Navala is the only village in Fiji which still has traditional thatched bure for houses. It’s nestled away in the Ba Highlands of the mainland. We decided to head up there to check it out.
We caught a bus up into the hills. Everyone was looking at us on the bus which was filled with a mixture of school children and workers heading home, they all asked if we were staying at the one lodge available for tourists near the village, which we were. As we started the descent, the road became extremely bumpy. The bus rattled along as the sun set over the erupting, rocky mountains and turned them from a glorious golden orange to a deep red before the colour melted away into darkness.
We awoke the next morning and, when we looked out the windows of our small cabin, we were in the middle of a lush tropical paradise. Palm trees and greenery were all around us, birds were calling and we could hear the Ba River rushing by at the bottom of the garden.
We visited the traditional village and saw how they live in their thatched houses, one family has two bures each, one for cooking in and one for sleeping in. Many of them still cook with firewood. Many of the bures had even withstood the strong winds of Winston. However, some which were in need of repair were blown down, so there were a few blue tents in the village for the time being.
The sides of the houses are made with bamboo and the roofs are thatched with a special type of grass, wooden beams hold the structure in place and are tied together with twine. The thatch needs to be replaced about every 3-4 years. It was great to see people still living this old-fashioned way of life.
We also went on a sunset horse ride which led us up to a peak.
We arrived just in time and got jaw-dropping 360 views of the sunsetting over the mountains, with the Ba river snaking around us below. No photo could ever do it justice! We then rode back in moonlight as the crickets sang all around us.
We spent the rest of our time swimming in the river and grooming each other for the head lice we’ve picked up from our time on Vanua Balavu. #glamour
We spent three nights in this remote and peaceful area which has some of the most stunning views I’ve ever witnessed. We really enjoyed seeing this area of Fiji which provides an alternative to the popular beaches.