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MATAVA RESORT –
a brilliant 3½ star Eco-Resort that
walks the green walk with integrity &
doesn’t just talk the green talk for profit.
Review by John Hessburg
Founder & General Manager
You know that rhythmic reverie you sometimes slip into when you’re relishing a long loping jog around a lake, or maybe bearing down hard on a mountain hike? Your mind will seize a snippet of song or a catchy phrase & repeat it over & over like some mesmerizing chant, until it becomes a internal metronome that actually stokes your adventure drive. That’s what happened midway through my hour-long boat ride from the dock in Vunisea village, along 30 km of southern Kadavu shoreline, out to one of the most remarkable dive resorts I’ve ever reviewed in 2 decades.
MATAVA RESORT is a wondrous little corner of God’s green earth, literally & ecologically. And getting there on the final leg from the Kadavu airport is a trip in itself!
After rounding two prominent forested
points on the wild southern coast, up ahead looms a bizarre rock formation that
so closely mimics a huge male lion ready to pounce on prey – it nearly inspires
a gasp the first time you see it. You’ll
wonder, “Was this rocky beast carved by
the same artist who’s sculpting Chief Crazy Horse at
So the shuttle-boat engine hums away,
the waves gently parting off the prow in a pulsing V, & my heat-wrapped
brain begins to murmur “crouching lion, hidden dragon / crouching lion, hidden dragon … ” a facetious
tribute to Ang Lee’s film of tigery fame.
It all springs from this rambling thought: “For a few wonderful days I’m fleeing the hidden dragon
of that city job & its incessant pressures, escaping to the lair of the –
oh yeah – Crouching Lion of southern
Thank you so much for this epic welcome, Kadavu (pronounced Kahn-DAH-voo). You confer indelibly delightful memories in so many ways. In a place this far from urban blight, where the jungles are deep, the hospitality even deeper, & the corals of Astrolabe Reef as virginal as anywhere in the South Pacific, you have an actual rocky lion the size of a semi-truck guarding your most precious coastline. How cool is that, sunseekers?
MATAVA RESORT on Kadavu Island, is such a refreshing respite from city grit & workaday stress, such a uniquely gifted green retreat, that it now ranks among my top seven small resorts anywhere in the Pacific. That’s among a couple hundred tropical island locales I’ve been blessed to visit & review over the past 18 years. MATAVA is run by purpose-driven men who refuse to fudge even a smidge on what they know to be true: this beautiful weary planet is in trouble from careless developers & wanton resource sponges. Thus it needs constant daily TLC, from every caring person, in even the little things to restore a healthy balance to Good Ol’ Mama Earth. These guys at MATAVA have green ethics down to a system, & we will show you how refined & intelligent that system is.
Yet the inspired team at MATAVA RESORT
– led by expat Brits Richard Akhtar & Adrian Watt -- keeps the
preservationist faith in a humble manner, never tooting horns nor swaggering,
never fashioning a false idol out of their eco-mission. They go for the green, not the long green,
never resorting to self-righteous zeal or stuffy PC (politically correct)
politics. Some American & European
enviros could learn a few gracious manners from these guys. But nuts to green politics. This story is about fun in the sun, with an
earth-friendly tilt. MATAVA RESORT
(MAH’-tah-vah) is just plain fun to visit, amigos
How about first we tackle (all game fishing puns intended) the getting-there part.
One of the
Here is one major geographic blessing -- MATAVA RESORT is the only vacation destination of note on the entire 65 km of nearly wilderness south Kadavu shoreline. As the only game in town, they enjoy one enormous advantage. While MATAVA RESORT is a comfy 3½ star retreat, fully civilized & offering lush gardens, well-manicured lawns, delightfully rustic cabins (called “bures”) & meals to-die-for delicious, it is also the only significant resort close enough to the famed Astrolabe Reef to reach most dives in a wink. You’ll recall, the Astrolabe is one the world’s greatest living coral expanses. What’s neat is that from MATAVA you can reach most of the isle’s best diving & snorkeling sites in less than 20-30 minutes.
All the other Kadavu resorts of note are built on the northern flanks of the island. So to get their clients to coveted Astrolabe Reef diving sites, these north-side resorts are forced to drive them down to the wasp’s skinny sliver, then shuttle them across that isthmus to a waiting boat, then drone along for another hour up the southern coastline, then drone back homeward. This draining drag of an itinerary can add hours of exhausting transfer time to & from the actual dives. Meanwhile, MATAVA RESORT is literally only a couple km, a few easy minutes away from coralheads & passes that provide a feast for the eyes & later the memories. Yes, because these coral reefs are eye candy, visually fresh & delicious.
Here’s another cool factoid about the Astrolabe Reef. The local divers held me in thrall with this item… Some respected oceanographers believe a formerly apocryphal theory may hold water after all. The stunning corals of Astrolabe Reef, which wrap the southern shores on up to the NE wasp’s head in an upside-down fishhook shape, offer more than 80 miles of prime fish habitat & may be the prime polyp-spawning center that seeds much of the entire Fijian archipelago with new coral life each year. That bio-concept kind of sets me on my ear. Scientists are still researching this idea & I wish I had that science diving gig, believe me.
