The highly-anticipated 45th season of Survivor premieres on Wednesday, September 27, at 8/7c on CBS and Paramount+. This incredibly popular and long-lived television series shows no signs of slowing down!
To celebrate the milestone, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is dressing its iconic Hollywood Boulevard dinosaur in the show’s signature bandana, or “buff!” Join in on the fun and wear a buff just like the Ripley’s dino by using the #SurvivorBuffTakeover filter on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat!
Our large-and-in-charge T. rex was chosen to symbolize the strength demanded of Survivor castaways, and the dino-sized buff represents the latest group emerging to compete in the greatest game ever played. But just where, exactly, are the Survivor castaways surviving? Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is here to give you the scoop on the series’ iconic location.
Fiji: Home of Survivor
Survivor’s history in Fiji goes back to its 14th season, when it filmed on the island of Vanua Levu. The show didn’t return to the country until season 33, and it has stayed in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji ever since. The show’s host, Jeff Probst, has fallen in love with the nation over the years. “I hope we stay here forever,” he once said in an interview, “This is our home. I hope we end our show here.”
“Buff” up your Survivor trivia knowledge, and explore the location that’s become an integral part of the show’s epic legacy with these 15 fun and interesting facts about Fiji!
1. Fiji is made up of hundreds of islands
Did you know that Fiji contains more than 300 islands? Or that only a third of them are habitable? All told, Fijians call 110 islands home. But there are also 500 islets! These land formations point to a long history of volcanic activity in the area.
2. Residents of Fiji tend to live on the coast
Most residents of Fiji live on the island of Viti Levu along the coastline. As for the interior of the island? It’s considered uninhabitable due to extreme terrain. The island with the second-largest population is Vanua Levu. Considering how gorgeous Fijian beaches are, sticking to the edges is hardly a sacrifice!
3. Fiji is seriously multicultural
It would be easy to assume an archipelago like Fiji doesn’t have much in the way of diversity. But that’s as far from the truth as you can get! In reality, the nation contains residents who are indigenous to Fiji, India, Europe, and China.
4. And multilingual!
As a result, Fiji is one of the few countries on Earth where three national languages are spoken — English, Fijian, and Fiji Hindi (a dialect of what’s spoken in India).
5. Fiji is home to a record-breaking temple
Fiji’s islands may be diminutive compared to continents like Australia but that doesn’t mean they lack for sacred space. Fiji boasts the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere — Sri Siva Subramaniya in Nadi! You’ll also find many Christian churches dating to the 1800s.
6. Fiji is going plastic-free
One of the biggest problems facing ocean health is the onslaught of plastics that have made their way into marine ecosystems. These harmful materials can take as many as 1,000 years to disintegrate. Fortunately, Fiji takes plastic pollution very seriously. The nation is working to go completely plastic-free.
7. Fiji produces tons of sugar
With so many islands at Fiji’s disposal, some are devoted to sugarcane plantations. How sweet is Fiji’s ultimate impact? In 2018, the nation produced a massive 176,595 tons of raw sugar.
8. Rugby is Fiji’s favorite sport
While the U.S. loves baseball and football and the rest of the world can’t get enough of soccer, Fijians obsess over rugby. The British may have introduced rugby to the islands at the end of the 19th century, but Fijians have run with it. Not only is it the national sport, but Fiji boasts one of the best teams in the world. In 2016, they clinched the gold medal at the Summer Olympics.
9. Fiji has a history of cannibalism
Cannibalism was practiced on the islands for at least 2,500 years. One of the most famous instances occurred on July 21, 1867, when the Methodist minister Reverend Thomas Baker and seven of his followers ended up as the main course. Thankfully, King Ratu Cakobau outlawed eating other people in 1871.
10. Firewalking started in Fiji
Firewalking has long captivated peoples’ imaginations. It’s been the subject of shows like Mythbusters and practiced with mixed success at Tony Robbins events. Although it’s become a thorough part of Western culture, walking over burning coals originated on Bega Island in Fiji 500 years ago!
11. FIJI Water is not the country’s most popular drink
Fiji Water’s clever branding has made it synonymous with high-end aqua. But don’t expect to stick solely to H₂O on the islands. Instead, locals sip kava, a traditional drink that’s developed into the nation’s top beverage. Made from the ground root of a plant from the pepper family, kava boasts numerous health benefits, especially for stress, headaches, and insomnia.
12. Britain once owned Fiji
Starting in 1874, the British took control of Fiji. They did so through the Deed of Concession, signed by a handful of high-ranking traditional chiefs, including Ma’afu and Cakobau. This explains the Union Jack still visible on Fiji’s flag today. And the influences of British culture are evident, from rugby to the parliamentary and legal systems of the islands.
13. It is traditional to cook food underground in Fiji
Fijian cuisine is celebrated the world over for its delectable flavors. Cooks continue to rely on the same traditional methods of cooking employed for centuries. This includes the use of underground pits, known as lovo pits, to cook ingredients wrapped in banana leaves.
14. Boiled bat is a delicacy in Fiji
Speaking of what to eat in Fiji, boiled bat is considered a real treat. Served whole and uncut in a bowl of soup, it’s a highly expensive menu item that’s not for the faint of heart. Although boiled bat may not look like much prep goes in, it’s a labor-intensive dish. Bat has a strong and overpowering odor that isn’t especially appetizing. So, chefs must soak it in a special sauce of garlic and chili for extended periods to cover the smell.
15. You can time travel in Fiji
Technically speaking, you can be in two different time zones at once on the island of Taveuni. The destination is bisected by the international dateline. And when you’re visiting, you can explore the actual location where time jumps forward. That said, Fiji has nudged the border to ensure the entire country fits into one time zone, which has made New Year’s Eve on Taveuni a lot less complicated.
Now You’re Ready to Watch Season 45 of Survivor!
Impress your friends and family with these fun facts about Fiji as you tune in to this milestone season premiere of Survivor on Wednesday, September 27, at 8/7c on CBS and Paramount+.
Share your excitement by using the #SurvivorBuffTakeover filter on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat! And if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood to take a selfie with our buffed-out dino — don’t forget to tag us!
By Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com