Matava, which rests on the South East side of island overlooks the world famous Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef.
The site for Matava was chosen because of the natural source of spring water that never runs dry. The area facing the resort, including a small island, is a Marine Reserve with excellent snorkeling. The small island has three white sand beaches which our guests use. You can snorkel over, kayak over (Kayaks provided free) or they can drop guests by boat.
Guests are collected from Kadavu airport for the 45 minute boat ride to the resort in a large comfortable custom built transfer boat. Surrounded by rainforest, the resort's accommodation bures are traditional thatched Fijian bures with en-suit bathrooms and private sun decks with spectacular views out over the coral lagoons and barrier reef.
At the heart of the resort ten bures, split evenly between
Honeymoon and Oceanview, are nestled in private gardens a few minutes walk from the main bure complex. (See photo at left).
The is a large comfortable guest area with fully stocked bar, dining terrace and front deck overlooking the lagoon. Also on hand is a small library and guest charging area for laptops, cameras, tablets. Wi-Fi is also available in the main bure.The resort has a Satellite communications system (VitiSat) that is relatively expensive so access is not free. Like many hotels, they sell tokens for one, two or three hours which go for 10/20/30MB at F$20/30/40.
They serve a variety of international dishes with most dinners being ‘themed’ such as Thai night or Indian night. There is a "traditional" Fijian
night where they put on lovo. All the guests are involved in its preparation which entails weaving chickens and fish into palm fronds, etc), cooking and
removal of the food from the underground oven. Lovo night also includes a Kava ceremony and singing from staff and a village band. Lovo night usually includes a "meke" a dance and chanting performance by local children with donations going to the school.
Much of the veggies comes from the organic garden and for many guests the highlights are the salads and the equally fresh fish. The restaurant often serves plates of succulent yellowfin sashimi and Kokoda. Nobody ever lost weight at Matava!
All staff. including senior Managers. are Fijian and most from local villages. Apart from traditional Fijian nights at the resort, they encourage guests to visit the local village, see the waterfall there, take guided walks with local guides, see the local school (some guests have even taught a class !). We arranged for a group of dentists to visit, they dived in the morning and spent the afternoons giving free dental care to local villages.
Management feels strongly about contributing to the local community and will encourages guests to to the same whenever possible.
Matava is a true Eco-Resort.
It derives all its power and hot water from solar energy. An extensive organic farm supplies the restaurant daily with fresh fruit and vegetables and even honey from the garden apiary.
The Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef is renown for its mile upon mile of pristine hard corals. We do have some soft coral drift dives and a shark dive but its mostly the amazing hard coral slopes divers come to see. That and our Manta dive. On Manta Reef we frequently see up to 10 Mantas barrel rolling in front of divers.
The resort operates two gamefishing vessels. An inshore 23ft skiff available at F$145 per hour and a 31ft fly-bridge gamefishing boat available for F$2,385 for a full day charter. Anglers frequently bring home some of their catch for guests to enjoy freshly caught fish, served at dinner on the main bure terrace.
Matava's on site PADI 5 Star Mad Fish Divecentre operates two large custom made dive boats and takes diving and snorkelling guest out daily to exclusive sites on the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef. Guests do two morning dives with a one hour surface interval and then return to the resort for lunch. Afternoon and night dives are available on request. A mornings two tank diving is F$245 and includes tanks and weights. Full gear hire is available at F$50 per day. Sites include the world famous Manta Reef, Naiquoro and Korolevu Passageways and Eagle Rock.
Expect to see numerous large manta rays, sharks and mile upon mile of pristine hard and soft corals.
The best way to stay at Matava is to make use of one of their all-inclusive discounted packages. Basic packages start from 3 night mini-packages at F$940 per person to 7 nights in a Honeymoon bure for F$2,390 per person (based on two sharing a bure).
All packages include accommodation, meals, airport boat transfers, snorkel gear, hot beverages and all taxes. The resort is happy to modify a range of all-inclusive packages to include diving or gamefishing or any of the adventure activities available.
For those who haven't visited Kadavu, Matava's a good place to start.