But there was one sticky wicket on my
In the world of eco-resorts, too easy a
commuter approach invariably spells commercialism & shopworn tiki statue
décor plus pool-bar clichés that cater
to armies of lazy tourists, who flood a village, overwhelm it & prod it
into kitsch contamination. Thank heavens
MATAVA RESORT is spared that dismal fate by its perfect location – not too
close, not too far from the airstrip.
Think of MATAVA as a green Goldilocks.
However, mind you, there is always a
MATAVA RESORT is not the spot for mincing tenderfoot tea sippers with pinky finger extended a la matrons on the Titanic, nor for obsessive-compulsive white glovers & delicate buttoned-down types who -- like Niles Crane on Frasier -- seek chrome ‘n’ whitewashed spas. MATAVA RESORT is not for fussy folks who send their steaks back to the chef because they’re not “medium rare with a pale blush.” This place is for adventure-minded folks seeking some of the best reefs & deep sea fishing in the world. MATAVA is for down-to-earth people who don’t mind roughing it a little, who don’t mind 7-10 nights where cell-phones won’t hound you & TVs won’t blare. MATAVA RESORT is not for cream puffs, nor perfectionists, just straight-ahead folks seeking old-fashioned simple pleasures. I mean TLC service with a smile, perfectly fresh breezes with zero pollution, ocean waters so clean they defy the norm Pacific-wide, & the best Fiji diving or Fiji snorkeling you ever could wish for.
MATAVA RESORT offers a square deal for
a modest price: great reef diving + world-class deep-sea fishing + easy breezy
kayaking & village visits + warmly hospitable service + scintillating
supper-table conversations with like-minded eco-travelers. Let me once more rejoice that this is a
locale so fresh & pure it still amazes me I ever found it in a Pacific
where over-development is rampant. To
remain coolly objective, because I have loved
There are other beautiful resorts,
exceptional places that have captured our hearts all across
But here’s the kicker, sunseekers …. be sure to arrive suitably prepared with a good rain poncho for the boat ride out, with a solar flashlight for the unlit flagstone paths down to the dinner table, & with soap & shampoo & toothpaste plus skeeter spray for your cabana. Small price to pay for such a verdant peaceful getaway. But do come prepped for a few little quirks that spice up the daily flow of life on Kadavu.
Quirks are the way of all eco-resorts
worldwide, the sincere ones anyway.
Look, when they’re walkin’ the walk there are bound to be a few rough
A full 80% of their electrical power plus 70% of their hot water come straight from a half dozen hi-tech solar panels. Much of their fresh produce comes from a huge organic garden above the resort, especially their hot tasty habanero peppers! Mmmm, so good for the sinuses! Their H2O supply comes from captured rainwater off the lush hillside & from seven pristine springs that feed into clean concrete aqueducts & catch basins. They recycle most food scraps to local farmers for animal feed, or they make garden compost; & they NEVER chuck batteries, computer print cartridges, light bulbs, cans or bottles. Every possible item that can be reasonably recycled, IS. You can bet your divin’ boots on that.
So here’s the deal funseekers. At MATAVA RESORT you get no conspicuous
consumption of luxury resources, but you get a superb price & excellent
service. Still, no place on any Pacific
isle we have visited is perfectly free of challenges. Here are most of the quirks we spotted in a
recent visit to Kadavu Island to assess their place in
Depending on winds & chop, it’s a 45-65 minute
haul from the Vunisea dock to MATAVA, in an open 22-foot fiberglass boat with
wooden bench seats. No problema if the sun’s
out. However …. if it rains you wear a
poncho & the driver will dutifully wrap your luggage in waterproof
tarps. No sweat. My shuttle driver knew the reefs so well he
outran a wall-like rain squall coming in from the NW & whisked me out to
MATAVA in a convenient hurry. The ride
There are no screens on the spacious windows of your bure
(cabana), but the breezes keep insects out 90% of the day. The lack of screens, er, bugged me a bit at
first, but after a day I barely even noticed it. What’s more, MATAVA RESORT has the most
perfectly designed mosquito netting over its beds I have seen anywhere in the
SoPac. These strong nets are easy to
crawl into, & absolutely insect-proof.
Plus you can tilt the window louvers all the way in if you need to
shutter down in a rainstorm. Most nights
I had no mosquitoes in my room. Maybe a
tiny bee or two, a few moths & oddball beetles. Though I was there in April, right after the
wettest season of the year, when skeeters had invaded
· There is only a modest flow of warm water in the shower, & you need to take “military showers” without lingering too long on rinse cycle. But the showers are clean, well-lit with tree-bedecked skylights & they work just fine. Quick sudsing & rinsing are the most conscientious way to conserve water resources anyway, so this is no big deal.
