Welcome to the sunny side of life – The Maldives
This is a GUIDE to provide you with more information on the destination, passport, visa and health requirements as well as what to pack for Maldives. Please make sure that you have done your own research and have all your relevant paperwork and documents in place before departure.
The Maldives is made up of a cluster of small islands in the Indian ocean, 90 of which have been developed as tourist resorts. The islands form a chain of 26 atolls, known for their beaches, blue lagoons, extensive reefs and lush underwater life including fish, sea turtles, manta’s, whales and dolphins.
The Maldives are a coveted vacation spot as the smallest country in Asia (regarding both size and population). This beautiful destination has historically been known under different names in the Sanskrit language, translated as “Necklace Islands,” “Garland of Islands,” and “Hundred Thousand Islands.
Traditional Maldivian cuisine is based on coconuts, fish, and starches. Skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, frigate tuna and wahoo are common in Maldivian cuisine. As well, a thick brown paste made from tuna, called Rihaakuru, is an essential part of many dishes. Maldivians don’t eat raw fish; however, their starches are typically rice, sweet potato, and cassava. As a tourist in the resorts, expect to find Indian and Maldivian options, but also food styles from around the world. The resorts understand many guests will want what is familiar to them.
Halaal guests are catered for.
WHAT ARE MALDIVIANS KNOWN FOR
The Maldives are known for their natural environment including the blue ocean, white beaches, and clean air. The climate of the Maldives is ideal for visitors to get involved in water sports such as swimming, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
Islam is the official religion, all citizens must be Muslims, and the practice of a faith other than Islam is forbidden. Therefore, when touring the cities, women are required to show respect by covering their shoulders. However, this is not required when at the resorts.
It is also forbidden to bring alcohol into the country however alcohol is served at the resorts.
You will arrive on the island of Male, at Velana International Airport. Velana International Airport, better known as Male’ (MLE) is the main airport of the Maldives. Located in the North Male’ Atoll, the country’s main transport hub stretches the only runway on the island of Hulhule, 10 minutes by boat from the capital of the Maldives.
All guests will be met at the airport by their respective resorts/hotel on arrival as they exit the airport.
- ALL passengers (including children and infants) travelling will require a valid passport. Passports MUST be valid for at least (6) six months after your departure from Maldives.
- Please take note of the immigration Regulations when traveling with children under the age of 18. This may differ depending on whether the parents or legal guardians are travelling together, divorced or deceased. You may need an affidavit and an ID copy for example.
- ATO tours is not responsible for ensuring that the travelers have all their necessary travel documents. The traveler must present the necessary Travel Documents for inspection as required on entering and exiting and Airport. ATO Tours may provide the traveler with guidelines only, and all passengers are to refer to the relevant Embassy/ Consulate to ensure that they have the most current information in relation to travel documentation required to enter Maldives.
GUIDELINES TO IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS WHEN TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18
Be aware that children under the age of 18 traveling in and out of South Africa will be required to carry an Unabridged Birth Certificate as well as a valid passport to be permitted to travel under new regulations aimed at improving the safety of children.
CHILDREN/ CHILD TRAVELLING WITH BOTH BIOLOGICAL PARENTS
In addition to the parents’ own passports, the parents are required to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate and a valid passport at the check in counters for each child traveling to be permitted to travel.
CHILDREN/ CHILD TRAVELING WITH ONLY ONE OF THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS
In addition to the parent’s own passport, the parent is required to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate and valid passport and a court order / death certificate or affidavit confirming the absent parent has given permission for the child/ children to travel. You may need a certified copy of the absent parent’s ID.
CHILDREN/ CHILD TRAVELING WITH ONLY A GUARDIAN (GRANDPARENTS/ OTHER FAMILY/ FRIENDS)
In addition to the Guardian’s own passport, the guardian is required to produce and Unabridged Birth Certificate and valid passport and a court order/ death certificate or affidavit confirming that the absent parents have given permission for the child/ children to travel. You may need certified copies of the absent parents ID.
