The Maldives has been described as “the poster child for a romantic island honeymoon” for reasons as clear as the crystal turquoise waters of this idyllic Indian Ocean island.
Whatever you and your better half may be looking for in romantic island post-wedding bliss, the Maldives has it all – and then some.
From the most magnificent scenery under the sun to the seclusion of the luxurious self-contained island resorts and the surprising amount of things to do in a place so remote.
It’s hardly surprising that now, more than ever, South Africans are increasingly turning their dreams into reality by making their way to its diamond-white sandy shores.
According to the latest statistics released by the country’s tourism ministry, there was a 75,6% increase in the number of South Africans visiting the country in May 2017 compared to the same month last year.
In the 2016 calendar year, a total of 4 656 South Africans had their passports stamped at the Velana International Airport, up from 4170 in the previous year. This is an increase of 11,7%.
These numbers are hardly surprising, given what the islands have to offer – especially for newlyweds.
The Maldives is a group of low-lying coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls, situated southwest of Sri Lanka.
Only a small number of the more than 1 000 islands – all surrounded by colourful coral reefs enclosing shallow lagoons – which make up the country are inhabited.
Some 87 of these islands are exclusive resorts, boasting tropical landscapes hugged by picture-perfect beaches festooned with palm trees.
The views are simply stunning and with good all-year weather, chances are great that you’ll be met with the bluest of blue skies and the clearest waters.
What could be more romantic than a secret private island that seems like a world away from civilisation?
The Maldives is most famous for its water villa resorts (two-thirds of the world’s 5 000 resorts are located here), which offer luxurious hideaways for honeymooners.
Imagine waking up in a water bungalow – a floating palace – surrounded with nothing but the crystal clear turquoise waters of the shallow waist-deep lagoon?
Absolute privacy, intimacy and a magical setting are the order of the day.
A wedding is an exhausting affair, so chances are you’ll spend a few days lazing around in the sun and rolling around your own private plunge pool as you recover from the nuptial frenzy.
And if you’re staying in a water villa there’s nothing stopping you from jumping right into the ocean for a snorkel or swim.
The Maldives resorts also have some of the most luxurious spas in the world. So relax your body and rejuvenate your spirit with manicures, pedicures to full body treatments.
There’s probably no place on earth as romantic, given the secluded location and the alluring scenery.
To ratchet up the romance – as if that was needed – it will be well worth your while taking a timeout from the resort buffet to enjoying a fine candlelit dining experience for two on the beach or on the pier with a private waiter and meal specially prepared right at your table.
If – and when – you get tired of basking in the sun, sipping cocktails and watching the sun dip below the horizon, there are plenty of activities on offer on a Maldives honeymoon.
The Maldives is one of the best scuba diving destinations on earth. Dazzling lagoons and large reefs are the archipelago’s natural drawcard and almost all of the islands have access to good snorkelling and diving.
The crystal clear waters offer great visibility and chances are good that you and your new life partner will spot stingrays and sea turtles after taking the plunge for some underwater sightseeing.
Water sports are popular activities on the islands, so you and yours can go paddle boarding or surfing – no wetsuits required as the water is so warm.
If you’re getting cabin fever, catch a speedboat or a seaplane to one of the more inhabited islands. Just remember, though, that the Maldives follows a strict Muslim culture so remember to dress respectfully.
Mohamed Adam, deputy managing director of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), says although it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for the growing number of South Africans visiting the country’s shores there are a few unique advantages the Maldives holds for South African travellers.
Being a former British protectorate, English is widely spoken in the Maldives which means many South Africans can speak freely with the locals, relax and enjoy themselves without having to hire an interpreter or keep consulting their Google Translate app.
South Africans also don’t require a visa when visiting the island
“Additionally, with the exchange rate between the rand and the Maldivian rufiyaa practically being 1:1, it can be a very cost-effective holiday destination for the price-sensitive traveller,” says Adam.
Facilities cater for every pocket and preference, ranging from budget accommodation and guest houses – a fairly new concept in Maldivian tourism – to the island’s famed elite luxury resorts.
“Ultimately, there are many reasons why South Africans are choosing the ‘sunny side of life’,” he adds.
A honeymoon in The Maldives. What better way to start your new life together? Are your bags packed yet?
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