aah the Maldives

Assalaamu alaikum and welcome to the Maldives. To be honest I am not really sure where to start, and it’s not often I am at a loss for the written word. So while I am thinking of ooh la la superlatives that will do this heaven on earth justice, let’s start with the pronunciation, because most people get it wrong.

I try hard not to correct them, I really do. (Although my husband may beg to differ!) But it’s time to set the record straight. Maldives. For the posh Pommies it sounds like ‘morl-deevs’ dahling. And for the Yanks it sounds more like ‘moll-deevs’. For us Aussies, somewhere in between is fine. For any nonbelievers - I know you are out there - this link is for you http://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/the-maldives

I am guessing the mere mention of the name, whether said correctly or not, is conjuring up images of crystal clear water, palm trees, tropical islands, blindingly white sand and inevitably, exclusive resorts. Flying in to the airport gives you your first glimpse of the beauty that awaits. Located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, this garland of islands will literally take your breath away.

The archipelago is made up of 26 atolls helping to protect nearly 1200 islands and thousands of kilometres of coral reef. 110 of these islands are home to hotels and resorts, 200 are home to villages, and a whopping 800 of them are still uninhabited. The tourism industry has grown from a couple of thousand visitors in the 70s to over a million in 2015, and there is good reason why the Maldives is home to the largest concentration of luxury accommodation in the world.

Rather than spending all your time on one island though, snorkelling the same reef and swimming the same lagoon, this blog post is about a different way to see all the magic the Maldives has to offer. Dare to be different and reap the rewards.

Voyages Maldives has been around since the 80s, and they specialise in dhoni safari programs. They have a fleet of 6 safari boats for you to choose from, ranging from their lead-in boat the Sea Coral (sleeps 6), all the way up to their five star luxurious Gurahali (sleeps 14). They all come complete with 4 crew who sail, cook and clean, and pretty much spoil you rotten.

You need a minimum of four people to book a boat, and then it will be exclusively yours. Even if it is just the two of you, paying for four can still work out cheaper than some resorts. The fee includes all meals, and let me tell you your chef will be a bloody marvel in the kitchen – the food that comes out of that galley is some of the most delicious you will ever eat. Whether it’s a sunset bbq on a deserted island, morning coffee on the deck, sweet tropical fruit or the freshest catch from the sea eaten in the breezy dining area, you will not be disappointed.

Discover the Maldives in cruising comfort, relax on the large sundecks, and explore different locations every day so that you can experience first-hand the diversity in the marine life. We were able to swim with sharks, rays, turtles and all sorts of colourful fish in this underwater land of marvels.

Whether you are after excitement or tranquillity the choice is yours - unwind with strolls on rare coralline beaches, dive or snorkel wrecks and reefs, and surf some of the best breaks in the world. Play dodge-ball with the crew on a lonely sandbank in the middle of the ocean, or soccer with the locals on a village island. Experience the unique lifestyle of the Maldivians by dancing to the beat of the Boduberu, a very energetic form of entertainment where you are invited to dance with the locals. It does not matter if you are travelling as a couple, a young family, a group of friends, or a family with teenagers; there is something for everyone.

It’s the ideal way to make the Maldives your home for a week or more. You will feel blissfully removed from daily life, and I can guarantee that when you are sailing back to Male at the end of your safari, the sight of that island appearing on the horizon will not be a welcome one. There will be a sinking feeling in your stomach, much like when you discover a new line around the eyes, or an extra kilo on the scales. In this case it means one of the most memorable experiences of your life is coming to an end.

So shukuriyaa Maldives for the joy you have given us on each and every visit, and we can’t wait to return.

P.S No matter how you choose to do the Maldives, more often than not you will have to spend a night in Male (the capital) or Hulhumale (the airport island) before being transferred to your resort or boat. This time we spent our arrival night at Hotel 78, one of the many new hotels that are springing up on Hulhumale at a cracking rate. The price was comparable to most other hotels, it offered free transfers, and the location was amazing being just across the road from the beach. Warm and generous hospitality, and I challenge you to find a better breakfast omelette anywhere in the world! I will definitely stay there again when I return to the Maldives.

(click on the photos for more info)

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