· There are only 3 light bulbs per cabana. Count ‘em, 3. However they are placed perfectly – one over the bed’s headboard, one in the bathroom & one outside the door for the porch – so these bulbs provide all the lumens any reasonable traveler would want. Since nearly all power at MATAVA RESORT is generated by strategically engineered solar panels, why waste watts, right?
· Watt a great way to acquire electrical energy -- the resort's solar panels! “Watt me worry, if there are only 3 bulbs per bure?” (Adrian, good buddy, thanks for keeping the wry smile!)
MATAVA RESORT offers no luxurious foot-massaging
stretches of tawny sugar sand like Maui or
The resort staffers like to josh that Richard Akhtar
(general manager & point man among the owners) is the “Eco Police Commando”
for his zealous conservation of water, electricity & items like soap – hey
even printer cartridges. But guess what,
Richard has this place running like a well-oiled Swiss timepiece. He does a masterful balancing act of saving
resources without being stingy. That’s
how he keeps his prices down, nearly half that of the tony 4-star resorts in
No fuss no muss, no stress no mess. Just easy breezy good times & friendly
people. That’s the ticket at MATAVA
· Sometimes resort staffers like to be quiet & reserved – vaka fisi -- the Fijian way in the heat of day. So give ‘em space, ace. Time to chill, read a good book, write a poem to your sweetheart. But this place is brimming with good humor & echoing laughter the rest of the time. Co-owner Adrian Watt is a charming sort whose dry British humor sneaks up on you & disarms you gently. But that subtlety ends on the transoms of his two good fishing vessels, named “Bite Me” & “Offensive Tackle.” You gotta love that sophomoric locker-room leap. His co-owner Richard has a sly sense of humor as well, & is a doting dad to two fine dogs. The resort’s high morale starts with Richard & Adrian, who treat their staff with respect & give them room to be creative. How many of us ever have been blessed with a boss like that, eh?
Sure, let’s be real -- there are other quirks at
MATAVA RESORT. For example, some of the
outer roof thatching takes a stiff beating from rains & winds, & it
gets a bad hair day at times. But the
interiors of these bures are bona fide 3-star beautiful, with shiny mahogany
floors all sealed in polyurethane perfection, plus hand-wrought wooden posts,
pillars & expertly crafted joists.
The bures’ furniture is simple & elegant, comfy as can be & the
views from these cabanas are stunning. I
got to stay solo in the honeymoon bure (my wife Susie was back in the
To be sure,
That’s everything that gave me cause for a pause, folks …
Now it’s time to list the most impressive attributes of MATAVA RESORT, qualities that ensure it’s a high-value destination for Fiji diving vacations & Fiji snorkeling vacations, as well as Fiji game fishing trips:
The 20 resort staff members are courteous, kind,
patient & they welcome you as warmly as if you were family. In our home
· The domestic staff manager & hospitality boss is Mr. Maggie, a bright decisive young man who is both flamboyant & wisely bon vivant, while running a tight ship in the kitchen & keeping the main lodge as neat as a pin. He is friendly to the max, genuinely concerned about the well-being of each guest & he treated us all like visiting royalty. Maggie wears a traditional Fijian loincloth sarong, & a hibiscus in his Melanesian mane. He laughs a lot (even at your lamest jokes) & is always ready to fill your glass, bus a plate, fetch another slice of tort or pamper his guests with uncanny tableside radar. He hustles tasty snacks to your table while you’re still thinking of them, before you even utter a request. Two more things guests enjoy about Maggie are his punctual drumming on the traditional Fijian hollow-log to announce each mealtime, & his wild standup improvs while announcing each supper menu … “Hooo-yess, then we will deliver a Mexican side dish of spicy albacore chunks perfectly sauteed in a Chinese-y sauce to make ‘em sassy. And if you’re good we might sing while we weave the long beans onto your plate like a bird’s nest next to the rice mounds! Now everybody enjoy.” Maggie is the heart & soul of MATAVA’s service with a smile. He’s a total professional & a barrel of laughs.
Dive instructor Kate “Kandila” Wawatai is a
25-year-old natural beauty with a golden smile, arms of steel & a will to
match them. Both of her parents are
· So does the husky big-hearted gent named Joeli “Joe” Tuku, who is the senior scuba diving guide. With Joeli at the dive boat helm, you’ll have fun as he knows the names, flora, fauna of much of the Astrolabe Reef. Big Joe has logged about 5,000 Kadavu scuba dives. You want to dive? Then Joeli is Da Man with Da Plan …
Co-owner Richard Akhtar is soft-spoken, attentive to
his guests & has a hearty laugh that can ignite any post-diving party in a
hurry. He’s a blast to chat with at
suppertime & has some wide-ranging tales of life in
Co-owner Adrian Watt taught himself to be a
world-class deep sea fisherman. He
patiently learned what his passion led him to
The deep-sea fishing just offshore from MATAVA RESORT
is enough to boggle even elite anglers.
Get a gander of some of
· MATAVA RESORT offers 8 simple clean bures at different hillside elevations, sprawling over about 7 acres of lush palm-graced hillside. There are flowering trees everywhere, the air is redolent of fresh foliage & salty breezes. You’ll never be hassled by crowds or pesky townies at MATAVA. Never, mates.
