Experience the Culture & Spirit of the Fiji Islands
Fiji is one of the happiest places in the world, making the Fijian people extremely friendly, welcoming, and hospitable. Experience the rich culture of the island during your stay with weekly cultural entertainment and excursions, from a dinner show at Main Bure restuarant to exploring the villages and towns in the surrounding area and meeting locals in person. Craft your stay at Namale to be fully immersive in Fiji culture and experience the meaning of the “bula spirit,” the Fijian way of life that celebrates life, happiness, and appreciation for all things.
Kava Drinking Ceremonies
Kava is the national drink of Fiji, and the Kava Ceremony is an essential experience of the local culture. Kava is made when the crushed root of the Yaqona plant (a relative of the pepper plant) is strained with water into a large communal bowl (a tanoa, or kava bowl). A mild sedative, Kava is relaxing and sometimes numbs the lips and mouth. But, the most integral part of the Kava drinking ceremony is the communal aspect, as ceremonies are often organized to welcome visitors, to mark important occasions, or to celebrate friendship. It is a way to bring locals and travelers together and is a symbol of respect, warmth, and hospitality. Served in a half coconut shell (bilo in Fijian), try a high tide (full cup) or low tide (half cup) – but be sure to clap once and say bula! before you drink, and clap three times after.
Fijian Meke Performance
Meke is a thrilling performance of traditional song and dance which tells the history, love stories, and legends of Fiji. It’s a wonderful way to experience the spirit of the islands while watching the vakatara (orchestra) and mantara (dancers) in full traditional dress perform rhythmic movements set to percussive drumming and clapping. Watch traditional Fijian warriors perform an exciting spear dance, followed by a graceful fan dance performed by the women of the village. Villagers of all ages, from babies to elders, take part in the special performance. After the completion of the meke, guests are invited to join the group for a taralala, a simple group dance full of energy and community among locals and guests.
Traditional Village Tour
Get a glimpse of daily life in a local Fijian village. Vivilli village is located right across the street from Namale, and Naidi village is a quick 5 minute drive in our air conditioned transfer. A local village tour is a truly unique way to experience traditional local life. Upon arriving in a Fijian village, it is customary for someone from the group, along with our Namale tour guide, to present the village chief with an offering of kava root to show respect and thank them for allowing the group to visit. Once this ceremony is completed, take a walking tour of the village, exploring the church, community gathering places, and local homes. Meet hordes of excited children eager to greet you, and peruse handmade goods crafted by the women villagers. Learn about the ways of village life, from living without electricity to communal cooking to social life, and get a true taste of the culture of the island.
Church Visit & Sunday Choir
Every Sunday evening at Namale the local church choir comes to serenade guests with beautiful songs during cocktail hour and dinner. Or if you’d like, join the community for a Sunday service at the local church and experience the energy and impact of faith in Fiji. At the church, get the chance to meet and mingle with the choir group and hear about their local church. Namale’s activities staff will guide and transport you to the nearby church, a humble and beautiful building tucked amongst the village and the rainforest.
Lovo is a community feast prepared in a traditional earthen pit. To cook lovo, chicken, fish, and pork are wrapped in palm fronds or banana leaves are placed into a pit dug into the ground and lined with hot stones. Then, root vegetables native to Fiji like dalo (root of the taro plant), cassava (root of the tapioca plant), and uvi (wild yams) are added to the mix, and the pit is covered with earth and coconut palms to create an underground oven. What emerges hours later is a smoky, delicious barbecue, served buffet style in our Walu Restaurant.
Nearly 40% of Fiji’s population is Indo-Fijian, and Namale’s weekly Indo-Fijian night is dedicated to celebrating Indian cultural influences. Enjoy a festive setting in Main Bure restaurant created by special decor while watching an evening show featuring an Indo-Fijian band and Bollywood-style modern dance. Indulge in unique menus featuring a sampling of Indo-Fijian cuisine, curries, and sweet and savory bites. Plus, enjoy complimentary Mendhi (temporary henna tattoos) at our special mendhi station on Main Bure’s front deck.
Pearl Farm Tour
Discover the farming and cultivating process of some of the world’s rarest saltwater pearls, grown and harvested right in Savusavu Bay. Let our activities staff schedule you an affordable tour with local operator J. Hunter Pearls, and snorkel above the underwater farms, where the pearl oysters are suspended from ropes below the surface. Then visit the showroom to learn more about the process and take home some precious pearls of your own in stunning hues of chocolate, pistachio, copper, and gold. Showroom visits are free of cost; snorkeling tours are a small additional charge.
Local Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday vendors gather at Savusavu’s open air market to sell local goods, from fresh fruit, spices, kava, and local honey to handicrafts, woodworks, and textiles. Just a short 10 minute drive away from Namale, it’s a worthwhile excursion to experience local life in Savusavu town. Purchase memorable souvenirs or learn about local exotic foods, from the fresh catch of the day to locally produced coconut oil. Namale’s chefs even make regular trips to the market to source the freshest ingredients for our kitchens!
Savusavu Town is a short 10 minute ride from Namale, and is a great day trip to work into your stay. In town you’ll experience local life personally, from perusing the shops full of souvenirs or handmade goods, grabbing a bite to eat at a local restaurant, and enjoying the stunning views of the bay and the Copra Shed Marina. Let Namale’s guides show you around, or grab a ride to main street and explore on your own. It’s a sleepy island life at its best, and the main town on Vanua Levu, “Fiji’s best kept secret.”