Likewise, I’ve had wonderful reports from readers about Tiliva Resort a family run operation situated on the north east portion of Kadavu, a 15 minute boat ride from the airstrip. Located on a white sand beach, Tiliva is only five bures which the Kadavuowners refer to as “chalets”. With high ceilings, the bures are airy and cozy, with queen beds, giant showers and breezy covered porches offering comfortable chairs. The tiled bathrooms have modern fixtures and plenty of hot water. There is no air con but the ceiling fans work just fine. The cooking was above par and plentiful with food that ranged from very good to outstanding. There were creative combinations of local and Western cuisine; the fish dishes (including kokoda, a ceviche-like dish made from lime and coconut milk) are especially good. One visitor said “you could become an addict of their coconut sauces” known locally as lolo. In addition to fish, steak, chicken, and pork chops were also served. In addition to the expected activities—diving, snorkel-ing, kayaking, fishing, trekking, village visit and bird watching there’s some unusual attractions. These include a demonstration of mat making, a demo how to make coconut oil and, a guided tour with local vuniwai a traditional healer who utilizes local plants. As another visitor said, “The owners, Kemu and Barbara, will do anything to make you happy and comfortable.” Prices are F$525.00 per night double occupancy for a Beachfront bure and F$420.00 per night double occupancy for a Garden bure. (Photos courtesy of Tiliva.)
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Dive Kadavu but from all reports this is a property that has managed to keep its standards high. As with all Kadavu properties you are transported from the airport by boat to the resort, and you wade to in the water to/from shore. It’s always a good idea to bring foul weather gear so that if the water is choppy, you don’t get too wet. The property is set near the beach with eight of the bures are very close to the shore, and two set back. Each unit has its own bathroom (with hot water), ceiling fans, bed-lamps, verandah, fly screening and external rinse shower. You have an option of getting a queen size bed or 2 singles. Two of the rooms have two bedrooms which can accommodate up to four people. The bures at the end (number 9 and 10) are the best if you want to get away from the main area where there is more foot traffic. (The website - www.divekadavu.com, has an excellent virtual tour to give you a good idea of the layout.) The rooms are in good shape and are cleaned daily. They units are roomy and some offer great views of the ocean and sunsets. KadavuFood is served in a main dining area. Breakfast is buffet-style, and you are obligated to specify lunch and dinner choices during breakfast from a limited menu, which is posted in the morning. Food runs from “so-so” to very good. I enjoyed the Indian-style curries. Occasionally they will do traditional Fijian lovo-style cooking which is akin to the Hawaiian luau using hot rocks to steam fish, pork, yams, taro, etc which are wrapped with banana leaf. Fish is often brought to the kitchen alive and often served as a sushi appetizer. The Australian and New Zealand wines are excellent.. Ambience at the resort is very friendly. Your meals are often taken with the owners and staff, so you get to know everyone quickly. Most of the resort workers come from the local village and this provides a great opportunity to get to know the local people which could include village visits and attending church services. (Above photos courstesy of Dive Kadavu). In addition to diving which is of course the main attraction, there’s also kayaking.birdwatching, trekking and snorkeling. Rates beging at US180 for singles or $US160 for double occupancy. Prices include airport transfers, 3 meals a day, taxes. (Photos courtesy of Dive Kadavu.)
Moving up the price ladder, Papageno is also worth looking into. Operated by a German woman, Anneliese Schimmelpfennig (who spent many years in California), it has received great reviews from readers. It’s an eco-friendly property with only 15 rooms available. As the owner says, “On our 350 acre ocean-front resort, you may not see any other guests until you head for the dining area. This “low-density” principle is further helped by barriers of jungle trees, bushes and flowers.” Indeed. Most of the food is grown in the resort’s organic gardens (which you can tour), raised in their own pens, laid in their own hen house, or caught in the sea by the local villagers (or the guests!). There are two varieties of accommodations—Deluxe Ocean Bures (with bath) built a few meters from a white sand beach and ” Garden rooms” roughly 125 meters inland surrounded on three sides by jungle orchards of breadfruit, mango and avocado, with a stream on your front doorstep. Activities include diving, fishing, kayaking and even gospel singing if you’re in the mood. Yoga retreats are also held on the property from time to time. All meals are included in the cost of your accommodations and it’s gourmet all the way. Prices are $245 USD per night double occupancy for Garden rooms and $370 USD per night for the Ocean Bures.