South Maalhosmadulu Atoll, also referred to as Baa Atoll, is in the north-west of the Maldives. With countless diving destinations, reefs, channels and islands, South Maalhosmadulu Atoll is one of the best holiday destinations for scuba divers, liveaboard holidays and safari trips. Baa Atoll has a diverse mix of top dive spots, exotic fish life, brilliant underwater landscapes and all the features that make a visit to the Maldives truly unforgettable.
Sunset on the beach at Baa Atoll
TOTAL ISLANDS: 92
POPULATION: 12633 (2009)
ISLANDS IN SOUTH MAALHOSMADULU ATOLL:
Bathalaa, Vinaneiyfaruhuraa, Voavah, Kudarikilu, Landaa Giraavaru, Kamadhoo, Milaidhoo, Fonimagoodhoo, Finolhas, Kihadhoo, Mudhdhoo, Dhonfanu, Kihaadhuffaru, Horubadhoo, Dharavandhoo, Maalhoss, Kunfunadhoo, Eydhafushi, Kanifushi, Maamaduvvari, Hithaadhoo, Olhugiri, Thulhadhoo, Goidhoo, Fulhadhoo, Fehendhoo, Innafushi, Maafushi, Fehenfushi
Baa Atoll includes both South Maalhosmadulu Atoll and Goidhoo Atoll (referred to as Horsburgh Atoll on some European maps) and the administrative capital is the island of Eydhafushi. South Maalhosmadulu Atoll spans a total of 42 km in length and is 32 km wide, containing 92 islands in total – of which only 10 are inhabited.
Map of South Maalhosmadulu Atoll - Maldives
South Maalhosmadulu Atoll is separated from North Maalhosmadulu Atoll by the Hani Kandu, a 3.2 km wide channel and also a very popular dive spot known to harbor larger Maldives marine life like sharks and manta rays. Sometimes the Hani Kandu is referred to as the Moresby Channel. Another slightly narrower channel, the 1.8 km wide Kuda Kanduolhi, splits South Maalhosmadulu along the horizontal axis, just below the Kudarikilu region.
There are a total of six island resorts in Baa Atoll to date; Soneva Fushi (Kunfunadhoo), Reethi Beach (Fonimagoodhoo), Valtur Kihaad (Kihaadhuffaru), Royal Island (Horubadhoo), Coco Palm Dhunikolhu and the most recent Four Seasons Resort (Landaa Giraavaru) developed in 2006.
Lionfishes at Shark Nursery Dive Site
Olhugiri, a very famous dive site in Maldives, is the southernmost island in Baa Atoll and lies 13 km north of Goidhoo Atoll. Also known as Horsburgh Atoll, its geographical measurements are 8.5 km long and 17.5 km wide at its widest point.
Goidhoo Atoll has three inhabited islands Goidhoo, Fulhadhoo and Fehendhoo, collectively referred to as Goi’fulha’fehendhoo. There is one smaller channel, the Doru Kandu cutting through Goidhoo Atoll on the southern ridge, and there are several smaller islands and sandbanks peppered around the Atoll.
There are many islands, reefs and channels on the North and East side of South Maalhosmadulu Atoll, which makes for countless top dive spots and scuba diving locations in the area. The western side is more known for massive reefs with wider channels and fewer islands, however, it still remains an attractive dive region with many unique dive spots.
Amazing dive photo of giant manta rays swimming amongst divers at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll
With nine channels in the west and around 20 channels in the east, and a majority of islands boasting reefs and vibrant coral growth, it is a popular area for snorkelers and scuba divers alike, who can enjoy the brilliant coral formations and hectic fish life all around this Maldives Atoll. Within Baa Atoll the depths range between 30 and 50 meters, with many Thila style dive sites at around seven to ten meters. Here you will also discover excellent sand and rubble zones, as well as breathtaking coral heads, in the easily navigated areas of the Atoll.
South Maalhosmadulu Atoll is suitable for all levels of diver, and although the center of the Atoll is relatively deep, there are many shallow sand beds and reef flats closer to the islands. Due to the rough seas and stormy weather in the Maldives, part of the reef structure has become hard and flat. Following are detailed links about the live weather in South Maalhosmadulu Atoll and the popular dive sites and Maldives marine life found in the region.
South Maalhosmadulu Atoll is by all accounts one of the more exciting of all the Maldives Atolls, and many Maldives liveaboard safari trips tend to either travel north through the Atoll and its dive sites, or board there as a final destination. It is no surprise seeing as Baa Atoll has everything to offer for tourists and divers alike; beautiful islands, warm waters bursting with exotic Maldives marine life and a plethora of picturesque and unique dive locations, make sure to experience the wonders of South Maalhosmadulu Atoll on your travel to the Maldives.
Popular Dive Sites in South Maalhosmadulu Atoll:
- Dhigali Haa - Horubadhoo Thila