By Johan Boshoff
Photos By Klaus Dingeldein
Infinite shades of sparkling blue waters, white powdery beaches, tall palms and some of the most incredible underwater wildlife on our planet. Rising from the deep blue waters in the middle of the wide expanse that is the Indian Ocean, are more than a thousand islands and atolls that are packed with reefs. These form the paradise known as the Maldives.
The beauty of these tiny atolls is breathtaking and surpassed only by the astonishing spectacle of the colourful and diverse marine life on display. There are so many different species that you’ll need to bring along a marine biologist just to identify them all!
Maldives, Vilamendhoo Lodge
By Fiona McIntosh
Pics Fiona McIntosh and Jurgen Hertoghe
It’s hard to go wrong whatever resort you choose in Maldives. The country is showered with accolades at every turn, yet although Maldives is exclusive, it is remarkably affordable, and, thanks to a new direct flight from Johannesburg to Malé, it is easy to get to. And unlike Mauritius, Zanzibar and the other popular Indian Ocean islands, Maldives has avoided the ills of mass tourism. Development has been well-planned and eco-sensitive with a policy of ‘one island, one resort’ ensuring that guests enjoy a true ‘private island’ adventure. All the tourist resorts have been built on previously uninhabited islands so there are no villages or existing structures. Only 20% of the land area of an island can be built on and strict planning laws ensure that no building can be above the height of a palm tree. Your luxurious villa thus nestles in the palms fronting the beach or stands on stilts out in the lagoon. All around is white sand and you can see the corals and colourful tropical fish from the jetty or the beach. The food, an exotic mix of Asian and European influences, is divine and the mild tropical climate befits desert island life. Maldives is sheer escapism.
By Johan Boshoff
Photo’s by Andrew Woodburn
Map illustration by Izelle Hickey
Mauritius is a place that everyone has heard of; an island in the Indian Ocean where most people only dream about visiting. It is one of the main tourist destinations in the world while still being affordable to many.Mauritius comes from volcanic origins and is sheltered by barriers of coral reef all around. The island is located approximately 2000 kilometres off the south eastern coast of Africa and to the east of Madagascar. It forms part of a chain of islands that include Reunion and the Seychelles. The southern side of the island is where you will found the Savanne Mountains, while the topography flattens out further to the north. The island of Mauritius is 45 kilometres in width and 65 kilometres in length and is mostly covered by sugarcane plantations.
Textiles, sugarcane and tourism are the country’s three main sources of income.