This journey of discovery rich in Fijian history enables you to see first-hand Fiji’s largest cave system Naihehe Cave which was home to the Nabuavatu clan during tribal warfare days.
You will see first-hand where they hid from their enemies and how they used this cave system to defend themselves right up until the end of tribal war in Fiji which is just over a hundred years ago.
Your journey from Sigatoka Town begins with a 10 mile excursion in your off road cave safari mini coach. This short journey inland allows you to see the people of Sigatoka Valley going about their daily lives including children going to school, people working the land and many more who are simply on Fiji time.
Upon arrival at the departure point, you will be transported across the mighty Sigatoka River to meet your off road vehicle. Here you will be given a short safety briefing before your off road adventure begins.
You will meander your way deep into the interior. You will pass through numerous Fijian villages giving you a brief insight into Fijian village life. Your off road guides will stop at several amazing locations providing you with history of the region, history of Fiji and also allowing you to capture the moment on your cameras, images that have to seen to believe.
After some 45 minutes on travelling to your destination you arrive at Fiji’s largest cave system. You will be greeted by the Bete (priest) the traditional protector of the Naihehe Cave.
Ladies are required to wear their complimentary off road sulu/sarong so that they can partake in the traditional kava ceremony.
Your driver/ guide will present to the Bete your sevusevu (kava) asking for permission to enter the sacred cave. Your group chief will
receive the first bowl of kava on behalf of the group. From there you will walk to the cave entrance where you are provided with your
headlights and explained how you will enter the cave system which includes the ‘pregnancy gap’.
Once inside the main chamber you will be amazed at the size and the history of this natural wonder. The bête will share with you oral legends that were told to him by his father and his father’s father who was a direct living connection to the tribal warfare days. Located within the cave system is a cannibal oven, priest chamber and a chiefly platform.
The off road cave safari offers you insight of a spectacular chapter into Fijian history but will leave you happy and grateful that the cannibalism days are long gone. After exploring the caves, you can indulge in a sumptuous Fijian BBQ lunch prepared in our purpose built BBQ area overlooking a stunning swimming hole where guests are free to take a dip.
As with all great adventures there comes a time to say goodbye and you hop aboard your off road vehicle to head home. This Homewood passage enables you to reminisce on all that you have experienced on ‘The road less travelled’
Your off road adventure will last 4.5 hours but we are sure that this half day expedition will have given you a true glimpse of Fiji as it was and as it is.
History of the Naihehe Cave
The name of the cave says it all… Naihehe means ‘a place to get lost’. Naihehe Cave was home to the ‘Sautabu’ people during Fiji’s tribal warfare days.
During the tribal warfare days, the cave was where the people of the tribe would retreat to and hide from their enemies. Due to the natural fortress characteristics of the Naihehe cave which prevented attackers entering on masse, the clan were able to successfully defend themselves from many enemies over centuries.
It is known by the people, that whomever wishes to enter the cave must seek the permission of the Priest (Bete), as without consultation of the Bete, legend has it you will automatically become stuck if you enter the cave.
Once inside the cave, you will find a main large chamber, which once held a secret access to the top, accessible with the help of the wild vines. The Tribe never worried about their food source. If they were hiding up in the cave for a long time, they had freshwater prawns and fish. At the top of the Naihehe Cave accessible by their secret entrance was yams, fruits and other root crops.
When missionaries first arrived in Nadroga, Fiji, the paramount Chief of Nadroga who is known as ‘NA KALEVU’ was the first to convert to Christianity, at which point he commanded all his people to become Christians. The people of the
interior reluctantly converte
d to this new religion, due to their traditional links with the Ka Levu tribe and the people of Sautabu.
During the early colonial times, there were only twelve chiefly titles in Fiji. These same twelve chiefs were the ones who signed the ‘Deed of Cession’, handing over their lands to the King of England. It was
from this relationship with England that Ratu Cakobau was invited to visit England, transiting through Queensland, Australia he caught measles.
Upon his return to Fiji, the measles epidemic soon took hold, spreading so quickly and wiping out one third of Fiji’s then population, estimated at 200 000 people. The tribe of Naqalimare who attempted to cure their sick with traditional medicines and practices, soon turned away from Christianity as they believed this new sickness was punishment by their ancestral gods for practicing the Christian faith.
The paramount Chief heard this news about the tribe of Naqalimare and was disappointed. The Kalevu sent men from his tribe to fight against the people who turned their backs on Christianity. When the coastal warriors arrived in the area of Naqalimare, they soon discovered the people were using the cave as a fortress, so they could not fight hand to hand combat, this strategy saw them successfully repel the war party.
The coastal people went back and informed the Ka Levu who with the assistance of the colonial people, grew his forces and fifty colonial soldiers with guns headed back into the Sigatoka valley.
The war party from the Coast came up with a clever idea of setting fire at the entrance of the cave. This strategy worked immediately as the smoke inundated the people inside the cave causing them to suffocate, many began to flee the cave and some tried using the secret access on top.
Unfortunately, they were surrounded by coastal and colonial people with guns. Shots were fired, which killed their chief in the attack. However before his death, he instructed his tribe to surrender to the coastal people and upon this it could be claimed that Fiji was now truly a Christian state.
Off Road Cave Safari Team
Our off road cave safari team will take care of you from the minute you arrive making you feel like part of the family.
With warm smiles and the Fiji hospitality we will help you with any assistance you may need.
Feel free to contact us if you need assistance at any time during the expedition.