Nukusere (literally meaning "singing sands") is a small village with about 250 inhabitants. The village lies below the junction of two beautiful rivers, the Wainikoroilova and Wainitonuve on a bank overlooking the Navua River (see map). Nukusere is a poor, almost third world village and accommodation reflects this at this time. Homestay guests will sleep on a very basic double bed. With the money received from visitors in these early days a few "upmarket" bures will be built on the river banks below the village. Despite its shortfallings from accepted "western" standards its isolation from our "western ways" makes it one of the most traditional of all the villages on FijiBure.Com. The villagers cultivate kava, toro, banana, tomato, cabbage, pineapple and cucumber.
In April 2004 the village was hit with over 400mm of rain in just seven hours - the damage to the riverbanks can still be seen!
Before we started village homestays here Nukusere was only seen by visitors on a popular day tour. Nukusere's two largest buildings are the church and community hall.
Water and Electricity:
Nukusere boast flush toilets outside the bure (bring a torch). Water is tapped directly from the river is purer than that you find bottled in stores and the (cold) community showers for washing hair etc are in the open. The nearby river is the best place to have a scintillating all over bath.... the cool and crystal clear mountain waters are pure magic on the skin once you get over the initial resistance of the cold. 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.
However, if you go out on a river adventure by yourselves go skinny dipping in the most private paradise on earth during your Fiji Holidays!
There is electricity in Nukusere - 240v from a generator which is switched on each day between 7pm and 10.30pm. All houses have power.
Fijian villagers are very healthy and believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
We assure you that this will be the most incredible and memorable holiday adventure that you could embark on (see the on-line links below). At Nukusere 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 exploring the rivers and banks, bare-back horse riding, swimming, relaxing and visiting the beautiful and isolated Wainuta 30 metre high waterfall (image right). The wind created by the water falling down the rock face at Wainuta is so strong it will gently tug at your clothes. (All these options are available to visitors at no extra cost). If you enjoy fishing the two rivers provide an excellent fishing playground with trout, travelli and fresh water prawns etc...
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 Nukusere. 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 on the river banks where they cultivate taro (a potato-like vegetable), Kava or a form of giant asparagus known as Dromo-Dromo. 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 - nearly 100 of them! The "village green" which separates two rows of houses at Nukusere 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.) You might want to just go swimming or for a soaking bath in the beautiful Navua river (right)!
Children might also like to spend some time joining the Fijian children in their well-presented classrooms at the nearby village of Namuamua to see how Fijian teachers go about their work - again this is totally optional.
Nukusere has a small kindergarten.
While the local Nukusere Fijian dialect may be spoken by villagers we all speak English. (Fijian translation of common greetings can be seen at this link).
Nukusere is the ultimate backpacker adventure. You are in a safe environment, welcomed into a friendly, isolated community from the moment you arrive but have a natural playground, centered around two beautiful rivers, to explore.
When you arrive at Nukusere there is a very simple traditional ceremony that you will be expected to participate in. The villagers gather in their community hall soon after you arrive and 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 (like 1kg of powdered Kava which cost about F$20). Once these formalities are over your guide Arami 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
Payment for accommodation is made to Sakiusa when he meets you at Navua Town. There are plenty of ATM machines on the way to Nukusere - they can be found at Nadi, Sigatoka, Pacific Harbour and Suva.
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.
First hand experience of a day tour to Nukusere