Kava purists say the “yaqona” (yan-GOHN’-ah) or kava
root tea grown on Kadavu is the strongest & tastiest kava in all of
On that note we segue into a detailed info kit below, provided with TLC by Richard Akhtar & the staff of MATAVA RESORT.
MATAVA RESORT on the beautiful old-world
to make sure, friends, the word is pronounced “MAH-ta-vah.” The resort’s name is derived from a famous
battle that took place on this land back in the 17th century.
Warriors from the then powerful Rewa district on
KADAVU SCUBA DIVING & KADAVU SNORKELING:
PRIME DIVE SITES on the RENOWNED ASTROLABE REEF:
Exclusive diving on virgin reefs awaits those who dive near our beautiful resort, aka “Astrolabe Hideaway.” We have over 20 world-class sites offering enormous variety for divers of all levels within a 5 minute to half hour boat ride. We cater for divers from beginner to expert, with the sites varying in depth & current. Visibility seldom drops below 20 meters & usually exceeds that.
Great Astrolabe Reef is the world’s fourth largest barrier reef & is
Diving & snorkeling trips to the reef are conducted daily. More than 25 sites offer enormous variety for divers of all levels within a 5 minute to half hour boat ride. Matava is in a privileged location on the Astrolabe Reef & has access to all 5 of its passages. We also have very easy access to ‘Manta Reef’ where these wonderful rays are seen on over 70% of dives all year round. Our 2 dedicated dive boats can dive up to 6 divers each. For additional divers & groups, we have a third boat & we can cater to groups of up to 14. The warmest water is in the Summer months (November – April) with temperatures ranging from 28-30 degrees centigrade. In the Winter the water ranges from 24-28 degrees centigrade. High quality rental dive gear is available though should divers require more than a 3mm long wetsuit they should provide these themselves.
When you check-out a Voluntary Marine Reserve contribution (nominal) will automatically be added to your bill. This money goes to various villages to help them maintain marine reserves & protect the reef.
If you are considering Kadavu scuba diving with us, please check in with the Watersports Centre on the day you arrive. You can then book your place on the dive boat, store any dive gear you have with you & complete any necessary PADI forms.
At breakfast, our team of Divemasters will decide on the most suitable dive sites for that day. They will base their decision on the prevailing weather conditions, the state of the tide & the level of experience of those diving that day. Whilst we endeavor to take all our guests to Manta reef, we limit our diving there to a maximum of two visits per week to avoid disturbing the feeding mantas.
The Astrolabe Hideaway boasts & diving team comprising two instructors, & 2 divemasters (an outstanding number given our capacity for a maximum of 22 guests). We offer a full range of PADI dive certification & courses include: Open Water Certificate, Advanced Certificate, Rescue Diver or Divemaster.
Among the most visually attractive & fascinating Kadavu diving sites are:
dives on both sides of the passage also home to Spot X & the
A deep passage with spectacular walls. Covered with soft coral, this passage offers amazing scenery & an eerie sense of being completely in the middle of nowhere. Schooling barracuda & visiting grey reef sharks complete the experience.
Named after the eagle rays, which often fly around this pinnacle. The dive also typically hosts grey reef sharks, whitetips, shoals of barracuda, trevallies & snapper. At certain times, the water is thick with these shark & fish making it a surreal dive as you may wonder who is watching who.
This structure is home to thousands of reef fish, just hanging out waiting to impress the diver. The anemones & coral are beautiful & reef sharks, hump head wrasse & moray eels are commonly seen on this relaxing dive.
OUTER GREAT ASTROLABE
( exploratory diving – never in the same place twice! )
hard coral as far as the eye can see.
Get the reef fish species list for
A large hole in the coral reef descending to approximately 12 meters completely covered in golden soft corals, which when blooming light up the entire area. Gorgonian fans, moray eels, reef sharks, garden eels & pipe fish are other highlights of this dive.
Combines the best of wall, drift & relaxed coral watching. The dive starts deep with some very large fan corals on the edge of a very deep drop off. At the end of the wall, schools of barracuda often hang out along with a grey reef shark or two. The last part of the dive is spent in shallower coral gardens which go on & on with reef fish schooling in large numbers.
FUN & AFFORDABLE ECO-TOURS
& CULTURAL TOURS NEAR MATAVA RESORT:
Kadavu is now established as a leading world dive destination. However, if you visited Kadavu without exploring at least a little of the island, your visit would be incomplete. Kadavu offers rainforests, mangroves, waterfalls, beaches, unique wildlife, unspoilt villages, & the opportunity to become involved in cultural activities unchanged for hundreds of years. At Matava, we offer a variety of activities for those wanting to explore the island or learn more about the Fijian way of life. Many of these are joint initiatives between the resort & local communities.
