15 Minutes is a new feature on the Travelstart Street. Here at Travelstart we’re lucky enough to have a great deal of travel resources at our disposal. Being in the travel business means we have lots of globe-trotting Travelstarters whose brains we get to pick when they come home. In this debut insert we spend 15 minutes with Travelstart’s Country Manager Leeanne Melton and hear about her recent travels to the Maldives.
Where did you stay in the Maldives?
We spent 15 nights in the Maldives. 11 nights were spent at the 4-Star Kuramathi Island Resort and 4 nights at the 5-Star Coco Palm Resort. Each was fantastic in their own special way. Kuramathi is accessed by seaplane and Coco Palm by speedboat. Both transfer experiences were memorable and enjoyable.
Where are the Maldives located?
The Maldives is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean somewhere South-West of India and Sri Lanka. All you need to know is that it’s a flawless island beach destination.
Is the Maldives safe for tourists?
My personal experience of the Maldives is that it’s extremely safe for tourists.
Apart from sun, sea and sand… what else can you recommend to our readers in the Maldives?
The island hopping tours are a must and really give you some insight into how Maldives people live. The day excursions take you to deserted islands that will leave you with the strange yet satisfying sensation that you are the only person on Earth. If you’re a water baby then the Snorkeling & Diving on offer in the Maldives is incomparable. PADI certifications are offered by most resorts in The Maldives so don’t stress if you leave home uncertified. Big game fishing is a popular activity in the Maldives and won’t disappoint even the hardiest fisherman.
How is global warming affecting the Maldives? Is it true the Maldive islands are sinking?
The Maldive islands won’t be sinking anytime soon! Technology is being used to protect the islands and to actually make islands. Although the threat of global warming is not immediate in the Maldives, it does have officials concerned and I’m sure they’re doing all they can to secure the long term future of the islands.
Who did you fly with from South Africa to the Maldives?
How was the shopping?
Don’t travel to the Maldives if shopping till you drop is your thing. It doesn’t register on the shopping destination radar. You can browse the markets and find local crafts and beadwork but you won’t find any big labels or brands.
How was the Maldives food? Were there any memorable restaurants?
We went with an all-inclusive Maldives holiday package and so we ate at one of the many hotel restaurants every night. You really are spoiled for choice and Kuramathi Resort had 8 restaurants! You’ll find that most hotels in the Maldives do themed nights so instead of only experiencing local cuisine you’ll also be treated to culinary delights from across the globe. The food is prepared by executive chefs so you’re definitely getting the finest quality meals. The ‘Island Barbeque’ was a firm favourite at Kuramathi.
Anything our readers will want to avoid when visiting the Maldives?
Just follow the rules and no matter where you are have respect for the sea. Be careful of the sensitive coral reefs and take care not to damage them. The eco centre at Kuramathi is an excellent place to learn about the marine life in the Maldives.
How were the locals?
The Maldivians are friendly and helpful. We didn’t have any bad experiences with the locals in the Maldives; however, I always say practice the same caution abroad as you would at home. For example, if there’s a safe for your valuables in your hotel room then use it.
How was public transport on the islands?
Public transport in the Maldives is mostly in the form of seaplanes, speedboats and water taxis. The great thing about the Maldive islands is that once you’ve arrived on one of them you can easily get around on foot.
Did you need a Visa to travel to the Maldives?
You don’t need a visa if you’re travelling to The Maldives on a South African passport. You simply get a stamp in your passport on arrival at no cost.
How was the Maldives weather? What’s the best time of year to visit the Maldives?
We went to the Maldives in November so we experienced perfect weather. The Maldives weather is great year round, however, if you really want your trip to be rain free then avoid the monsoon season.
The best time to visit the Maldives is from December to April.
Thanks for your time Leeanne. It was great hearing about your Maldives trip. Do you have any parting Maldives travel tips for our readers?
If you’re keen on visiting the Maldives then I highly recommend opting for an all-inclusive holiday package with a Maldives resort. This helps you budget properly because they normally include all meals, selected drinks, minibar, free snorkeling equipment, sunset cruises and transfers.
Find cheap tickets to the Maldives now. Prefer the help of a travel agent to help you book your Maldives trip? Contact Travelbar on 0861 878 278 (Ext.5) now for custom holiday packages to the Maldives.
Pictures Courtesy: Leeanne Melton and Greg Greyvenstein
Travelstart - We're South Africa's leading online travel agency, we make it easy to get the best prices on flights, hotels, car hire and flight + hotel packages. Book & pay for cheap flights online across all airlines to create your perfect itinerary at the lowest airfare. We're backed up by a team of experienced consultants to ensure customer service is never far away, find out more at www.travelstart.co.za