Heart-shaped Addu Atoll, just south of the equator, is the most southern point of Maldives. There’s a splash of late-colonial flavour here – the island of Gan was used as a British military base until the 1970s – and an independent streak flows through the locals, who speak a different dialect of Dhivehi to that spoken in Male. The atoll enjoyed a brief period of independence as part of the United Suvadive Republic between 1959 and 1963.
The six inhabited islands here are known collectively as Addu City due to the fact that all but one are connected by bridges and causeways, creating at 14km the longest continuous stretch of land in the country. Addu is the main economic and administrative centre in the southern atolls, and the only place to rival Male in size and importance. There are just three resorts down here, a few guesthouses and some superb diving opportunities.