Located one hour walking time from the resort is a stunning waterfall which plunges into a cavern of overhanging rocks dappled in ochre & russet colors. The pool below provides an excellent place for a refreshing swim following the walk. It is also popular among guests to sit & relax while the local village children scramble up the rocks surrounding the pool & show off with amazing high dives. The village charges a small fee per guest & this is paid to the resort when you check out. The resort maintains a visitors book in which we ask you to comment on your visit to the falls.
Guests may like to join one of our local farmers & medicine man on a walk to his teitei (garden). They can learn about the local crops of dalo, tavioka, uvi & yaqona (kava root) & about the uses of local forest plants for crafts, medicine & building. Afterwards, they have the chance to relax & talanoa (chat) with members of his family in their village home before returning to the resort. The return trip takes approximately three hours & includes breathtaking views, shady forest paths & grasslands.
Guests wishing to check out
the views above water may wish to try our sea kayaks or canoes. You can explore nearby villages & river systems on the main island; always a treat.
In association with
Our normal overnight kayak adventure begins with a leisurely guided kayak from the resort to Nacomoto village, pausing along the way for some snorkeling & a packed lunch on a secluded sandy beach. After arriving at the village you present your “sevu sevu”, a gift of a bundle of Kava root & receive the traditional welcome from the village chief & elders. Then a local guide from the village will take you on a walk into the hills to see some sights of historic interest. The guide is extremely knowledgeable about the history of the region & the surrounding flora & fauna. Then cool off in the hidden waterfall where the guide will offer you some green coco nut milk straight from the tree. Dinner is back at the village with the elders & the family you will be staying with. You will be invited to join in the ensuing kava ceremony & hear the ancient stories of the village elders. After a good night’s sleep & a hearty breakfast a resort boat will collect you for the trip back to the resort. (or you can choose to kayak back !)
Matava has a daylong return trek to Nacemoto village that takes in mangroves, rainforest & grasslands. The steep climb involved as part of this walk is well worth the effort for the spectacular views over the Astrolabe Reef. Sections of rainforest provide welcome shade along the way, while two inviting waterfalls will tempt hikers into taking a dip. Transfer to & from the village is by boat.
The traditional drink of
The local village performs a meke (pronounced "MAY-kay") for guests of the resort upon request. A meke is a ceremony of traditional songs, music & dance often unique to a particular village. The performers may be school children or the village women’s group. Usually most of the village attends, offering encouragement to their friends, joining in the fun & providing for a real cultural exchange. This is a village initiative supported by Matava to keep local versions of the mekes alive & at the same time raise money for the community development projects in the village. Here are some super-important rules of basic etiquette for proper respectful behavior in a Fijian village. First, never enter any village perimeter unless you stop near the gate, or the front pathway, & pause, then request permission from a village elder who comes to greet you. Don’t wear hats or sunglasses. Don’t carry bags etc. on your shoulders. Take off your shoes before entering a house. Upon entering a house, sit down inside the door. You will be invited to move to the appropriate place. Stoop slightly & say “CHILL-oh” if passing people who are seated on the floor. Ladies should dress modestly. Cover legs with a skirt or Sulu. Cover shoulders with a blouse or T-shirt. Most Fijians will say grace before starting a meal.
If you would like your own private Robinson Crusoe experience, a day trip to a remote beach on the main island of Kadavu (no private isles will be visited) can be arranged with the manager or host on duty. You will depart the resort after breakfast with a packed lunch & snorkeling gear & be dropped of on a distant beach. Collection is normally around 3.30 but can be at a time of your choosing.
Spinner dolphin can be seen in Kadavu waters all year round. They love to play with boats but are quite shy if you get in the water. Pilot whales are often seen outside the reef but around July / August, Humpback whales migrate into Fiji waters to calf. They can often be seen & photographed inside the reef. If we see a humpback inside the reef we offer all guests the opportunity to go out in a boat & see one up close.
The resort staff & its guests are often invited to functions in surrounding villages. When these occur, they offer a chance to experience Fijian culture & hospitality that few, if any tourists to mainstream destinations have the chance to see, let alone experience at first hand. Should a village invite the staff & guests to an event, we will advise you & organize transportation for any who wish to attend.
For reef lovers who enjoy the sun on their back, the Astrolabe Reef also provides a superb snorkeling experience. Whether exploring one of the island's best fringing reefs right in front of the resort or taking a short boat ride to the main reef itself, you will be dazzled by the amazing array of corals & fish for which the Astrolabe is famous. For those with no snorkeling experience, our dive team will be delighted to introduce them to the reef world with just a few fun & easy lessons. All the equipment they need is available for hire from the Watersports Centre.
Divers – We can collect you from the dive boat with a packed lunch.
“BITE ME” -- a classic deep-sea fishing charter vessel
Our custom built DeepVee 310 has a crew of two & is available for day charter for up to 4 guests. The boat is outfitted with toilet, shower, galley, fridge & saloon. She carries a plethora of electronics & safety equipment, Reelax outriggers & 80lb game chair, Simrad sounder/plotter/radar with autopilot & a teak cockpit for your ultimate safety & comfort.
