By Sera Tikotikovatu-Sefeti
The Sabeto hotspring and mudpool is a place of rejuvenation for both mind and body.
Located midway between Nadi and Lautoka, it can be reached by driving along the Queens Road, and turning off where you see a sign for the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Continue just past the Garden and look for the well-signposted pools.
On arrival recently we were greeted by the soft-spoken, smiling Laisa, who led us to a couple of buckets, where we scooped out mud and rubbed it onto our skin; the first step of the experience.
The mud felt surprisingly smooth and silky in our hands, and on our bodies. Once you are covered in the black coating, it’s time to wait. Don’t apply it too thickly or you will be waiting a long time! As the mud dries, your skin tightens, a little like the sensation when you use a face mask.
You can use this time to chat in the sun, take photos and videos for your social media channels (Laisa or her colleagues can help), peer into the source of the spring (which is fenced in as a small well as it is too hot to touch) or just admire the scenery.
Laisa tells us students from the University of Fiji take samples of the mud every year and have found that it has antibiotic properties that are good for the skin.
“The mud is located a little further up from the mudpool; you will see hot mud. We bring that, and one of the boys, as part of his job, fills the bucket every day,” she tells us.
“And the mud, once it dries up, exfoliates your skin, and the hot water helps relieve the pain in your body. For the iTaukei, when they are feeling sick, they come soak in the hot springs, and it’s good for your health too,” Laisa said.
After the mud had dried, we entered the first hot spring, or ‘pool one’ to clean it off. After some time paddling across the small pool there, we move to pool two. The water here was nice and hot, and enjoying the warmth with the spectacular Sabeto mountain as our backdrop was extra special.
As we sat soaking and floating in the third and then fourth pools, we felt our muscles relax, and our heads clear. My children’s sinuses were clear by the end of the soak, and as soon as we reached home, we all had a good sleep.
We want to return to this truly relaxing place, as it is just the ‘medicine’ you need after a long, hard week, truly nature’s own remedy for an exhausted and stressed body.
If you are planning to go there, just remember it can be a bumpy ride. We used Google Maps to get there; it was a 35-minute drive from Nadi town, and you can either drive yourself there, hire a rental vehicle or hire a taxi.
They have great facilities; a large parking lot, changing sheds, and a little vendor on the side selling souvenirs, some of them created by men and women from Sabeto village.
For maximum mud coverage, wear a bikini or one-piece, but if you are shy like me, wear shorts and a singlet, or better yet, use a sulu (sarong) and come prepared with your change, as well as a towel, although you have the option to hire one for $5.
Sabeto Mudbath has two different rates: the local rate, which is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, and the tourist rate, which is F$30 for adults and F$15 for children under the age of 10.
Massages are also available on site, and the best way to contact them is on Viber or by calling the number 845-2462
For more information check out their website http://sabetohotspringandmudpool.com