Addu Atoll is the only area in the Maldives that was not affected by the 1998 global coral bleaching.
Addu “Seenu” Atoll is internationally famous for its wreck dives, large manta rays, sharks, turtles and bigger fish in general, all throughout the year, as opposed to an abundance of smaller reef fish. It is also known for its brilliant coral patches in the north and broad barrier reefs with several islands on the east and west. There are a total of four kandus in this atoll, Gan Kandu, Viligili Kandu, Maa Kandu and Kuda Kandu. There are a few caves studded around the region, however relatively few in comparison with the other atolls in the Maldives.
Currents are not as forceful as in other parts of the Maldives, so it is a great dive location for novice and experienced scuba divers looking for a thrilling dive excursion. The channels can be navigated with relative ease, with the average depth within the atoll at 35 meters, and a maximum depth of 75 meters in the center.
02 – Gulda La Magu
03 – Bodu Hoholha
04 – Kuda Hoholha
05 – Umarus Place
06 – Kuda Kandu Outside
07 – Kuda Kandu Corner
08 – Fihali Faru
09 – Mahaala
10 – Bushy Westside
11 – Bushy Outside
12 – Bushy Eastside
14 – Maa Kandu Outside
15 – Ismahela Outside
16 – Meddhoo Outside
17 – Hulhudhoo Outside
18 – Molikolhoo Faru
19 – Bananareef
20 – Aquaventure HR
21 – Turtle Point
22 – British Loyalty
23 – Kottey Outside
Addu offers beautiful reefs for snorkeling with its warm waters which are safe for people of all ages. The reefs have a unique coral formation and abundant marine life. The reefs are easily accessible. The clear waters and the perfect temperatures make the snorkeling experience absolutely wonderful. Notable areas for snorkeling are Koattey, Koahera, Kandihera and Hulhumeedhoo reef among others. Turtles, napoleon wrasse and hundreds of other fish are commonly seen within the reefs.
99% of Maldives comprises of the sea, so it is natural for water sports to be extremely popular. All the resorts have water sports centers, and some of the islands provide certain water sports activities. Jet skis, water skiing, wind surfing, para-sailing, wake board, paragliding, canoeing are common activities.
Maldives has always been a fishing nation, for centuries Maldivians have been out to sea and fisheries is the lifeblood. Even today, fisherman in Addu goes out fishing every single day, mostly catching Tuna, for export and local consumption. Sports’ fishing is also available in the resorts and visitors who wish can join local fisherman for a traditional Maldivian fishing experience. The main types of fish caught are, skipjack Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Giant Travellers, Snappers, Groupers, barracudas etc.
There are very few surf spots in Addu, but it offers a unique experience nonetheless. Although these waves tend to be smaller than some of the more northerly atolls, the south-facing coastline really opens the breaks up to the southern swells that flood the area in the summertime. Since a clean southern swell is about all you could ask for at these breaks, the result is waves with a ton of power and heaps of opportunities to get shacked. These southerly atolls differ from the northerly atolls in not providing perfectly shaped or soft-breaking waves. These waves break fast and throw hard, with a whole lot of power—probably best suited for advanced surfers or at least daring intermediates. The waves you can find in here are the kind of waves you keep reliving days, weeks, and months after your Maldives surf trip has come to an end.
Taking its name from the adjacent resort, Shangri-la is a clean righthander that wraps around the reef on the east coast of the island. It breaks best during a solid southerly swell, but is unusual in also benefitting from a more easterly swell direction as well. Ranging between two to five feet, it tends to break the best and get the most size during the summer months. It breaks at any stage of the tide, so if any open opportunity to surf Shangri-la presents itself, definitely jump on it.
To the east of Approach Lights on the south side of Villingili Island, off the tip of Madihera islet, a pristine lefthander starts out at the point and wraps all the way into the inner lagoon. A long and sectiony wave, Madihera can turn from good to incredible with a sudden change in the wind.
Particularly susceptible to the wind, Madihera is a place you want to convince the rest of the passengers on your boat charter to hit early before the winds pick up too strong. It picks up a ton of swell but needs northeasterly winds to make the whole wave rideable. Any southerly or even northwest wind will totally kill the heavier barrels on the outside. The speedy, if smaller, inside waves, however, can suddenly light up during southeast winds, so keep your eyes open. The direction of the wind should definitely judge what part of the wave you want to campout on.
There is an airport runway on the beach in front of this spot, with approach lights that not only help guide airplanes to a safe landing, but also orient surfers in the water on where to be in order to catch the most surfable section of this long and exposed righthander. Although it breaks down along the live coral reef, the runway approach lights really mark the best place to drop-in and snag the more rideable end section.
Approach Lights’ location on the southern tip of Addu Atoll exposes it to potentially harsh southern winds, but also opens it up to receive the full force of the summer’s southern swells—fortunate for a place that craves size. Since any wind with a northerly direction ends up being offshore, this is a great spot to visit later in the season when the northerly winds meet some of the best southern swells.
The main wave at Kottey is a left that works best with southern or eastern winds and a medium tide. Like most of Addu, Kottey has large swell exposure, meaning it churns out consistent, powerful waves due to those Indian Ocean swells. During the winter (April to October) swells average 4 to 12 feet and tend to back down to 2 to 6 feet during the summer months. Because of its tendency to wedge up, the wave at Kottey breaks quickly and the lip can get heavy. Since Addu is the southern most Atoll in the Maldives, the line ups aren’t very crowded and you can often enjoy Kottey with just your friends.
The Addu link road stretches from Gan Island to Hithadhoo which is 8.7km of road with its picturesque and scenic surroundings. A bicycle or a scooter ride along the road is a refreshing experience, the link road is along the shoreline and the sea is continuously visible with the fresh sea breeze. Sometimes when it’s hot and humid it is a great way for a good workout. The islands have many narrow sandy roads and friendly locals. The journey can be extended off the beaten track till the tip of Koattey, where roads are less and the vegetation is more.
Addu is an excellent stop-over destination for sailors and cruise boats that travel around the world. Its location is ideal, the accessibility is easy and the experience is relaxing and refreshing. Addu is among the 3 ports of entry for international vessels in Maldives. The friendly islanders are always keen to help with all the needs of the sailors and are always very welcoming. Many cruisers stopover in Gan, Addu atoll while travelling from parts of Europe and Africa to South East Asia. Addu also serves as a halfway house to cruise boats visiting the remote Chagos islands in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) down south of Addu Atoll.
Addu Atoll has the only flying school in Maldives. For those who wish to take on the skies, this would be an ideal place to start. Located in Gan International Airport, the school offers various courses. The best part is the picturesque scenery of Addu Atoll while flying. The lush greenness and the azure blue waters never fail to mesmerize.