Black Marlin Blue Marlin Striped Marlin Sailfish wahoo Yellowfin
Superb blue water game fishing awaits you around the Great Astrolabe barrier reef, oceanic pinnacles, 4,000m deep trenches & nearby sea mounts. Bite Me can be trolling in 1,000 meters of water within 10 minutes of the resort or working light tackle along the outer fringes of the barrier reef for sailfish & record wahoo.
Cruise the sheltered
Penn International Shimano Reelax Pakula Top Shot Black Magic Penn Wellsys Halco Rapala
We carry Penn International 30lb, 50lb & 80lb big game trolling outfits. We can also carry Shimano 6kg, 8kg & 10kg gear for the light tackle enthusiasts or those guests wishing to make IGFA record attempts on Kadavu’s famous huge wahoo. We also have highly specialised custom made ultra-light gear for World Record attempts & heavy duty deep jig & salt water fly fishing equipment.
Offensive Tackle is a 17 ft Warrior fishing boat
Wahoo Yellowfin Mahi mahi GTs Spaniards Coral Trout Dog Tooth Tuna
Offensive Tackle offers guests a complete range of fishing including trolling lures along the miles of reef systems & outer barrier reef slopes, casting in the mangroves, deep water jigging, casting poppers for GTs & trolling the blue water for sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi & monster wahoo.
Offensive Tackle carries 30lb Shimano TLDs on Excaliber custom rods & Penn Powersticks. These lever drag reels are easy enough to use for the first time angler but capable of handling the hard fighting reef predators & sport fish found all around the island. In addition we can carry light tackle casting rods for the popper crunching GTs as well as high speed Daiwa Saltists on Shimano T-Curve deep water jig outfits to find those deeper reef dwellers such as dog tooth tuna, coral trout, black trevally & deepwater snapper such as Opakapaka.
MATAVA RESORT CONSERVATION EFFORTS &
CARE for the KADAVU
Matava Resort is a small & intimate getaway designed to blend in with its natural environment. Traditional thatched Fijian bures nestled on the edge of the rainforest look out over the Pacific Ocean & Great Astrolabe barrier reef. It is the resort's policy to minimize our impact on the environment & to promote & support ecologically sound conservation measures in our community. Matava is walkin’ the walk big time, in so many exciting life-positive ways, sunseekers:
All lighting in the Ocean view accommodation & the main bure is solar powered. The resort office also derives all its power from solar energy. The resort does not operate any main generators, only a small emergency back-up generator for the office should the need arise.
SOLAR HOT WATER
All new-build accommodation is supplied with hot water derived from solar energy. As each of the older style bures are replaced with a new-build ocean view bure, a solar hot water system is installed. The entire resort should be running on solar heated hot water by the end of 2009.
All rubbish is sorted. Food waste is fed to local pigs. We compost as much waste as possible for the organic farm. Plastic & glass bottles are recycled, as are aluminum cans. Batteries & empty aerosol cans are impossible for us to dispose of & we request that guests take these with them to their home country where suitable methods of disposal are available.
We minimize the need to import vegetables with associated transportation carbon emissions by maintaining a large organic garden in the resort grounds. In addition, we supply local village farmers with seeds & then purchase the fruit & vegetables from them. Many fruit trees such as banana & papaya are scattered throughout the grounds.
We leave areas of land around the resort uncultivated to encourage the growth of native wild flowers & ferns. Part of the resort foreshore is naturally a mangrove shoreline & has been left untouched. Mangroves prevent erosion & provide sanctuary to juvenile fish. No insecticides or herbicides are used on the property. Any plants found around the resort are native to Kadavu or already found on the island. No foreign plant species are brought in to the island, ever, for obvious reasons.
MATAVA RESORT BUILDINGS
All resort building structures are built using locally grown pine or hardwoods planted for that purpose. They are then finished using traditional methods of thatching & palm weaving. We do not use local wild hardwood trees for lumber. All grey water is piped out to rubble drains for flowers & plants. Bures are designed & orientated to benefit from shade & sea breezes for cooling.
STAFFING & HIRING
resort staff are from local villages. The resort's annual expenditure is
directed, wherever possible, to the local community. Obviously, we do have to
import some specialized equipment not manufactured on the island or in
The primary reason for the location of Matava Resort is the abundance of natural spring water. During the drought of 2003, it was one of only two locations on the South of Kadavu island that still had a water supply. The water is naturally filtered through the limestone & is of excellent quality. Nevertheless, rainwater is still collected at certain locations & used to supply the organic garden and supplement the supply to some of the ocean view bures.
in conjunction with our neighboring
bure contains an information pack which includes advice on how guests can avoid
damaging coral & marine life. The main bure has an extensive reference
& information folder on coral reefs & their associated marine life.
Matava Resort is supporting the efforts of local community school Governors to
The resort has a Tag & Release policy on all billfish other than an obvious World or Fiji National Record. All fish not destined for the dinner plate are released. Matava Resort is a member of the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) & the game boat's skipper is a member & supporter of The Billfish Foundation.
