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However, you’ll want to avoid the rainy season so aim to visit between the beginning of November and the end of March.Time zone: UTC 5 – three hours ahead of South Africa.

Considering that there are so many islands, it is pretty amazing that only 187 of them are inhabited.

In 2015, according to data from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the nation’s official tourism body, there was a 39.9% increase in the number of South Africans visiting.

Diving is excellent even within the vicinity of Male, but gets better and better the further out one travels.

In the dry season the sea is calmer and the sun shines more often, which means visibility can be over 30m.

For most, in addition to white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, exclusive high-end luxury resorts are what comes to mind when thinking of the Maldives.

Harish Mohamed, acting Managing Director of the MMPRC, is proud of that.

Our guest houses on islands close to our capital, Malé, like Hulhumale, Maafushi and Thulusdhoo now provide accommodation that suits all pockets.

These islands also offer the same white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters the Maldives are famed for along with facilities like dive schools, restaurants, and spa treatments.”The development of budget travel options is not the only reason behind the increase in South Africans travelling to the Maldives.

But restaurants in resorts and cities will offer a full spread for visitors, so you won’t struggle to find Asian and European inspired dishes.

Bear in mind eating in the Maldives is expensive, so consider all-inclusive, or full or half board deals before deciding to go.

“That our Resort Islands are what we are most well-known for in the South African market, is a positive.

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