CHILDREN/ CHILD UNACCOMPANIED BY PARENTS OR GUARDIANS
Each child must produce their Unbridged Birth Certificate and a valid passport and an affidavit confirming permission to travel from both parents or legal guardians and a letter from the person who will receive the child, including their full contact details and certified copy of their passport or ID.
NB! Travel documentation remains the responsibility of the passenger, including unabridged Birth Certificates and other supporting documents required in terms of the Immigration act for children under the age of 18. Should you not be in possession of this documentation the Immigrations Official will not permit you to travel. Should the Immigrations Officials deny boarding due to incorrect travel documentation, ATO Tours regret that we are unable to offer a refund or to reschedule the trip.
For more information contact the Department of Home Affairs – Hotline toll free: 0800 60 11 90
Visas are not required by South African passport holders for travel to the Maldives.
It is important to ensure that a Travel Insurance Policy appropriately covers you against any unforeseen events (including having to cancel your trip for any unforeseen reason or losing your luggage).
There are no immunization requirements for SA travelers to the Maldives.
Malaria prophylactics is not necessary for travel to the Maldives.
It is always advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need, such as antacids, painkillers, anti-histamines and cold remedies. It is also recommended that you pack this such as anti-diarrheal medication (like Imodium – adults only), oral rehydration sachets (like Rehydrate) especially if traveling with children. Also include first-aids items such as Band-aids, antiseptic and dressings.
The currency for Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Rf), which is divided into 100 Larees. Notes come in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2, but the last two are uncommon. Coins are in denominations of 2 and 1 Rufiyaa and 50, 25 and 10 Larees.
Most resort and travel expenses will be billed in US Dollars. If you are staying in a resort, all expenses (including diving costs) will be billed to your room and you pay the day of your departure when checking out. You’ll need cash for meals outside the hotel, souvenirs and any other sundry expenses. Every resort takes major credit cards including Visa, Amex or Mastercard but it is advisable to carry some US Dollars.
GENERAL TIPPING – is somewhat of a grey area in Maldives, where 10% to 12.5% service tax is added to nearly everything.
HOTELS – Should you wish, you can leave a tip for your room staff and in smarter resorts your Thakuru (butler). Give any tip to the staff personally and not the hotel cashier – US Dollar, Euros and local currency are equally acceptable.
RESTAURANTS – Tipping is not customary at independent restaurants or on local islands.
Payment can be made using a Master/Visa card as well as US Dollars. US Dollars can be exchanged at the hotel for local currency.
The standard socket is the UK-style three-pin which also accommodates the South African 2-pin. There are some variations, so an international adaptor can be useful. The standand South African 3-pin will not work.
Bicycles are available at the resort for adults and kids.
If you enjoy snorkeling and own gear at home, bring it along as it can be pricey to hire daily. Refer to the excursion’s pricelist for costs.
Refer to the excursions.
Please refer to your specific resort for information on the Kids Club.
RESORTS – PACKING GUIDE:
Maldives enjoy a tropical climate throughout most of the year, so casual lightweight, comfortable beachwear is best during the day. Long pants and sleeved shirts for men or dresses for the ladies in the evening. Summer footwear (slips-ons for the beach and occasional closed shoes for the evenings are suggested depending on the resort).
A small back-pack is ideal for carrying cameras, travel documents and basic everyday items. Be warned that the tropical sun is strong and burns quickly. Wide-brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sure protection, and both sun-glasses and a good sun-screen and lip balm (SPF15 or higher) are essential. A quality insect repellent is also a must. It is important to note the Maldives is predominantly a Muslim country and so conservative dress is required when outside of the beach resort. Beach Towels are provided by the resorts.
A note to female travelers when walking around the village/town: It is expected to keep your shoulders covered (nothing more revealing than a t-shirt – please leave vest tops, cami-tops and strappy tops for inside the resort or on the beach) and wear trousers, skirt or dress that covers your knees.
Don’t forget to pack:
Sunglasses, sunblock, flip flops, bathing suits, sun hat, beach bag, beach cover-up and mosquito repellant
Fins/Mask/Snorkel Gear is available to hire however, pack your own from home if you have as it can get expensive to hire each day