Matava's dedication to Responsible Tourism is the driving force behind our Environmental Policy. Far from being an abstract ideal for us, Responsible Tourism shapes all our major decisions - from the concept that 'Small Groups Leave Fewer Footprints' to the choice of contractors & suppliers. Here are our guidelines in a nutshell. Our key principles or code of conduct for operating 'Responsible' Matava adventures are as follows:
• Use locally owned infrastructure for accommodation & transport.
• Spread the financial benefits amongst local people & operators.
• Provide employment & leadership opportunities for local people.
• When recruiting our staff & crew, we assess their environmental credentials & then train them to our own standards.
• Respect local customs & culture.
• Provide safe trips for Matava, Mad Fish & Bite Me staff, crew & guests.
• Educate guests & local people about how we travel.
• Limit the negative impacts to daily lifestyles of local people not involved with Matava adventures & expeditions
• Issue our guests with clear guidelines on responsible tourism. These cover a variety of issues from litter & waste disposal in remote areas, to begging & artifacts. We encourage customers to buy local crafts & support local skills, but never to buy products that exploit wildlife or the harm the habitat.
• Limit the physical impact of trips in all destination communities - particularly sensitive natural & cultural environments.
• Provide support to organizations & local communities around Matava & visited by Matava expeditions & adventures.
• Provide fun enjoyable trips to Matava guests.
• Provide opportunities for guests to interact with local people.
• Actively discourage the participation of Matava in activities which exploit animals - wild or domestic.
• Use local operators that adhere to Matava 's Responsible Travel Philosophies & provide the best possible service to Matava guests & staff.
• Support & encourage fair employment practices.
• Give our guests the best possible value.
• Grass roots travel using local public transport where possible – minimizes demand for special tourist vehicles & fuel.
• We choose locally owned accommodation where available & local restaurants & markets for dining, retaining revenue in local communities.
• Our Directors facilitate communication of our values to guests & local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.
• We employ local crew & guides to aid in guests' understanding of local culture & etiquette.
• Small groups allow guests to experience cultures at first hand, offering greater opportunity for cross- cultural understanding.
We are committed to putting back into the communities & regions we visit by supporting many aid, development & conservation projects in these areas. Much of this support is through The Matava Foundation & guests are invited to contribute.
MATAVA RESORT WINS COVETED ECO-AWARDS +
RENEWS 3 ½ STAR TRIPLE-A RATING for 3rd STRAIGHT YEAR.
Matava -Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort remains the only island resort on Kadavu that's been officially rated by AAA Australian Hotel rating system that is recognized world-wide & is Fiji's official Hotel & Resorts Star Rating Agency, & the award of the retention of its 3 ½ star rating. "I am extremely proud that we have once again retained our 3½ star rating with AAA. This year has been a big one for Matava with the opening of our brand-new Main Bure Complex, addition of the new restaurant, the refurbishment of the Oceanview Bures & the building of our new Honeymoon Bure, as well as new construction & ongoing maintenance to the existing infrastructure," said Richard Akhtar, Matava Managing Director. "A lot of time & effort have gone into these projects during 2008 & it is extremely pleasing that during busy periods we have been able maintain the high level of service required & to be rated as such by an independent international rating system."
Mr. Akhtar went on to say that "after the recent major resort
upgrade in early 2008, & the addition of our high-tech solar power plant solution for the
Main Bure, kitchen & The Terrace restaurant area, we believe are the leader
in eco-sustainable resorts in the country. The Green STAR Accreditation gives
us special environmental recognition & shows our customers that we are
continuing our responsibilities to the environment & are (conscientiously)
reducing the environmental impacts of our business. It is a wonderful result for Matava & the
To be awarded a Green STAR Accreditation, Matava -
• Energy efficiency -- Matava had to prove use of energy efficient light bulbs & fixtures, earthly-friendly signage & reminding guests to turn off lights & to use natural ventilation whenever possible.
• Waste minimization -- Matava was awarded based on its extensive recycling program, towel re-use & linen no-change policy, plus even printer cartridge recycling in the office.
• Water management -- Matava also was commended for wide use of dual-flush toilets, environmentally friendly cleaning products, unbleached paper products, no leak-taps & recycled water on gardens.
In conjunction with
Matava's owner, Richard Akhtar said "Matava -
On Feb. 5, 2008, Matava Resort also was named recipient of the PADI Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award, a highly respected industry accolade that only the most greenly efficient resorts worldwide ever can achieve.
Project AWARE Foundation Chairman, Dr. Drew Richardson recognizes the importance of the scuba diving community taking its part in protection of global ecosystems. "The Environmental Achievement Award is about rewarding vision, excellence & pursuit of conservation. More importantly, this award ensures the
enjoyment of underwater environments for future generations," said
After reviewing Matava's application, Project AWARE determined that its dive operation met all requirements set forth for Project AWARE's Environmental Achievement Award & has consistently shown exemplary efforts to conserve aquatic environments through education, advocacy & action, PADI officials reported.
Matava Director, Mr. Richard Akhtar responded, "The PADI Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award gives us special environmental recognition & shows our customers that we are responsible & committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our business. After 6 years of hard work & commitment to our strict environmental policies, it is rewarding to be recognized by our international scuba certification agency.”
