The Maldives has a prime location in the Indian Ocean, south west of Sri Lanka. Spread across an area over 90,000 square kilometers, it consists of a chain of about 1,200 small coralislands – 200 of which are inhabited. It’s one of the most luxurious and remote destinations for a relaxing holiday where beach days are your main activity. Of course there are other things to keep you busy too – from diving to island hopping – and resorts that cater to everyone including young families and honeymooners.
WHAT’S THE TIME DIFFERENCE AND WHAT’S THE LOCAL CURRENCY?
The Maldives is three hours ahead of the South Africa. The local currency is Maldivian Rufiya and English is widely spoken. You currently don’t require a visa and can fly from airports including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Search for flights on Emirates.
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL?
Between November and April, the Maldives enjoys interrupted blue skies, dry and sunny days at around 30 degrees. With two distinct seasons – wet and dry – travelling during this period is the perfect season to explore its many coral islands, venture on an island hopping excursion, or simply while away the hours by your hotel pool.
WHAT’S THE FOOD AND CULTURE LIKE?
Maldivian culture is influenced by Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian and even Africa traditions. The nation is both diverse and unique, and getting to know island life will be a memorable experience. Expect the rhythm of drums, homemade craft markets, and local dishes including coconut-based curries, fresh seafood and stuffed chapati (masroshi).
WHERE ARE THE BEST BEACHES TO VISIT?
No matter where you decide to pull up a deckchair, you’ll be greeted with stunning views and the purest white sand on the islands. But some of the Maldives’ best beaches include Bikini Beach (Ari Atoll), Cocoon Maldives (Lhaviyani Atoll), Veligandu Island Beaches (Kaafu Atoll), Reethi Beach (Baa Atoll) and Mirihi Island Beach (South Ari Atoll).
WHO IS IT GOOD FOR?
Thanks to the wide choice of hotel resorts, the Maldives appeals to couples and groups of all ages and families travelling with young kids and teens. You’ll find plenty of luxurious adult’s only resorts, as well as those with kids’ clubs, sports and beachside activities.
WHAT CAN I DO THERE?
While you won’t experience the buzz of a major built up city, the small capital of Malé is busier and boasts markets, mosques and a national museum. It’s a good place to sample some local food outside of your hotel resort, and to soak up the daily life of Maldivian people. If you enjoy watersports such as scuba diving or snorkeling, then the Maldives won’t disappoint with the amazing coral reefs and opportunities for boat trips.