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“Very interesting and lots of fun” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Naihehe Caves

Naihehe Caves
Ranked #11 of 25 things to do in Sigatoka
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Attraction details
Owner description: Notable for its massive size and unusual natural characteristics, this cave was once a fortress for a cannibal tribe and still contains a cannibal oven and other reminders of this gruesome history.
melbourne
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Very interesting and lots of fun”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

This was a great trip went on a wet day so the drive to the caves was muddy and cold but super fun. The villages that you drive through are great all the children will run out to wave. The cave is brilliant and such a great experience highly recommend and the tour guides are great

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank barbieinaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“good tour to sigatoka valley and caves”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2012

I really enjoyed this trip with a tour company, Adventures in Paradise. I found out about the cave tour after visiting the waterfall with them the day before. The bus ride into Sigatoka valley is most interesting and informative. The tour guiding, once again was excellent. It is a well presented day trip and a majestic cave to visit. I worry about the preservation of such an historical place, but this tour, only takes small groups and promotes a great respect of the cave's spirituality as well as its environment. The cave should be a national heritage site.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moscow,Russia
Level Contributor
626 reviews
387 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 475 helpful votes
“naihehe cave by public bus from nadi.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2012

My friend and i went on this trip by our own and used public bus to get there. The best way to see this tragical place and feel locals. There 3 steps to get there and enjoy the trip:
1) Express bus to Sagatoka city center from Nadi bus terminal - 9 FJD
2) local bus from Sigatoka city center goes on the pretty bad road about 1,5 hours to naihehe cave 4FJD. Be awere last bus to Sigatoka goes at 3 p.m after this time no bus, no taxi. nothing. Try to get there before 11 a.m to do everything you plan.
3) Take local guy to show you around 30 FJD per person. - billy-billy boat river transfer + cava+ torch.
It was great experience. Leave your laxury resort behind and feel the locals.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank MSK-RUS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great taste of authentic Fijian culture and natural wonders...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2011

My wife and I were just married and honeymooned in Fiji. Despite being the only ones on the tour, the guides proceeded anyway and treated us like honored guests. While listed as a tour, it should be warned that this is more of an "excursion." From the Shangri-la Fijian Resort, it required an hour and a half drive into the interior.

Along the way, we were asked if it was okay to stop at a local school for a brief tour. The principal was very sweet and showed us the many strides and setbacks the school has undergone. Seeing the conditions of the school made my wife and I realize how easy the First World has it, and how much a Third World country can do with so little.

The same can be said for the village, who invited us into their small community center with open arms, fed us a delicious meal made with fresh vegetables grown on their property, performed a Kava ceremony, and led us through some native dances. There were no Tiki torches, no bare chested men in grass skirts -- these were real villagers enjoying themselves and sharing their culture. Definitely not the Walt Disney version other tourists told us they experienced on different tours. However, that made it so much more poignant. As our guide said: "We have very little. But this is what we would do for an honored guest. If your Barack Obama came to visit us, it would be like this." Knowing that we were newlyweds, they even made us a lovely lei of local flowers and played a slow dance for us during the ceremony (which our guide took pictures of, using our camera). Note: You WILL dance for this ceremony, so don't be shy!

The cave tour itself was spectacular. We were joined by a couple of village kids, an older village girl, and the local priest -- all very friendly! But again, be warned that it's not a walk in the park. It requires hiking up a river embankment's dirt stairway (after crossing in a raft). The trail is well marked, though, and includes a gravel road. Altogether, it felt like a 2 mile round trip of walking. During this time, though, our guide gave us a complete history of the village. And the flowers and foliage and countryside you'll see along the way -- stunning!

Inside, the cave requires crab walking along a bamboo rod in about 2 inches of water. I am normally claustrophobic, but had no problem with this. It's equal to rummaging through a crawlspace in the basement. Inside, our guide gave us a complete tour, replete with stories and local history. He even noted that a rich European once paid thousands to have a wedding there, and then told us to stand apart, profess our love for each other, and kiss -- in a mock wedding style. Very cute. The cave itself was a lot to take in. It's not like American tourist caves with lights built in everywhere, and hand railings wherever you go. Our guides had cave lights and that added to the unseen immensity of it. Despite this, I never felt unsafe.

At the end of the trip, our guide led us out and sang a gorgeous hymn in Fijian. I asked him what it was, and he said it was a native wedding hymn, since we were just married. It was the perfect finishing touch to a wonderful tour. We were just two people -- they didn't have to go to every extra extreme. But they did, and we're forever grateful to them for it.

So if you want to see a real Fijian village, their way of life, their history, natural wonders, and interact with the very warm and generous people who live there... I'd recommend this tour.

Things to remember:
You will dance (but it's all in good fun). You will walk -- dress for hiking, and prepare for a steep climb up some dirt steps. Don't wear jeans or tennis shoes! You will get wet below the knees! You will also get a little dirty. Fiji is still Third World, so expect to see farm animals and be shooing away flies while eating. The food was: fresh Casava (potato like), Taro leaves and fish, Curried Ramen and Bok Choy, fresh Plantains and other fruits. But know that the food is good, fresh from the ground, and so savory! A rare treat in our highly processed world. We never got sick and, quite to the contrary, felt quite invigorated! Smile when drinking Kava! (I treated it with too much serious reverence, apparently -- they encouraged me to always smile when drinking!)

