Lovoni village is surrounded by thick, green rainforest in the centre of a flat-bottomed valley that is actually an extinct volcano crater. It is the island’s beating heart and the centre of indigenous culture. There’s no accommodation for travellers here, but guided tours are available from Levuka – you need to go with a guide to visit the village. Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to face down some serious mud if it rains (which it does often, and suddenly). Your guide should provide a sevusevu (gift) for the chief (if the chief’s around) and point out the chiefs’ burial site opposite the church and the Korolevu hill fortification high on the crater rim, where villagers took refuge in times of war.
The Lovoni villagers are extremely proud of their heritage and often describe themselves as the strongest and bravest people in all of Fiji. The fact that Chief Cakobau was only able to defeat them with trickery is held up as proof of this. On 7 July each year the enslavement of the Lovoni people is remembered. People of all religions gather in one church and the history is read out.