As promised here comes the live blog from Kihaa Maldives
I will use one of the images the resort sent me as the header image, but I will update it with one of my own as soon as I get a good photo.
We arrived somewhat tired after a long journey. We landed in Male 9 am, and was on the 11 am flight to Dharavandhoo, so before 12 we were finally here (which is 1 pm as the resort is 1 hour ahead of Male time). After a quick check in, the table was waiting for us at Maalafaiy so we had a long sought after lunch.
Our villa was ready after that. We booked a sunset prestige pavillion beach villa and are really happy with our choice. The villa has a prime location on the best part of the beach, and does of course have sunset view (as the name implies). There is also a private pavillion located in front of the villa. Photo below is taken from the pavillion right before sunset.
Dinner was lovely! Had some really tasy lamb kebab skewers as it was Arabian night. Also the desserts were delicious.
Day 2 (first full day)
After a good night sleep, we were ready to enjoy the island to the fullest!
After breakfast we went snorkeling. The reef is good; there is a really good variation of fish species. The highlights were swimming with more than 20 stingrays at the same time, morays (especially a beautiful honeycomb moray) and several different big schools of fish on the reef; we met hundreds of convict tangs, then another big school of black tangs. There are also big schools of different species under the arrival jetty including blueline snappers.
I guess most of you are aware of the big bleaching event in 2016, and Kihaa is no exception. However, there are lots of new acropora growth, especially lots of small blue tip Acropora gemmifera/ humilis, but many other species as well. There are also big colonies of more hardy species like Porites and some large soft corals that survived the bleaching event. But it will still take some time before the coral gardens are dense with mature corals. All in all, the reef is better than we expected, and we are really enjoying the snorkeling.
Weather has been really great so far, blue skies and millpond sea!
We enjoyed a bottle of sparkling wine in our private pavillion before dinner. I just have to share another photo, I am really loving it!!
Food so far has been good, and it is obvious that the new F&B manager Zareer, is getting things back on track. Our new friends had their 4-course honeymoon dinner at Sangu, and they really thought it was very good.
I know a lot of you would like to know about the mosquito situation, and it is really not an issue. We have forgot to apply repellent and I´ve got a single bite.
Tomorrow I will tell you more about the island, as we are heading for a long walk now.
We did a long walk to check out the island, both along the beach and the internal paths.
This is really a beautiful island!!
The beach consists of fine sand (aragonite) everywhere. However it varies between fine sand and talcum soft, and more diversed in big patches, rather than specific areas of the island. The only exception is inside the reception where it is quite coarse. So you get a good beach everywhere on the island. There is quite a bit of erosion on the South East side though, but on the other hand your pavillion or beach chair is close to the water with the lapping sound of the waves. It is also worh to mention that the beach on the North side is a bit more “raw” looking (less manicured) if you prefer that. At least it was on this specific day. There might be less debris on other days, as they normally clean the beaches.
The lagoon is most beautiful on the South West, West and especially on the North side of the island. On the North side it is simply stunning and really has many shades of blue.
The island is also very lush and natural, with its tall mature palms and dense foliage everywhere. Walking on the internal paths is really like walking in a tropical forest, and like on most islands there is a lot of fruit bats, birds and lizards.
It was Indian night at the buffet restaurant, again it was tasty. I had chicken tikka as the main course with papadums, naan and tomato-mint raita.
In the evening it was the diving center presentaion with a lot of photos and videos. I have not been diving here, but it does seem like some of the dive sites are really good. One site also has really beautiful non-photosynthetic soft corals with lots of red, orange and pink corals (Nepthya corals).
Life is really tough, you can see that in the photo below hahaha..
Before and after lunch we went snorkeling. We again saw a lots of fish and several big schools of fish which has been mentioned earlier, but this time we also saw a HUGE school of juvenile bigeye trevally under the diving jetty. Not at the end of it but inside the coral reef where there is sandy bottom. They were about 30 cm big and the school was endless. We swam in the middle of the school, and got so close them that we literally could have touched them (which of course we did not do). It was a great experience.
We also saw an eagle ray and sharks in the blue hole next to the wave breakers on the east side of the island.
We have so far not seen any turtles. The reef is so clean of macroalgea due to the wast number of tangs/ surgeonfish so I assume it is too little food for green turtles. When it comes to hawksbill turtles, me might just have been unlucky. There is a turtle reef not far from the island though.
For dinner I tried a lot of different things which was good, however the sushi could have been better. As I come from Norway, we really have some of the best ingredients to make sushi, so I guess we are not the easiest to please..
The service on the island is good, and all staff really try their best with a smile. The quality of the cocktails can sometimes be somewhat inconsistent. My tip is to go to Raaveria bar, where the quality has been good all the time. This is also the most quiet bar if you prefer that.
