If you like horses and you know how to ride I can’t recommend enough that you visit Arif at his farm in Lautoka and go riding in the mountains whilst you’re in Fiji!
We caught the bus to Lautoka early doors on Sunday morning and were collected from the bus station by Arif. He owns and runs a small farm about 40 minutes out of the city and in the mountains. Arif was lovely, really chatty and easy to talk to, he seemed genuinely interested in us and why we were in Fiji. He was also passionate about animals and their wellbeing, steering us away from the horse riding along many of the beaches as the horses are not well looked after.
Once we’d driven along a rather bumpy and well-worn track we came to a small but perfectly formed working farm; complete with cows, horses, goats and sheep. But the main draw was the stunning scenery that surrounded us, the winning back drop being the Sleeping Giant mountain.
Having ridden before Arif gave us a quick briefing on riding ‘western’ style, what to expect from the horses and route we would take. He’s clearly used to teaching beginners as well as experienced riders so was very clear in his explanations. Then we got going!
I got to ride Rambo, who was small but fast! Our first route was gentle, pausing for many photo opportunities along the way – Arif knows exactly where to get you to stand and how to pose for the camera! We also got to trot a little and I had an accidental canter – my horse just wanted to keep up with the others! We got high enough up to have great views of Nadi, Port Denarau, Lautoka and the Mamuca/Yasawa island groups.
We were given some delicious chicken curry for lunch and had a little snooze in the sun before we headed out for our second ride. Arif trusted we knew what we were doing so we happily cantered around and called (literally) some cattle into their pen. Then the skies opened and we got drenched, not that it took anything from the experience, but it did mean you had to stay back from the horse in front to avoid a face full of mud!
We returned to shower our horses and get ourselves dry before an impromptu lesson in how to milk a cow and crack a whip! The former being considerably more successful than the latter.
Overall, it was a fantastic afternoon well worth the 5 hour coach journey there!
By Kat Barber - Project Coordinator
Find out more about Frontier's volunteering projects in Fiji.
Check out what volunteers in Fiji are up to right now!
See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer