Wedding season is hitting South Africa. That wonderful time of year between October and April when weddings, bachelor parties, hen nights and kitchen teas dominate the social calendar. It reminds me of my own honeymoon in the Maldives. It’s a bit of a cliché for a honeymoon location but for a very good reason. It really is paradise.
Getting there however is definitely not paradise. The Maldives are far. Especially flying from Cape town, you may have to go through Johannesburg if you are not lucky enough to get on the Cape Town – Dubai direct flight on Emirates (EK773), or alternatively on South African Airlines (SA154). You will land in the middle of the night in Dubai and then have to wait several hours to catch your flight from Dubai to Male (the capital of the Maldives). Thereafter there is a water plane that will take you either directly to your island or (as we had) will drop you on a platform in the middle of the Indian Ocean to be picked up by a speedboat and finally taken to the resort, all in 40 degree heat!
We stayed at Veligandu in a Jacuzzi water villa. I cannot have imaged more perfect beaches, or a place more suited to re-discovering each other and relaxing, primarily because there is not much more to do other than tanning, swimming, snorkelling (a variation on swimming) and eating.
The island is set up in such a way that you hardly ever see any people. I was constantly under the impression that the hotel was almost empty, the pool had 1 or 2 couples working on their tan and the bar may have people strolling by occasionally. Then at mealtimes, it’s like crabs at sunset and suddenly you realise that the entire island is fully booked. I could not help but have my FOMO instinct tune in and ponder – what is everyone else doing all day! Where do they go? Do they just hibernate in their Jacuzzi water villas only coming out to eat?
The Maldives as a whole are an incredible location. The beauty of the beaches and marine life is beyond anything I have ever seen. You don’t even need to get into the water, walking to dinner at night you look over and see stingrays, small sharks, angelfish and a whole array of life right under your feet.
Some tips if you go:
- March is a great time to go! The pool, air and ocean are all the same temperature and not a breath of wind.
- Bring plenty of books. You will be grateful. As I said, there is not much to do.
- Go full board. You don’t want to pay for every soda, cocktail, glass of wine etc. In such heat you need to drink and lots.
- Be prepared to pork-out a bit – lots and lots of food. Buffet breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner! You do the calorie maths.
- Don’t bother bringing heels.
- Take several light wraps/beach dresses to pull over your swimming costume for lunch/breakfast. It is a Muslim country and they are quiet conservative.
- Don’t go for more than 7 nights unless you really love doing nothing all day and I do mean nothing.
My number one tip is to do a stop-over in Dubai on the way back for 2 nights. After the quiet of the beaches it’s great to hit some crazy malls and just shop!
All Maldives Photos: Paulina Klotzbücher.