It is also worth to mention that the wine cellar (The Wine Loft) is a nice place to buy good wines for your room. It is also a place where you can taste wines on some days or have a meal. You can of course order a bottle through room service, but the selection is actually bigger than you find in the menu, so it can be worth taking a look yourself.
This was the Birthday of my friend, and the reason I decided to postpone writing about day 4 before today.
Before breakfast we headed for the dolphin trip. My friend is a first timer to the Maldives, and has never seen dolphins before. And since we were not lucky when he joined me to the Seychelles in 2017, I had fingers crossed that we would see them on his Birthday.
Guests were lucky on the previous days just a few hundred metres from Kihaa, but we went further and further.. As time went on I was starting to feel that we would not get lucky this time either. But the boat crew just went on trying to find them. And finally, a few kilometres south of Reethi they came, maybe around 30 spinner dolphins swimming very close to the boat, and they returned several times back to the boat so we really had quite some time with them. It was obvious that my friend had a really good time.
After lunch I had a quick snorkel, under the arrival jetty there was a large school of big eye soliderfish (Myripristis sp.) you have to really swim under the jetty to see them as they are behind the other schools, but be careful to only do it during low tide, and do watch your head when doing so!
After snorkeling we went to our pavilion to have a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate the big day.
Later in the evening we had dinner, and by the end of it the staff came singing with a Birthday cake!
As it was Maldivian night, there was a bodu beru show after dinner, and guess what; the whole bodu beru team sang “Happy Birthday” with a Maldivian twist along with the drums and made quite a show. Thank you to all the staff for making my friend´s Birthday a special one to remember.
After that we had a cuban cigar each with some drinks before it was time to get to bed.
I will share some photos showing my friend really enjoying his Birthday as he has given me permission to do so.
As I am recieving several questions about the condition of the villa, I will aslo write a few words about that. The main bed/living room is in ok condition, and the interior is done in a traditional style and the ceiling is high. The bathroom is tired in some areas, and especially the shower area just under the roof can need some TLC. It is worth to mention that they do have plans to refurb the bathroom soon. There is also an outdoor shower which you can use and I also like the layout of the bathroom.
All in all we are quite happy with the villa, and especially the outdoor pavilion is nice.
Day 6 & 7
After we found out that the reef on the North side of the island was even better, we decided to spend as much time snorkeling as possible, for the last two days at the resort.
The reef on the North side is a longer swim out to the reefdrop, and you do swim against the current to reach it (during dry season). First there is a quite long stretch of lagoon, which is quite different to the lagoon on the South side. There is more coral rubble on the seabed compared to sandy seafloor on the latter, but there is also more macroalgea to eat for turtles.
When you reach the reefdrop you can simply drift to the west side without having to move a muscle. There is more coral coverage, and also more colour on the corals. The amount of fish is also greater, and more big stuff on the reef as well. My friend finally saw his first turtle and several sharks.
On the last day we spent more than four hours in the water, and the very last snorkel in the evening was spent on the South side which ended on a high note! First we spotted stonefish, then 20 stingrays, 7 large moray eels (3 species) in an area of 15 metres, lionfish and finally a pack of 5-6 large blacktip sharks.
Just to compare to another popular reef in the same atoll, Reethi Beach; the reef at Kihaa is better in both fish/ marine life and corals, and I do wonder why it is not so often mentioned on the Tripadvisor forums. It is my favourite housereef in the atoll so far, but it should be mentioned that I have only stayed at 3 resorts in the Baa atoll.
As I have spoken a lot about the food I will not mention too much about that, but on day six I had saffron risotto which any saffron -lovers should try out.
The last evening was spent with my friend together with another lovely couple we met at Velana airport before going to Kihaa. Then it was time to get some sleep before getting early up.
Day 8 – Departure
Wake up call 04:45!!
Oh dear I was really tired.. Getting a quick shower before heading for some coffee and a light breakfast. My friend was sporty and joined me to say goodbye, even if he was not going to leave the island before 2 pm.
It was 5 minutes speedboat to Dharavandhoo. Then a one hour wait before boarding, followed by a 20 minute- flight to Male.
Now I am sitting at the new food and beverage outlet outside Velana airport which is called “The Waterfront”. It is much nicer than the old area inside the airport. I am sitting in a comfortable sofa at Costa Coffee having an americano and writing the last words about Kihaa. There are far less people here, and the staff are very friendly (photo below). There is no wifi here yet, so I will have to publish on the blog when I reach the Moodima lounge.
I would like to say thank you to the team at Kihaa for a wonderful week at the resort. And thanks to everyone reading my blog.
In a few hours I will meet my partner and my lovely friends from the UK for another adventure at Konotta!