"Where the hills meet the sea" Singatoka by Assenczo

Singatoka Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 17 photos

Singatoka was one of the rare outings from the luxury of the Westin hotel in Denarau Island. This felt a bit awkward considering that one is supposed to “immerse” in the local culture and enjoy it to the fullest. Yes, indeed, the best examples of local culture were preserved and demonstrated in the tourist outfit rather than out in the “field”. During the day-long loop around the western part of Viti Levu, I managed to see only one structure made of straw and finished with the signature roof log, the way they used to be in the cannibal days. The rest was either the local misery of the villages or the imported opulence of the resorts and hotels.Once figuring that the reality was far away from the advertised paradise of the South Pacific, I was desperate to find something that can justify the many miles of flight to this corner of the world. Tavuni hill fort on the outskirts of Singatoka looked like the Promised Land.

Arriving on the hill was straightforward and the view beautiful. The approach was dutifully guarded by the museum and its employee – the guide. Classical “tour” presentation followed with the high, monotonous voice of the guide-cum-curator. She was going on and on how old this site was and how significant it was in its state of perfect preservation.
On the first point I have to admit that the guide was digging a bit much on the “Fijianness” of the site and forgetting that it was the Tongan king who actually built it originally – or at least this is so according to the glossy story-telling of other scientific researchers. Not having the time to dig in myself I had to admit that the almost 180 degree approach to the same evidence shows tendency to serve a political or other motive first and the truth second; deja-vue in the Pacific and beyond.
On the second point I have to warn you that this is not your cute walled city, tucked away in a European once-upon-a-time landscape. What I am referring to are rows of stones here and there resembling large bonfire rims which are supposed to be the bases of the houses. The sacrificial stone is also hardly anything special but still has some distinct make-believe features.

To make things work and show my appreciation for at least one of the story lines, I went to the top of the hill where the chiefs were supposed to be buried. There, with the help of the late chief, Christian by belief, I managed to take a self-portrait in renaissance style with the lush Fijian gardens and rolling deforested hills of the countryside.
Hill’s “attractions” include the sacrificial stone where the victims necks were broken (there are so many neck breakers in the Jack’s stores) and somehow the blood was let loose through specially carved channels in the rock. I did not ask how the blood appeared when the head was not severed or maybe the body was being dismembered on the spot while still warm!? Wow, exotic stuff! Jokes apart, my chauffer, who happened to be a naturalized Indian, was quite afraid to venture in this country beyond the safety of the sealed road; one does not have to wonder whether something gruesome was going on here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Easily accessible from Nadi
  • Cons:Not much to see
  • In a nutshell:Center for exploring the surrounding area
  • Last visit to Singatoka: Jul 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 23, 2009
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Reviews (4)

Comments (1)

  • Mar 31, 2008 at 4:23 PM

    found all around pacfic. Harmless. although looking bad, locals in vanuatu said they were eels but more like slug because they move very slow.

Assenczo

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