Quick Guide to Fiji: Visa-free travel for South Africans

2018-06-18 16:54 - Saara Mowlana
Post a comment 0
fiji map

Plan your trip to Fiji with this Quick Guide. (Photo: iStock)

Sitting snug in the Oceania region alongside its bigger neighbours of Australia and New Zealand, Fiji is and island lover's dream escape.

From cyrstal clear teal waters and a thick and flourishing forest region to explore - there is so much to see on the small but wonderful island.

You can dive right in and learn about the precious coral reef while living out your Little Mermaid and Nemo dreams 'under the sea' befriending the creatures that call the reef home.

Adventure seekers can be sure to go chasing waterfalls along stunning hike routes and swim in cave pools that are tranquil enough to feed even the most battered the soul.

Those looking to unwind their spine can do just that by getting a full on spa treatment massage out in nature courtesy of one of the available resorts.

What are you waiting for? Plan your Fiji trip now.

SEECoral Reef 101: What are they and why are they important?

Here's what you need to know if you go:

  • Visas: No visa is required for South Africans for up to four months - granted you have a valid passport
  • Population: About 911 377 +/- presently
  • Useful app to download: Fiji Flights to track and manage your flights
  • Capital CitySuva
  • Flight time: About 31 hours at best with two stop overs

READ: Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could cost Australia a million tourists: study

  • Currency: Fijian Dollar (FJD - F$)  Current Exchange Rate: F$1 (FJD) = R6.09
  • Medical and health: To avoid illness and dampening your trip experience, be sure to heed the warnings and get the appropriate vaccinations beforehand. Some Reccommended: Hepatitis A & B and influenza. Plus typhoid for those travelling to small cities and villages outside of the usual tourist routes.
  • Religion: Fiji is diverse in religion and cultures and has no singularly dominant faith - read more here.
  • Country code: +679
  • Time Zone: Fiji operates on Fiji Time (FJT) which is UTC+12 - Fiji is 10 hours ahead of SA.
  • Emergencies: Dial 911 or 910 - for more emergency numbers: click here.
  • Public Transport: A network of busses, carriers (trucks) and ferries for travel within Fiji's main islands, and taxis are common. Read more here.
  • Climate: Fiji has a warm and tropical climate. The weather is fairly consistent and the area experiences roughly about 15 cyclones per decade - out of which only two to four are known to cause severe damage. 
  • Popular Cuisine: Must try dishes include: Kokoda, Lovo, Duruka to name a few, check out more here.

CHECK OUT: #ShockWildlifeTruth: Greater protection for deep-sea coral, fishing in Atlantic Ocean 

Useful phrases to know: 

Fijian is widely spoken around. However, you may encounter some locals who speak Fiji Hindi or English. Learn a few key phrases in Fijian to make your stay more enjoyable.

Useful app to download - Duolingo makes learning a new language easy and fun. 

  • Where are you going? - O sa lako ki vei? - (o sa lahko kee vay)
  • Good day - Nibula - (nimbula)
  • A less formal greeting - Bula - (mbula)
  • Good morning - Ni sa yadra - (ni sah yandra)
  • Goodbye/Good night - Ni sa moce - (ni sah mothay)
  • yes - io - (ee-oh)
  • no - sega - (sayngah)
  • Come here - Lako mai eke - (lahko my kay)
  • Good/Thank you - Vinaka - (vinahka)
  • Thank you very much - Vinaka vaka levu - (vinahka vaka layvu)
  • Where do you come from? - O ni lako mai vei? (o ni lahko my vay)
  • I come from... - Au lako mai... (ow lahko my...)
  • What's this? A cava oqo? - (ah thava ongo)
  • It's a… - E dua na… - (ay do-ah nah…)
  • How much is this? - E vica na kena i-sau? 
  • Where is the toilet / bathroom? - E vei na vale-lailai? 
  • Do you speak English? - O(ni) vosa vakavalagi?

    Practical Tips

    When travelling to Fiji, make sure you have the following on your packing list:

    • A valid passport, arrival ticket, return ticket, adequate funds;
    • a camera;
    • basic essentials;
    • comfortable, lightweight, and casual clothes;
    • comfortable and strong shoes or boots if you decide to trek the rougher landscapes;
    • a brimmed hat;
    • sunscreen;
    • insect repellent;
    • protective reef shoes;
    • snorkelling gear;
    • swimwear & beach towel;
    • formal / occasional wear (depending on your reason for travel);
    • basic toiletries;
    • hand sanitiser;
    • prescription medication;
    • diarrhoea and indigestion meds;
    • sunglasses (and a spare pair);
    • a medical kit (for exploration);
    • Swiss Army Knife (for exploration);
    • a flashlight (for exploration);
    • video camera and accessories;
    • binoculars;
    • vaccination certificates;
    • insurance documents;
    • your credit / debit cards;
    • sandals or flipflops;
    • Fiji maps - city / town maps and travel guides;
    • a notebook, tablet or smartphone.

    Other

    • Get a waterproof cover / pack for your phone or tablet -  to keep them protected on the beach, water related activities and from downpours of rain. Water, sand and electronics is not a fun mixtape.
    • Get a Fijian sim card quickly and easily at the airport when  you arrive - it will save you a lot of data roaming charges!
    • Always carry a lightweight and powerful powerbank to ensure you've always got juice on the move - snapping pics and navigating Google maps tend to chow up battery life rather fast. Make sure you have your charger and a universal adapter too while you're at it.
    • As much as the urge to take as many pictures of the beautiful country as possible is strong, be sure to ask permission before you begin to snap pictures of houses or people. In some cases, you may be required to offer a tip for those pictures.
    • Watch your money - Make sure that, when changing currency you do so in a reputable hotel, foreign exchange bureau or bank.
    • Drinking water - it is recommended you avoid drinking tap water and go for bottled or purified water instead, read more here.
    • Tipping is not a thing in Fiji - gratuities and tips are not expected as services are considered communal within their society.

    Top attractions in Fiji

    Fiji is known for its inviting teal water activities. Go snorkelling and admire the incredible and vibrant coral indigenous to the Fijian coast. Other water activities include: kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing and plain 'ol swimming. 

    Visit this vibrant and intricate temple. This Hindu temple houses sacred statues designed by craftspeople brought over from India. The 'largest temple in the southern hemisphere' reflect architecture that's rarely seen outside of India. 

    These small islands are little dollops of tropical heaven. Enjoy the simple and slightly wild life on these quaint islands. There are no restaurants and only three islands have accommodation – giving you a truly remote and rustic experience.

    Go on a guided river safari through Fiji's interior wonder. Enjoy the ride and learn about the Sigatoka Valley - aka 'The Salad Bowl' of Fiji - from your Mini-Coach driver. Prepare to be left in awe by amazing natural scenery and lush surrounding forest life. Try not to drop your phone in the water while snapping away at aesthetic nature pics! 

    Honeymooners should keep this island on their radar. Tokoriki is an adults-only boutique resort offering newlyweds and romantics tropial fun without the worry of kids. With a range of activities from snorkelling and water sports to coming back for stargazing, this island is sure to keep both the fun and romance alive.