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, here are some handy things to know ahead of planning a trip.
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 that comes with an explosion of colour contributed by soft and hard corals that form them, and the reefs are home to thousands of fish species who are lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents.
Surrounded by a reef structure, the Maldives houses one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life ecosystems. The 1% land is a masterpiece in natural landscaping, divine white beaches and gorgeous villas sitting amidst island flora.
The Maldives has its own unique culture and traditions influenced by various cultures around the rim of the Indian Ocean, and shaped by the surrounding island environment and seas. The traditional cuisine is heavily based on fish and coconut, with several dishes that have no parallels anywhere in the region – a dream destination for foodies.
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 and the Northeast monsoon from November to April is generally sunny.
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 stop over in Dubai where kids and parents can stretch their legs). Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers.
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 and so there is no need to do the exchange rate conversions that often stress travellers out while abroad.
The Maldives for families
The Maldives, long-thought of as the preserve of honeymooners or rich couples, is also actively wooing families – catering to multi-generational travel with something for everyone from young children to grandparents, and everyone in between. 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. At Club Med Finolhu Villas, kids from 12 years old are welcome and can enjoy the kids facilities at their Kani resort (five minutes from Finolhu.)
Like all Club Med resorts, apart from the all-inclusive packages which aid hugely in pre-planning your holiday budget, the resorts also employ phenomenal G.Os (Gentil Organisateur) which is unique to Club Med. The G.O is the ambassador of the Club Med spirit at all resorts, and ensure that guests at the resorts have the best time of their lives, and that all of their holiday needs and requests are met. These highly skilled G.Os are who will be looking after your children in the various kids clubs. With your treasures in good hands, you’ll be able to enjoy various activities ranging from kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling to sailing and more that Club Med and the Maldives has to offer.
Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts in the Maldives are perfect for couples, friends, or families
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, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Maldives. Jet skiing, wake boarding, diving, snorkelling, kite surfing, parasailing and so much more!
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 couples looking for a picture perfect destination, the Maldives is quite simply heaven on earth.
Choosing an all-inclusive holiday option where your meals, drinks and activities are included will also ensure you can enjoy your romantic getaway with absolute peace of mind. Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts on the island have all implemented health and safety measures with strict sanitisation measures in place, which have been strengthened via a specific protocol, “Safe together”- which has been firmly in place for the past several months. These new measures form part of the brand’s Peace of Mind policy which aims to allow holidaymakers to book and travel with peace of mind. All this is approved by a Scientific Committee and certified by Cristal International Standards, a world leader in monitoring health and safety processes.
Remember: when travelling to the Maldives you will need to provide a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to travelling.
For the latest Covid-19 updates for the Maldives, visit https://visitmaldives.com/en/covid19-updates