The Maldives is the hot new playground for South African visitors. With its white sandy beaches, alluring turquoise waters, luxury resorts and string of activities, it is fast becoming the summer destination for South Africans wanting to venture abroad.
A group of South African media, including myself, were invited for a week-long stay at this South Asian destination where we got to spend time at three luxury resorts: Fushifaru, The The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort and Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa.
Each resort offers something different for guests, but more about that in future articles.
Travellers need to know that travelling to the Maldives takes up to a day (if you are counting layovers and travel time to the resort). There are flights from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The long travel time is worth it once you step on the warm, sandy beaches with a signature Maldivian drink in hand.
A negative PCR test is required 96 hours before arrival to the Maldives, and some resorts may ask for testing if you are visiting more than one property during your stay.
No pre-arrival visa is required to enter the Maldives. According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation's website, a 30-day free visa is issued on arrival for all nationalities, provided they have a valid passport, a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives and have enough funds to cover the expenses for the duration of the stay in Maldives (this is usually $100 + $50 dollars per day) or a confirmation of reservation in a tourist resort or a hotel.
Once you arrive at the airport (Velana International Airport is the main airport in Maldives), you will take a seaplane or a boat ride to your resort.
You may have to take another domestic flight if your destination is far.
When booking a resort, make sure you book a fully inclusive package. That way, you do not have to worry about forking extra cash during the duration of the trip.
Some resorts offer select activities, so ask what's on offer before checking in.
Here are some snippets of our 7-day trip. Be prepared to have a bit of FOMO:
The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa
Clinton Moodley was hosted by Maldives Tourism Board.