The Maldives is an ideal island break. Picture: Supplied.
The Maldives is an ideal island break. Picture: Supplied.

What South Africans should know before they book a trip to the Maldives

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Dec 4, 2020

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The borders to the breathtaking island paradise of the Maldives are now open to travellers from South Africa.

With no mandatory quarantine measures, the strictest of health and safety precautions in place, and travellers receiving a 30-day visa on arrival, the Maldives is an ideal option for anyone looking for an island break over the festive season in 2020 or to kickstart 2021.

If the Maldives is on your bucket list, Club Med shares some handy things to know ahead of planning a trip:

The destination

Perhaps best known for its idyllic white beaches and crystal clear turquoise sea, the Maldives is situated in the Indian Ocean.

This tropical nation is composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1 000 coral islands – many still uninhabited.

With reefs that offer bands of colour, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine, it’s no wonder the Maldives mesmerises travellers.

The Maldives is home to about 5% of the planet’s reefs, and the reefs are home to thousands of fish species lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents.

The Maldives has its own unique culture and traditions influenced by various cultures around the rim of the Indian Ocean. The traditional cuisine features fish and coconut, with several dishes that have no parallels anywhere in the region.

When to go

The tropical climate means year-round warm temperatures. The average high temperature is 31.5 degrees Celsius and the average low temperature is 26.4 degrees Celsius.

The southwest monsoon from May to October brings rain while the northeast monsoon from November to April is generally sunny.

What SA travellers should know

Most travellers fly into the capital Malé and then catch resort transport – either a boat or sea-plane. Flying Emirates from Johannesburg to Malé is an easy, pleasant 14-hour flight (including one stopover in Dubai where kids and parents can stretch their legs).

Remember: when travelling to the Maldives you will need to provide a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to travelling.

Currency

The Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) is the local currency. If you’re a cost-conscious traveller, the good news is that you have the option to holiday at an all-inclusive resort where your meals, drinks, land and water sports are included.

Family-friendly

The Maldives, long-thought of as the preserve of honeymooners or rich couples, is also actively wooing families. Until about 10 years ago, few resorts catered for kids (in providing babysitting facilities and child-dedicated activities), but these days, things have changed.

From 2016, visitors to Club Med Kani have enjoyed activities designed especially for kids aged 4-10 and 11-17, while at Club Med Finolhu Villas, kids from 12 years old are welcome and can enjoy the kid's facilities at their Kani resort (five minutes from Finolhu.)

The Maldives for couples and friends

Over 99% of the Maldives is sea, making it the ultimate playground for sea fanatics and watersports lovers, whether you’re a couple looking for an active island getaway or a group of friends looking for adventure. Activities include jet-skiing, wake boarding, diving, snorkelling, kite surfing and parasailing.

If you and your significant other are looking for a laid-back island honeymoon or romantic escape, look no further than dreamy walks on the beach, spectacular sunset dinners, luxury accommodation, gourmet cuisine, idyllic spas and superb wellness retreats.

For the latest Covid-19 updates for the Maldives, visit https://visitmaldives.com/en/covid19-updates

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