We went on safari on the Sigatoka river and my dad became a chief for the day.
Our multi-generational family of 11 decided to go to Fiji for their very first, international family holiday and we’d heard the Sigatoka River Safari half-day tour was a must do.
When we arrived at the river, the first thing was safety and we were fitted into a life vest, before our belongings were bundled into a waterproof bag. It’s a river safari I told my family, of course you are going to get wet.
Sigatoka River is the longest river on the island of Viti Levu and it plays an important role in the lives of many Fijian villagers. A source of water, their livelihood and natural beauty, I was mesmerised by the lush rain forest, rugged terrain and farmers scattered along the banks.
‘Captain Jake’ our jet-boat captain, ensured our trip was educational and full of laughs. The 360 degree spins he did, sprayed the parents and our 70-year-old grandparents. Priceless.
Captain Jake told the group about Fiji, the culture and what life is like today. He explained how young Fijian kids put their school books and clothes into a garbage bag to swim across the lake in the mornings before they catch the bus to school. They also have to do the same to return home every day.
My 78-year-old Dad was picked as chief for the day. He loved the attention and the immersion in the culture. He was given the kava root and had to lead us to the village to present it to the elders.
The family absolutely loved being part of the culture and dancing with the Fijian people.
Sigatoka River Safari works with 15 villages who allow guests to experience their life and culture by being invited into a traditional ceremony. In return guests are asked to bring items for the kids and if possible to donate to the village for necessities. Part of your ticket cost goes directly to the village as well as nearby water projects, concrete footpaths, education and health.
My Dad today still talks about his day as the Chief.