Navala’s tribute to tradition
Most people who visit Navala - Fiji’s most picturesque village - take the road inland from Ba; a small town on Viti Levu’s north-western coast.
It’s a scenic hour-long drive to the village, peppered with sugarcane fields, rural settlements and the occasional Hindu temple as the gravel road winds its way into the highlands.
At the Irish crossing near the village, children frolic in the shallows while women attend to their laundry and horses cool off under the trees. And there, on the opposite riverbank, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the traditional thatched ‘bures’ (Fijian huts) that make this remote village so special.
Navala didn’t start out in the typical fashion. It was built in the late 19th century when five remote highland villages decided to build a school for their children. Laying out an unusual cross-shaped central avenue, they built a church at it’s head and lined the cross-streets with dozens of thatched-roof ‘bures’.
Although shape and raw materials differ slightly by region, these rustic, open-plan huts are usually built on a stone platform, with woven split-bamboo or reed walls and a high, thatched roof.
It literally takes a village to construct and maintain them. During this time, several men work intermittently for up to two months before they’re completed.
Many more bures (and a few modern buildings) have been built since but when Navala decided to stick to its traditions in the 1950s, it gradually became Fiji’s best tribute to the past.
Several tour companies make day trips here organizing everything from logistics to lunch. Like all village visits in Fiji, you can expect to attend a welcoming kava ceremony before taking a tour of the village and exchanging stories with the locals.
Many Nadi-based tour companies organize day trips to Navala taking care of all logistic, guide(s), entry fees and village protocols.
Talanoa Treks Hiking Tours: Navala is the last stop on an exciting 3-day cross-island trek.
Bulou’s Eco Lodge: A rustic neighbouring lodge that organises sightseeing trips to Navala Village.
Don’t forget your camera! Pictures are welcome but it’s polite to ask before taking them.
Remember your manners! There are strict protocols to observe when visiting a Fijian village. Join an organised tour to avoid any embarrassing faux pas.