Viseisei (literally means "to spread out") is a fairly large village with about 400 inhabitants. The village lies just 15 minutes from Nadi International Airport so is ideal for guests who arriving late in the day and need an overnight destination before moving on to the Yasawa Islands or other destinations. Three family tribes make up village: Navicavaki (the main tribe - Tony's); Sawaieke and Nakelo Your hosts are a prominent family, Tony and Mele Tavai , they are very well connected - his tribe includes the Fijian President Ratu Iloilo who lives at Viseisei.
Image right: Ladies from the village walk along the road to Nadi
Viseisei's largest buildings are a Methodist churches and the community hall. The churches are very active among this devout community. The community has a large secondary school which you are welcome to visit.
Viseisei is the village where it all started. One of the activities is a tour to the site of the 3,500 year old Vuda village where it is fabled that the first human habitation of Fiji took place. That is why they call this area "first landing".
The Methodist Church
The children's choir practice
The Presidential Community Hall
There are two guest bedrooms at Viseisei and a flush toilets and cold shower. Water is tapped directly from Nadi town.
There is a reliable source of electricity in Viseisei 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.
Image right: There are local crafts on sale at the village most days
However, if you go to the beautiful secluded beaches nearby the village treat it like any other - and get a great suntan in a bikini!
There is a public telephone in Viseisei and the large town of Nadi is nearby so the village option for your Fiji holidays will keep you connected.
You will enjoy the most incredible and memorable holiday adventures whether walking along beaches, or enjoying some of the unique activities on offer. At Viseisei 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 swimming in the sea, snorkeling on the reef, exploring the beaches or relaxing.
Image right: The beach off Viseisei at high tide
Alternatively you can visit Nadi and have dinner there - just a short drive away but with daily room rates at upmarket hotels equating to food and accommodation at Viseisei for up to a week! If you enjoy fishing you can go out and spend a half day for just F$50!
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 Viseisei. Mele is a great cook and offers cooking lessons to women who would like to learn how to cook Fijian food. All food, washing etc.. is done for you by the women in the village - and these costs are included in the cost of accommodation.
We get a lot of enquiries from school teachers from all over the world. Their common desire is to spend a few days in a Fijian classroom. There is a large school at Viseisei where you can, through your host, organise to sit in a Fijian classroom for a day.
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 large "village green" which separates large Presidential buildings at Viseisei 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 Viseisei Fijian dialect may be spoken by villagers most speak English. (Fijian translation of common greetings can be seen at this link).
Viseisei 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. The village is just 5 minutes walk from the popular "Beach House".
When you arrive at Viseisei there is a very simple traditional ceremony 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 Tony and Mele 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).
Image right: The main entrance to Viseisei - fit for a President!
More on kava at this link
Payments will be organised directly with Tony Tavai on your arrival at Viseisei. 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 at Nadi including the airport), Sigatoka, Pacific Harbour and Suva.
Image right: A large memorial to the Church dominates Viseisei
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.