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
10 Thank Robert1337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Much more than scenery. Get to know the locals.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2011

Our family of four went on a full day Naihehe cave tour with The Salad Bowl Adventure Cave Tour (Fiji). This tour company has a website listing different tours and their contact details. They respond promptly to emails and phone calls.

This was a highlight of our week-long stay in Fiji.

The impressive thing is that this tour company was started only in September 2010 by Emma and Ben, an enterprising Fijian couple in their twenties. For the cave tour, their price was lower than the competition, and had at least as many inclusions as the competition. I was very pleased to be supporting this entrepreneurial couple, but more than that, they really did deliver what was promised.

Although the cave and the river are indeed spectacular, this is about much more than scenery. Time spent in the village, coupled with time spent trekking with the English-speaking Fijian guides, gave us an insight into the Fijian life and way of thinking. Fantastic for people who are interested in learning about other cultures. The cave formations and greenery surrounding the Sigatoka river are very beautiful.

We paid FJD370 for two adults and two children, which included:
• transfers in a comfortable mini bus from our Coral Coast accommodation;
• tour of the Sautebu village (about an hour's drive from Sigatoka town, driving through the picturesque Salad Bowl of Fiji);
• kava ceremony at the village hall;
• ride across the Sigatoka river in a bamboo raft;
• tour of the Naihehe Caves; and
• lunch prepared by the villagers, followed by singing and dancing.

Donations to the village and tips for the guides and driver are expressed to be voluntary, and the amounts are at your discretion. But we saw that the village community hall was half built and they needed funds to complete it.

Our guide also offered to take us to visit a local school, but we declined as we had done so somewhere else and energy levels were low by then. The day lasted from 8.30am to after 4pm.

Although the closest town to the Naihehe Caves is Sigatoka, Emma and Ben will do pick-ups from anywhere in Viti Levu.

We had two guides, Albert and Mark. Albert is Emma's energetic baby brother who is doing a media course and also works in a resort (now you see why I say he is energetic). Albert accompanied us for the whole day, from Sigatoka town, explaining the crops we saw in farms along the Salad Bowl. He is lively, cheerful and chatty and will answer any questions on anything, and also encouraged us not to hesitate to make requests along the way. We handed our camera to him and he took pictures of the whole excursion for us. Free photographer thrown in!

Mark, in his thirties, grew up and lives in the village. He takes over the commentary at the village and during the cave tour. His explanations are very clear, and his tone is earnest. He will tell you exactly what to do during the kava ceremony, and how to behave around the village elders, so you need not fear you'll commit a faux pas. He gives an intriguing account of what used to happen in the cave. Oh, and do encourage him to sing in the cave, and you should sing with him too. The reverberations heighten the sounds.

We had the pleasure of getting to know Nadia, who works as an alternative guide to Albert. Though Nadia was not our guide, we could tell he would also be extremely entertaining. So you'll be in good hands whether you get Albert or Nadia.

**Useful things to know**

1. **Children** **Adults with knee problems** This is for those who want to know whether it's suitable for kids. The answer is yes, at least if the child is at least 5 years old AND is not afraid of the dark. Not suitable for strollers.

The trek to the caves is on an easy track with some slopes and steps, taking half an hour each way. We went with our 6 and 7 year old kids, and they were mostly fine (except for the younger one who got a bit nervous at the end after a prolonged time in the darkness). Most of the cave is pitch dark. The guides bring powerful torches, but even these illuminate just where we next put our feet, or a spot on the cave wall. Everything else is in a blanket of darkness.

We crossed some rivers (ankle-deep water) with slippery stones, but the guides held our hands firmly and let my younger child ride on their shoulders part of the way. Walking in the cave itself also saw us wading through knee-high water on sometimes slippery surfaces, but the guides kept a close eye on us.

We had to squeeze through a narrow gap, in a squatting position walking sideways for only about three minutes. This is easier for kids than adults, since kids are smaller. Be mindful of this if you are travelling with adults who have knee problems. We walked upright for the rest of the cave tour.

2. **Toilets** There is a flushing toilet you can use in the village before you start out for the cave. There are no facilities after you leave the village.

3. **Lunch** The village lunch was enough to sate our hunger. Remember that life is very simple in the village, so it is not reasonable to expect anything fancy. For conservative eaters, there isn't anything too out there, so don't worry. The villagers prepared lots of spinach cooked in a tasty fashion, which pleased this mother. We also had sausages and noodles, which pleased the children. To plug any gaps, there were also root vegetables. A highlight was the fantastic fruit juice made from a local thorny fruit, which tastes like a cross between orange and passionfruit juices.

4. **Kiddie gifts** Bring some gifts for the village kids. English story books, exercise books and stationery are always useful.

5. **Carsickness** Getting from Sigatoka town to Sautebu village takes about an hour. Part of the drive is along an unsealed road. Bring plastic bags if you're prone to car sickness. It's not exceedingly bumpy, but the length of the drive may take its toll on people who don't travel well. Three out of four of us were perfectly fine. The driver will turn on the air-con happily – you just have to ask.

6. **What to bring** Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, sarong (for women to wear, only in the village), wear swimmers under your clothes (in case you get wet wading through the cave), towel, dry change of clothes, water, camera, cash for a village donation if you wish, kiddie gifts if you wish.

With apologies in advance, please do not PM me, as I am seldom on TripAdvisor, but I hope the above is useful to you.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
12 Thank Firstiger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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