Addu City and Fuvahmulah atoll have been declared as UNESCO biosphere reserves
Scuba Diving in The Maldives
30 Oct, 2020
Fuvahmulah atoll and Addu City have been declared as UNESCO biosphere reserves, making the southernmost atolls only the second designated biosphere reserve in the Maldives.
The declaration was made at the 32nd session of the UNESCO International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme, which is taking online.
Before Wednesday’s declaration, the Maldives only had one UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve: Baa atoll.
One of the most famous islands in Maldives for its beauty and historical importance, Fuvahmulah is the second nearest atoll to the Equator and the first atoll in the Southern Hemisphere. Being a one-island atoll itself, Fuvahmulah has many distinctive features which make the island unique.
Nicknamed the Maldivian Galapagos, Fuvahmulah Atoll is crowned Asia’s hottest shark diving locations to dive with tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks and more. Fuvahmulah’s relatively unknown dive scene, unique location, and isolation make it an ideal destination for exhilarating diving in the Maldives. The atoll’s famous tiger sharks can be seen every day, but its also home to hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks, silvertip sharks, oceanic manta rays, big schools of barracudas, yellowfin tuna, bonitos, sailfish, and even Mola mola and pilot whales.
Whilst the sharks are in no way aggressive, it is recommended to take experienced dive guides to ensure all necessary safety precautions are taken.
Two freshwater lakes in the island plus the many number of swamps and marshland areas in the island give habitat to different plant and animal species not to be found anywhere else in the Maldives.
Nature parks developed to promote eco-tourism has recently opened in Addu and Fuvahmulah. Visitor centres and boardwalks have been built in the lakes, offering tourists access to the aesthetic beauty of the wetlands and various plants previously hidden from view.
However, Fuvahmulah lacks proper facilities for tourism, except a domestic airport. Only a handful guesthouses provide accommodation to visitors.
The best suggested time to visit Fuvahmulah atoll to dive with sharks is from December to March. However, with the atoll’s proximity to the equator, the monsoons are less pronounced compared to further north in the Maldives and the weather is pretty stable all year round. The dry north-east monsoon usually runs from December to March with the wet south-west monsoon from May to November.
Despite several new resort developments and a boom in guesthouse tourism in the Maldives, Addu too has lagged behind for years in attracting tourism-related investments.
Up until recently, the relatively large atoll, which has unique geographical features compared to other parts of the island nation, was home to only two of the some 150 plus tourist resorts in the Maldives; Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, and Canareef Resort Maldives.
South Palm Resort Maldives, a brand new property developed on the uninhabited island of Ismehela Hera, opened in 2019.
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Best place to dive with sharks, Fuvahmulah is an island-atoll in the Maldives. Located on the equator between the two southern atolls of Addu and Huvadhu, Fuvahmulah is the unique and most beautiful island in the country - it is rock in the middle of open ocean. Unlike the two thousand islands of the Maldives archipelago, which are coral reefs, Fuhvamulah is of volcanic origin, which makes it more similar to the Indonesian islands of Bali or Gili. With lush tropical vegetation, mango landscapes, coconut palms, papaya plantations and various kinds of flowers, Fuwamulah is the only island in the Maldives with freshwater lakes. Read More.
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