What a year 2020 was. We went from a packed trek schedule with lots of exciting hikes booked in, to having plenty of time on our hands to focus on the domestic market, finding support for our partner communities, scoping new trails, and even a bit of trail running.
While the world gets vaccinated the prospect of visitors returning to Fiji, and particularly to remote areas and communities, remains slim for 2021. So, we’re going to continue with similar activities and build to fully reopening in 2022…and keep our fingers crossed for this year!
Support to our partner communities
Throughout Talanoa Treks’ journey a key part of our sustainability plan has been to ensure our treks do not interfere with the ongoing business in each of our partner communities. The ambition has always been for trekking tourism to be valued added income without becoming something that the communities fully depended on. Thankfully, the communities have therefore been able to continue to earn income through their farming.
Aligned to this, we’re grateful to support from the Fiji Women’s Fund, who we are working with to support several ladies in Naga and Nubutautau villages to produce jams and chutneys in their new community kitchens, which they can sell at market and which we can also buy to for use during our hiking trips in normal times; to roll out hygiene training related to Covid-19 protocols; and to support the ongoing development of several of our amazing women guides.
Separately we’re grateful to the US Embassy for funds through NatureFiji-MareqetiViti to support Nabalesere fully establish themselves as a tourism business, and able to market to and receive guests independently of us.
Developing new itineraries
We’ve taken the opportunity in the last 12 months to explore options for new and improved itineraries. We’ve explored a tough expedition hike in the upper Sigatoka area, which forms a 3-4 day circuit, and are continuing to explore old routes in the area around Fiji’s highest mountain, Mt Tomaniivi, to build a 4-5 day circuit through the forests of the Greater Tomaniivi area.
We’ve also created a new Highland Escape itinerary, which delivers great hikes and an immersive cultural experience, but at a more relaxed pace. After trialing this itinerary with local groups in 2020, we’re hoping it will become the mainstay of our schedule once borders open up. The Highland Escape is designed to be paired with our Hit the Heights itinerary for anyone wanting additional hiking days.
Testing out some trail runs
We also trialed several options for trail runs through 2020, all along pretty rugged, remote trails, each time being reminded (cursing?!) that there is almost no flat ground in Fiji. We’ve added three of these to our schedule for 2021 and are excited to share these amazing routes with others.
Our 2021 trekking schedule
We’ve finalised our schedule for 2021. For now, these trips are open for anyone in Fiji to book onto, and as the vaccines roll out and Fiji develops a plan for reopening borders we hope to be welcoming guests from overseas in the not too distant future!
We’d also like to say a big vinaka vakalevu to all our past and future guests who have shown patience and support. We appreciate your help in keeping us going. If you have a postponed booking with us, and are unsure as to its status, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via [email protected].