Project AWARE Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization, works in direct partnership with divers & watersports enthusiasts to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy & action.
KADAVU is HOME to RARE & MARVELOUS BIRD SPECIES!!
Kadavu Fantail (Rhipidura personata)
Dark earth brown head, neck & cheeks contrast with two separate white eye marks & a white throat that is bordered by a black band. The long fan tail is tipped with white. Common in the remaining forests & very inquisitive, often sliding along a branch fanning its tail & dropping its wings. Sometimes follow observers some distance to keep making its scolding call. Often seen around the resort grounds.
Kadavu Musk Parrot (prosopeia splendens)
Distinguished by its bright scarlet head & underparts & conspicuous blue bar across the mantle. Back & rump are shining green. Its flight feathers are green suffused with blue. A noisy parrot that produces a wide variety of raucous squawks & screeches & is very agile when flying in amongst the trees.
This parrot is most active (and noisy) at dawn & dusk with the best vantage point being the resort's organic garden.
Kadavu Honeyeater (xanthotis provocator)
A featureless bird with olive grey plumage which is heavily streaked on the back & underparts. The pointed black bill is long & slightly downcurved & it has a conspicuous rosette of bare skin around the eye. Often seen around the resort grounds.
Whistling Dove (chrysoenas layardi)
male is uniformly green, darker on the back with a conspicuous yellowish
green head, white belly & yellow undertail coverts. The female is similar
but lacks the distinctive head plumage. First collected by naturalists from
the Challenger Expedition which visited
FOR MORE INFORMATION or RESERVATIONS:
Please feel free to contact:
John Hessburg, General Manager
Susan Hessburg, Operations Manager
U. S. DIVE TRAVEL Network
PMB 307 / Suite # 116
15050 Cedar Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN, USA 55124-7047
Voice Mail: 952-953-4124
E-mail: divetrip@bitstream. net
Website: www. usdivetravel. com
IMPORTANT REMINDER about PRICES & TARIFFS:
All MATAVA RESORT - KADAVU dive package prices listed here are subject to possible change in this steadily evolving travel market. Lodging, side tour & diving prices are traditionally stable, while air prices can fluctuate daily. Until air tickets are issued, all airlines reserve the right to change airfares without notice -- an industry standard per FAA rules. We at U.S. Dive Travel will price-protect you to the utmost of our professional ability; & that has been our pledge for one decade now. Our tropical vacation experts normally secure excellent wholesale discount air tickets for our clients who book early enough to secure limited seats in the best price categories. Remember please, the federal government has deregulated all U.S.-based airlines, so only they control their pricing -- not any travel professionals. Early is good when seeking the best air ticket rates.
Unless specifically noted, these MATAVA RESORT- KADAVU scuba diving packages & Matava Resort snorkeling packages & Matava Resort deep-sea fishing packages are prices for only the land-based portion of the dive resort, in most cases reflecting double-occupancy rooms. At many dive resorts, there will be no triple-occupancy rooms offered. Some exceptions will be noted. International air tickets & commuter "island-hopper" seats are always extra above these land costs. Nominal service fees are also extra for air tickets & the vessel + side tour components. The baseline tariffs for all clients start at USD $55 per person for the land portion + $35 pp for the air tickets. Late-booking clients may receive slightly higher tariffs on the lodging + diving at many of our dive resorts.
The preferred payment mode for all of our dive resorts, side tours & air ticket specials is by cashier's check or wire transfer in U. S. dollars. All clients living outside the USA or Canada will need to pay for their dive vacations via direct wire transfer only. No personal checks will be accepted for the land portion of any reservation. Thank you for your gracious understanding. Our service level is the highest & our prices the lowest in this industry, & thus we need to preserve a reasonable margin. For published-fare air ticket bookings, USDT always accepts Visa & Mastercard.
This webpage has been designed to highlight the virtues of Matava Resort, Kadavu island, Kadavu diving, Kadavu scuba diving, Kadavu snorkeling, Kadavu dive vacation, Astrolabe Reef, Astrolabe Reef scuba diving, Astrolabe Reef game fishing, Fiji diving, Fiji snorkeling, Fiji game fishing, Fiji dive trips, Fiji dive vacations & Fiji scuba diving. We sincerely hope you folks had as much fun cruising & perusing this page as U.S. Dive Travel staff had in creating it.
So if you want to dig further into these topics: Matava Resort, Matava, Kadavu, Kadavu island, Kadavu diving, Kadavu scuba diving, Kadavu snorkeling, Kadavu dive vacation, Astrolabe Reef, Astrolabe Reef scuba diving, Astrolabe Reef game fishing, Fiji diving, Fiji snorkeling, Fiji blue water game fishing, Fiji dive trips, Fiji dive vacations, Fiji scuba diving -- please feel free to call us any time! We would love to help you any way we can.
Best fishes too!
John Hessburg & Susan Hessburg, Mgrs.
U.S. Dive Travel Network.
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