There’s a reason why Savusavu on the island of Vanua Letua is known as “Fiji’s Hidden Paradise”, and Salt Lake Lodge is the perfect example of this. From the moment we stepped onto the property of this hidden gem, we were greeted like old friends and immediately felt at home.
Location and how to get there
Situated on a tidal river that leads to a Salt Lake in Vanua Letua, Salt Lake Lodge really is in a league of its own. It’s unique in the fact that the river flows in the direction of the tides, so you may wake up with the river flowing towards the salt lake, only to find the current direction has changed towards the ocean in just a few hours. This makes for terrific tubing or kayaking opportunities, you can float down to the lake with the current in the morning and then float back to the lodge as the tide is going back out in the afternoon.
If you are flying in to Fiji internationally, you will fly into Nadi International airport on the main island of Viti Levu. From here you will need to get a short domestic flight with Fiji Airways (or “Fiji Link” as they are sometimes known) to Savusavu. The flight is about an hour and they are usually very small <20 seater aircrafts that make multiple flights a day between the two destinations. There are also multiple daily flights from Suva as well.
Once arriving in Savusavu airport, one of the staff will pick you up from the airport for a small fee (around 50FJD) – just let the lodge know what time you will be arriving and they will handle the rest. The lodge is a short 25 minute drive from the airport, along the scenic Hibiscus Highway.
Check in process
The chef, Osea, picked us up from Koro Sun Resort (we had been hopping around throughout Fiji on our travels so weren’t coming from the airport this time) and drove us to the lodge. Upon arrival, the staff assisted us with our luggage and we were brought into the main area where we were offered a complimentary foot soak while Solo, the lodge manager, explained everything about the lodge and the various activities offered before showing us to our cabin.
Rooms / accommodations
The lodge has just two bungalows. We stayed in the Kingfisher cabin which is slightly larger than the other bungalow with a terrace offering panoramic views over the river. They both have air conditioning, which is often hard to come by at smaller lodges and guesthouses. The room actually had three beds which would be fantastic for families, one room is in the loft so bear this in mind if bringing the tinys.
There is a mini fridge and coffee/tea making facilities in the room which was a nice touch. There is a selection of sodas and beers in the fridge, in which you are billed each day on how many you have consumed.
There is a full bathroom separate from the bedroom with shower, sink and toilet. Off the bedroom is a terrace with views over the lake and a table and chairs to relax in after a day of activities.
Food and Drink
At check in, we were given two options for our meals – there is a communal kitchen with basic ingredients and all the cooking utensils you would need plus a BBQ if you wanted to make your own meals, or alternatively, for just 100 FJD per couple per day (plus the cost of ingredients) you can have the private onsite chef curate different meals to suit your tastes each day. I’m no wizard in the kitchen, so it was a pretty big no brainer for us to have our own chef during our stay. I have Celiac disease and therefore cannot eat wheat – I explained my dietary restrictions with Osea and he was more than accommodating; and even managed to source some gluten free pasta one day for lunch! For such a remote island I was incredibly impressed that that could have even been an option during my stay.
Whatever you decide, breakfast is included in your room rate and is nothing short of spectacular. What starts with a fresh platter of sliced tropical fruits and home made muffins finishes with a hot breakfast – on my first morning I chose to have scrambled eggs and Osea made me some homemade gluten free hash browns with fresh salsa.
Each day, the chef would come and discuss what we would like to eat for every meal before heading out to the store for fresh ingredients. We had chicken curry the first night and it was hands down, the best curry I’ve ever tasted. One morning, we went out fishing with one of the staff and managed to catch two jack crevalles which Osea was more than happy to use for our dinner – he made the traditional Kokomo which is fresh raw fish marinated in coconut cream and lime juice and fresh vegetables and herbs, and then filleted and sauteed it with a wonderful coconut sauce.
The drinks at Salt Lake Lodge are very reasonably priced – let them know your preferences and they will go out and stock what you need to make your favourite tipple. Provided they can buy it on the island, they can make it for you, be it cocktails, or simply a beer or glass of wine. My favourite during my stay was spiced rum with ginger beer served with fresh lime and pineapple – and for just $15 FJD each.
There is an activities board in the main area with an extensive list of excursions and things to do at the lodge – from waterfall visits to picnics on the beach to fishing and candle light dinners on the lake – there’s no shortage of things to keep you entertained at Salt Lake Lodge.
One morning, we chose to go out fishing with one of the staff, Simon, AKA Captain Sai. He told us the best time to go fishing would be the very first light so we arranged to meet him at 5.30am the following morning. Right on time, Simon prepared the boat and we were off, little did we know that we’d also experience the most beautiful sunrise I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It really was one of those pinch me moments, and if we hadn’t gone fishing, it would still have been more than worth it to experience the sunrise.
There are a selection of kayaks to use complimentary during your stay at Salt Lake Lodge. As mentioned, the lodge is perfectly positioned for kayak trips to follow the current down to the salt lake. And even if you decided to kayak back against the current it wasn’t terribly difficult to navigate the tidal flows. If you choose to float down to the lake or to the pontoon positioned in the middle of the lake, on one of the lodges floats you can either choose to wait until the current flows back in the direction of the lodge or arrange with Simon to scoop you back up in the boat and bring you back.
I’m not lying when I say this was the best service we had on our trip to Fiji, if not ever. Nothing was too much trouble; Simon and Lily took excellent care of us and made sure our stay was unforgettable. When they learned that we liked rum, they made a special trip to go and source some from town to make us a curated cocktail.
What to pack on your trip to Salt Lake Lodge
- Reef/ Water shoes – always wear these when wading out into the river from the lodge. There can be sharp rocks or crabs and this way you’ll protect your feet.
- Mosquito repellent – the lodge does a very good job of keeping them at bay through the use of coils but it’s always best to bring some; you are in the jungle after all
- Rashguard – the sun is very strong here and no one wants an afternoon on the lake to ruin your vacation
- Reef safe sunscreen – linking my favourite one here
- Fishing gear if you plan on trying your luck at the lake or offshore. We prefer to bring our own light tackle travel rods and reels and cast 3 to 4 inch swimbaits on ¼ ounce jig heads. If you coordinate with the lodge, fishing gear for trolling can be provided. We just prefer to use our own gear.
We started as strangers and left as family. I’ve never felt more at home than I did at Salt Lake Lodge. The service was unparalleled, the food exquisite and the location is breathtaking. I don’t usually go back to the same place twice during my travels, but this is the one exception I will make again and again.
Ready to book? Click here to Salt Lake Lodge!
For more photos and videos, have a look at my “Fiji” highlights reel on Instagram 🙂 @chase.the.rainbows
Disclosure: chasetherainbows.com participates in affiliate advertising programs as a way to earn revenue. Some links to products and services are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you click an affiliate link and finalize a purchase. Thank you for your support.