One of the most popular diving destinations in The Maldives is South Male Atoll. Its northernmost point is just 5 kilometres from the southern end of its bigger brother, North Male Atoll. South Male Atoll is 35 kilometres from its north to its south and 19 kilometres from west to east. The atoll is made up of 30 islands, 10 of which are uninhabited, 3 are inhabited by locals, and 17 are resort islands. Most of the islands are located on the atoll's eastern side, with just a few on the western side, which is mostly made up of sandbars. The eastern side mainly consists of three long island areas (two to the north and one to the south), plus three smaller island areas in the middle.
There are three types of dive sites here, which are 'outside', 'inside'(thilas) and 'passes.' The names of the outside and inside dive sites are simply explaining their location either outside of the atoll or inside. The passes are the channels between islands which make up the outer edge of the atoll. These passes are where you will experience the strongest currents, but also the best marine life. In particular, the pelagic species tend to hang out at the entry points of passes, mainly to hunt.
There is a wide choice of dive sites, for all levels of scuba diver, but more choice for experienced divers. These include drift dives, caves, drop-offs and even a wreck.
It's possible to dive all year round at South Male Atoll, but the best conditions are from December to April. From April to July you have the best chance to see large filter feeders. June & July are the wettest months, and visibility is reduced. The monsoon changes in May, which results in the winds and currents changing direction.
There is a wide choice of dive sites at South Male Atoll. These include sloping reefs, pinnacles, a wreck, caves, drop-offs and drift dives. Most of the dive sites are on the eastern side of the atoll, with some on the outside of the atoll, some on the inside (known as 'thilas'), and several exciting drift dives through the gaps between islands. These are known locally as 'kandus' and there are six on South Male Atoll's eastern side.
South Male Atoll
Firstly, getting to The Maldives requires an international flight. then from Male Airport you can travel to South Malé Atoll by speedboat or if your destination resort is in the north of the atoll, maybe by a dhoni. but to best enjoy diving at South Male Atoll, you need to join a Maldives liveaboard diving cruise, which will depart from near Male Airport and take you on a week-long diving safari to several atolls.
Every certified diver can dive at South Male Atoll, and in some cases, you can learn to dive there or even do a 'try dive.' However, some dive sites are too deep or conditions not suitable for novice or inexperienced divers. Most of our liveaboard diving guests already have the Advanced certification, but this can also be done on board some trips.
There is a vast range of marine life to be seen at South Male Atoll, including tiny critters and large pelagic species. The larger fish tend to hang around just outside the atoll, and there are several dive sites there to see them. Inside the atoll at the 'thilas' the marine life is colourful and abundant but tends to be smaller species that live all their lives here.
South Male Atoll is among the best places to dive in The Maldives. There's something for everyone, and the location isn't too far from the airport. Many Maldives diving liveaboards include South Male Atoll on their itineraries. They don't do this because it's nearby, but because it offers excellent diving and a wide range of dive sites and marine life.