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    • Sun Siyam Olhuveli

      The Maldives is a group of low-lying coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. A small percentage of the islands are inhabited and 87 are exclusively resorts, boasting tropical landscapes hugged by picture-perfect beaches.

      The majority of Maldivians are Sunni Muslims and their lifestyle follows the traditions of Islam. Traces of ancient beliefs have endured in the form of superstitions centred on evil spirits.

      The Maldives rely on tourism and fishing for their income, and with the large number of foreign visitors, eco-friendly tourism is gaining popularity in order to maintain the Maldives’ natural beauty for future generations. Very little tourism in the Maldives is independent, with most visitors opting for all-inclusive resorts and package tours.


      THE BASICS

      TIME

      Local time is GMT+5

      ELECTRICITY

      Electrical current in Maldives is 230 volts, 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use, including the two-pin flat blade plug and the round three-pin plug.

      LANGUAGE

      Dhivehi is the national language in Maldives. English is widely spoken in addition to German, French, Italian, and Japanese, spoken by the resort staff.

       

      TRAVEL HEALTH

      There is a good private hospital on Malé and medical facilities are available on all the resort islands. In the event of diving emergencies, a decompression chamber is available. Travel insurance is highly recommended.

      If you require certain medications on holiday it is best to take them with you, in their original packaging, with a dated and signed letter from your doctor detailing what the medication is and why you need it.

       

      SAFETY INFORMATION

      Crime levels are low in the Maldives but petty theft does occur. It is best not to leave goods unattended on the beaches or in hotel rooms.

       

      LOCAL CUSTOMS

      Maldivians are predominantly Muslim, and therefore Islamic customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture.

       

      COMMUNICATIONS

      The international access code for the Maldives is +960. It is best to check whether your mobile network has roaming agreements with the Maldives. Internet access is available in hotels and main tourist resorts.

      DUTY FREE

      Travellers to the Maldives, irrespective of age, do not have to pay duty on cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and gifts within reasonable quantities. Prohibited items include alcohol, firearms, pork, opium, marijuana, cocaine, pornography, and religious idols.

      CLIMATE

      The temperature in the Maldives is hot throughout the year and although the humidity is relatively high, the constant sea breezes help to keep the air moving and give some relief from the heat.

      Although there aren’t four distinct seasons, there is a wet season in the Maldives, which runs from April to October, when strong winds can also be expected and the weather gradually gets colder (although not by much).

      The best time to visit the Maldives is between December and April during the dry season, when the weather is hot and pleasant and there is little wind.

      November and April are the best months to travel to the Maldives if you are planning to do a lot of scuba diving and snorkelling.

       

      ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTH AFRICANS

      South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for 6 months from the arrival date in the Maldives.

       

      PASSPORT/VISA

      All foreign passengers to the Maldives must hold onward/return tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Furthermore, visitors entering the Maldives without a hotel reservation or a Maldivian sponsor must hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Nationals of most countries can obtain a tourist visa on arrival, for a maximum stay of 30 days.

      Extensions of stay, to a maximum of 90 days from the date of the visitor’s arrival in the Maldives, are possible, by paying a fee of MVR 750 to the Department of Immigration in Male, at least one day prior to the expiry date of the initial 30-day entry period.

       

      NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. 

       

      MONEY

      The resorts in the Maldives are generally expensive and travellers should ensure they bring sufficient funds. Most resorts and hotels accept major credit cards. Guests staying at resorts can settle their accounts in hard foreign currency (US Dollars are best), or with credit cards. Banks are open except Fridays and Saturdays.


      RESORT ISLANDS

      Most visitors to the Maldives come on prearranged package tours that include accommodation on any one of the 87 resort islands. All the resorts are located in pristine settings, with idyllic conditions for water activities and long, lazy beach days.

      The resorts are located in the three atolls closest to the Maldivian capital, themselves situated in the Malé (Kaafu) Atoll. . Each resort has its own distinct character and architecture.

      The larger, less expensive resorts attract young, adventure-seeking tourist, more expensive resorts offer a more intimate holiday. The excursions provided by the resorts vary, depending on their proximity to dive sites, local villages, and natural attractions.

      However, all the resorts offer watersports such as night-fishing trips, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing. Excursions in glass-bottomed boats and dolphin-viewing trips are also very popular.

      Most resorts in the Maldives are not cheap, with little in the way of budget accommodation or transport. By law, resorts charge in US dollars, although visitors find that having a bit of money in local rufiyaa can be handy in Malé and other inhabited islands.

       

      MALE

      Male is the bustling capital of the Maldives, often overlooked by tourists who head straight for the country’s numerous resort islands. However, the packed city offers a glimpse of another side of the popular destination and is representative of everyday life in the Maldives.

      Independent travellers that do take a holiday in Male can sample cultural attractions like markets, mosques, and museums.

      Male has the best shopping crowded with shops and markets. Souvenir shops cater to tourists close to the jetty where travellers arrive from the airport ferries.

      In fact most countries’ customs agents will confiscate coconuts and papayas, it is possible to buy some wonderful local spices, which are a popular souvenir from the Maldives.

      Getting around in Male is relatively easy due to its small size. Discover the entire city in about an hour, and most of the major attractions are near each other on the north shore.

      A predominantly Muslim city, the bars and restaurants in Male are largely alcohol-free. The city is far from a nightlife hotspot.


      AIRPORTS

      • MALE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (MLE)
      • The airport is located one mile (2km) northeast of Male.
      • There are 24-hour boat services for transfers to the city of Malé and to various resort islands. Taxis are not available at the airport but are available at Malé.
      • GMT +5
      • Facilities at the airport include a bank, currency exchange office, pharmacy, duty free shops, a free shower room, a smoking lounge, a restaurant, and a post office.

       

      For all enquiries please contact your personal travel agent or complete enquiry form on the home page. We will call you back to discuss what you have in mind