Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa is both an Instagram dream and perfect for those who want some privacy. Pictures: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa is both an Instagram dream and perfect for those who want some privacy. Pictures: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

LOOK: A week in the Maldives - the hot new playground for SA visitors

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Oct 6, 2021

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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 journey

Savour the views from the airplane. The pictures do not do it any justice. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Fushifaru

Our first stop in Maldives is Fushifaru. We were greeted with a cheerful Boduberu song and dance. And the coconut water was just the refresher we needed after the 18 hour journey. Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Cooking class with Fushifaru executive chef Kadrianta Sinulinga. We prepared Maldivian tuna curry, chapati and coconut fried rice.There's something to do here, even when it rains.
Fushifaru staff gave us a Thaana class where we learned about the Dhivehi language, how to husk a coconut and got a demo on how locals climb trees to fetch coconuts (or to relax). Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Anita Froneman (back) and Karina Van Den Heever (front) enjoy some time in the ocean with a kayak adventure. (Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Fushifaru has accommodation to suit all types of travellers. Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort

After three nights at Fushifaru, we headed to the Westin Maldives. Situated on the Unesco Biosphere Reserve in Baa Atoll, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the 5-star property offers everything one needs for a luxury break.
The three restaurants and an elevated bar guarantee memorable culinary experiences in stunning surroundings. Photograph : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
The Westin Maldives prides itself on its foodie experiences. We enjoyed a five-course keizaki dinner at The Pearl. Photograph : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Be adventurous on a turtle snorkeling trip at Turtle Bay. Anita Froneman dives right in-spotting a few turtles and fish during the two hour adventure. Photographer: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Designed by award-winning architects PEIA Associate, the villas all have private decks and far-reaching ocean views. The architecture is environmentally and socially sustainable. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa

After a long travel day (a seaplane, domestic flight and a boat ride), we arrive at Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa. The 5-star property is located in the northern Haa Alifu Atoll. They dub it as ’an exclusive all-suite Maldives resort for those who demand genuine luxury and the utmost in privacy’. Photographer : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
The overwater villas are spacious with all the modern amenities - from a private infinity pool to a Jacuzzi bath and more. Photographer : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Some villas have direct access to the beach. Photographer: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Enjoy a game of VR golf or snorkel - the options are plenty. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa is both an Instagram dream and perfect for those who want some privacy. Photographer : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Take in the views while you dine on sumptuous cuisine. Photographer : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Clinton Moodley was hosted by Maldives Tourism Board.

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