresh water mussels.
Image right: Sireli in front of the church at Naroro, right below one of the beds at Naroro
Alternatively you can take a stroll to the big town of Sigatoka and look around the shops or have dinner there.
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 Naroro. All food, washing etc.. is done for you by the women in the village - and these costs are included in the cost of accommodation. You might also enjoy joining the men either to watch or participate in their traditional farming practices. 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.
The Naroro band would have published many music CDs if it had not been for their isolation in Fiji.
Their music on the ukelele and guitar is excellent and is a major contribution to our first music CD.
Click on the image right to preview the FijiBure.com music CD they participated in.
You can order the CD on-line from this link.
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 - over 100 of them! The "village green" which separates two rows of houses at Naroro is perfect for a game of cricket, soccer, rugby or other ball games that the Fijian kids just love playing. (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.)
Children might also like to spend some time joining the Fijian children in their classrooms to see how Fijian teachers go about their work - again this is totally optional - one thing for sure there is no shortage of activities for the family!
While the local Naroro Fijian dialect may be spoken by villagers they all speak English. (Fijian translation of common greetings can be seen at this link).
Naroro is the ultimate backpacker adventure. You are in a safe environment, welcomed into a friendly community from the moment you arrive but have a natural playground, centered around the Coral Coast to explore.
When you arrive at Naroro there is a very simple traditional ceremony "sevu sevu" that you can participate in. When the villagers gather in their community hall they welcome guests at a Kava ceremony. 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 hosts Simon and Judith 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
Payments for the taxi will be organised directly with your taxi driver while accommodation should be paid in cash to your host, Sireli, on arrival at Naroro. 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 on the way to Naroro - they can be found at Nadi, Sigatoka, Pacific Harbour and Suva. (Simon, who will collect you, will help you here).
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.
Tavuni Hill - images and comments
History of Fiji