September 2019


Stunning Gan Island
September 2019




Indulge in the beauty of unspoilt nature while exploring Palm Beach in Addu Atoll.

Even the arrival at Gan, the southernmost island in the Addu Atoll, is promising. First, there is the equator crossing which gets passengers excited and is usually announced by the captain. While there is no line to see, the view over the heart shaped atoll from above is stunning and sets the tone for a trip to Gan. The islands of the Addu Atoll aren't like any other part of the Maldives even though they offer everything travellers typically seek. Unspoiled nature, friendly locals, barefoot luxury, and the wonderful feeling of being far away from the rest of the world because after Addu there is just the Indian Ocean.

Words: Annika Ziehen.

Gan and the other seven islands, which make up the atoll also summarized as Addu City offer visitors something unique. The name Gan stems from the Sanskrit word Grama meaning village, though there is nothing rural about it - at least not for Maldivian standards. Addu City is Maldives' second-largest capital. An unusual distinction is its landmass - a link road runs for 13km from Gan International Airport to the north of Hithadhoo, offering the one and only place for a decent bike excursion in the Maldives. Unlike Malé though, the rest of Addu remains somewhat undeveloped offering just enough creature comforts and a lingering colonial flair. Gan International Airport was first home to the British Navy and later the Royal Air Force. The Equator Village, formerly the RAF's Sergeant's Mess, and many of the buildings tell a story. It was only in recent years that the airport was opened to a handful of international flights, thus making this distant atoll more accessible. Tourism is blooming but just slow enough.

While there are a few luxury hotels in the vicinity, one of Addu's main draws is the experience of typical Maldivian everyday life. Adduans are proudly different and even experienced a brief period of independence as the United Suvadive Republic in the early 60s. The dialect spoken here is considerably different from the northern Dhivehi as are customs and culture. An easy way to get acquainted is through a taste of the local cuisine. Dishes like Addu Reha, a delicious tuna curry, and Addu Bendi, a sweet coconut dessert shaped like sausage are staples. Further, the famous spice mix, Addu Havaadhu, shows off the area's spice trading heritage.

Travellers also have the option to dive. While the scuba industry is booming all over the country, Addu still offers an almost untouched paradise for mermaids. It was the only area in the Maldives which remained unaffected by the catastrophic coral bleaching in 1998. The waters around Gan comprise abundant, healthy reefs and lure visitors into their depth with an all year round manta population as well as the country's largest shipwreck, the British Loyalty.

The Addu Atoll only has moderate currents and provides a great diving experience. For those who do not want to go too deep, Addu offers some fantastic snorkelling opportunities where you can enjoy the colourful reefs from the surface. If you prefer land-based adventures, the Hithadhoo Protected Area and its national bird, the Dhondheeni will be a one-of-a-kind experience.

For a different perspective, you can get your pilot license at the only flying school in the Maldives and enjoy Addu a little more.

 

  • image01
  • image01
    image01

    War Memorial at the former RAF and Naval Base.

    Prev Next
  • image01
    image01

    A bike excursion is an ideal way to discover Hithadhoo, the main administrative district of Addu City.

    Prev Next
  • image01
    image01

    The Hithadhoo Protected Area is home to the national bird – Dhondheeni.

    Prev Next
  • image01
    image01

    An untouched paradise – divers can enjoy the beautiful underwater life.

    Prev Next
  • image01
    image01

    Addu Bendi is a staple dessert in Maldives.

    Prev Next
  • image01
    image01

    British Loyalty is a famous shipwreck site.

    Prev Next