South Ari Atoll is known as Alifu Dhaalu, and is the southern part of Ari Atoll. South Ari has been segregated from North Ari purely for administrative purposes, and it remains a popular holiday destination in the Maldives, due to its abundance of beautiful dive sites, dazzling marine life, specifically sharks and manta rays, as well as picturesque landscapes, both over and under water.
Beautiful Sunset at Maa Migilli in South Ari Atoll
TOTAL ISLANDS: 49 (South Ari)
POPULATION: 9396 (2009)
ISLANDS IN SOUTH ARI ATOLL:
Bodukaashihuraa, Dhiggiri, Omadhoo, Kunburudhoo, Mahibadhoo, Huvahendhoo, Vilamendhoo, Viligilivaru, Dhangethi, Maafushivaru, Dhehasanu Lonu Bui Huraa, Machchafushi, Vakarufalhi, Kudarah, Dhigurah, Dhidhdhoo, Kudadhoo, Hiyafushi, Ariyadhoo, Maamigili, Dhiffushi, Nalaguraidhoo, Tholhufushi, Fenfushi, Huruelhi, Hukurudhoo, Rangali, Mirihi, Angaagau, Hurasdhoo, Mandhoo, Bulhaa Lhohi, Rahdhdhiggaa, Thundufushi, Innafushi, Kalhahandi Huraa, Eboodhoo, Heenfaru, Moofushi, Athurugaa
South Ari atoll has around 50 islands in total, of which 10 are inhabited, the capital being Mahibadhoo. There are many islands in Ari Atoll that are resorts and not much more, and it also contains many sandbanks that seem to grow smaller day by day. Similarly, many sandbanks are growing into larger islands, however due to the resort development having peaked in recent years, no further resorts are being built in the short term future.
Map of South Ari Atoll - Maldives:
South Ari Atoll is in the western side of the Maldives, the second most western atoll in all of Maldives. The locals are very skilled in fishing and shark hunting, and therefore it is no surprise that there is a bit of friction between the governing bodies in the Maldives and world marine organizations vying for the protection of the sharks.
The shark population is very diverse at South Ari Atoll
The numerous dive sites in South Ari Atoll are world famous for the sharks patrolling the region, and it is famous amongst scuba divers who may visit the area simply to swim amongst the diverse marine life and photograph the breath-taking underwater scenery.
South Ari Atoll has a lot of thila style dive sites, both inside the atoll and along the channels. Additionally there are also four ship wreck dives as it can experience very stormy seas during the monsoon seasons in the Maldives, and many ships have sunk navigating the region throughout history.
The Dhigurashu Kandu region in South Ari is infamous for its thilas, a cluster of around 12 packed together in close succession along the 4.5 km wide channel. Some are very deep in the Maldivian waters and are therefore hard to find, yet still offer a wide range of marine life and beautiful underwater landscapes for the scuba diving enthusiast.
Dive Site Map of South Ari Atoll
It is more advisable for experienced divers as the seas can be very temperamental, and the currents tend to change frequently creating very choppy seas and difficult conditions for navigation. Check the following links for more information about South Ari Atoll.
The outside reef on the southern side close to Ariyadu Kandu is a famous dive site known for its frequent sightings of whale sharks all year round. Manta rays and sharks are also prolific in many of the diving locations, with Madivaru being a hotspot for manta lovers. South Ari Atoll is best known for its busy marine life, and is definitely worth a visit for an unforgettable Maldives diving experience.
Famous Dive Sites in South Ari Atoll:
- Broken Rock
- Kalhahandhi Kandu - Pannettone
- Kudarah Thila
- Rangali Madivaru