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Faafu’s diving is suited to all levels, and two wrecks are on a resort’s house reef. The unspoiled reefs, stimulating channel dives, and frequent manta sightings make this a perfect atoll.

Diving in Faafu Atoll

Quick facts

The atoll’s resort has scuttled two wrecks (traditional dhoni) on its house reef. At a depth of 98 feet (30 meters), it’s the perfect place to complete your advanced training. The channels can be challenging, mantas can be seen all year, and an occasional whale shark visits the atoll’s waters.

Located on the inner atoll is Repeater’s Paradise. It gets its name because divers often repeat the dive. It’s an easy, shallow dive with little current and explores the coral gardens on a plateau found at 20 feet (6 meters). On the west and east side are drop-offs down to 75 feet (23 meters). The walls offer lots of macro and you’ll see tuna hunting. Keep your eye out for reef sharks and blue-grey frogfish that blend into the rocks.

Depending on the strength of the currents, Jumping Jack is a channel dive that’s suitable for less experienced divers. At the channel’s edge, you'll find seven thilas (submerged islands), of varying size, at a depth of 26-39 feet (8-12 meters). The thilas are overgrown with colorful coral, and moray eels, big groupers, Napoleon wrasses, reef sharks and eagle rays will join you.

On the west side of the atoll is Manta Point. This reef gently slopes into the channel. Cleaning stations are located at 49-89 feet (15-30 meters), and manta sightings are very common between December and April. You’ll see turtles and Napoleon wrasse on the reef; whale sharks have also been seen here.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

The exciting drift dives in the atoll's channels are what attracts divers to Faafu. The experience is added to by the healthy reefs, colorful soft and hard corals, mantas and the possibility of a whale shark.

You’ll also see rays, turtles, reef sharks, moray eels, groupers and lobsters. Ghost pipefish with camouflage-like patterns will drift by, and you might spot a frogfish using its flexible structure to blend in with the rocks. They swell when threatened and propel like they’re swimming the breaststroke.

The anemone corals are bright, and red sea fans are shaped like banyan trees.

You won’t be bored when you're exploring Faafu's dive sites.


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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


The Faafu Atoll, also known as North Nilandhe Atoll or Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi, is located south-west of Malé. The dry season runs from December to March (north-east monsoon), and the wetter weather arrives in May and lasts until November (south-west monsoon). Manta sightings are common during the months of December to May. Water temperatures are 24° C (75° F) and above all year.

There are Hindi and Buddhist archaeological sites on the atoll. The Maldives’ second oldest mosque can also be found on the island of Nilandhoo. Aasaari Miskiiy was built during the 12th century and carved woodwork can be found on the inside. It’s a great way to appreciate how religion spread across the archipelago.

There is only one high-end resort on the atoll, and good discounts can be found during the low season. A private island (Rania Experience), complete with private speed cruiser and PADI instructor, caters to people who don’t need to negotiate discounts. Faafu Atoll is visited by liveaboards, but it’s not as popular as other atolls; the diving will feel more secluded and unspoiled.

You can learn how to sail a catamaran. Then head to an uninhabited island and pretend you’re having your own Rania Experience.

Other attractions

You can explore the atoll's historical ruins, or sail on a traditional dhoni to an inhabited island and experience traditional Maldivian life. If you prefer to be in the water, then you can windsurf, sail or paddle a canoe around the lagoon. Or you can relax on the beach, snorkel, write your dive log and try big game fishing. Just hope that the grouper you catch wasn't the one you said 'hello' to during a dive.

Getting there

Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – it may require a lay-over in the Middle East first.

If you’re staying on the atoll, then you will transfer by seaplane (45 minutes) upon arrival in Male.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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