Liveaboard Diving in South Male Atoll

What To Expect On a South Male Atoll Liveaboard

South Male Atoll liveaboard diving in the Maldives is famous for it's pelagic diving and it's Kandus. Across the Vaadhoo channel from North Male Atoll lies South Male Atoll. Only three islands in this atoll have local communities, though there are many resorts on the uninhabited islands. All in all, South Male Atoll has a busier traveler and guesthouse scene, but perhaps a more laid-back atmosphere than North Male, with its high population density and capital city. Independent travelers can find accommodation and tour options on the island Maafushi- a good option for divers who want to relax from a land-based location before or after their liveaboard dive cruise.

South Male Atoll Underwater

Maldives liveaboard diving in South Male Atoll is all about kandus, which are channels that connect the interior of an atoll to the open ocean. No fewer than six kandus provide highways for strong, nutrient-rich currents to enter South Male Atoll, and this attracts big schools of fish, reef sharks, and a variety of other large pelagics. In fact, South Male Atoll is often regarded as the premier reef shark destination of the Central Atolls. Hard coral cover, on the other hand, remains better in North Male, though South Male Atoll dive tours still enjoy abundant colorful soft corals at many sites.

Dive Sites Of South Male Atoll

South Male liveaboard itineraries are available on most Maldives cruises and here is a selection of a few dive sites that you might visit during your dive trip;

Embudhoo Kandu that tops the list for sharks in South Male Atoll. This channel hosts large populations of white tip and grey reef sharks, and it's been designated a marine protected area to conserve them. Embudhoo Kandu lies in the northeast of South Male Atoll, and divers there should be prepared to drift; you'll cover a great distance in the current, whizzing along an abyssal drop-off, through thin canyons, into caves, and around a coral-bedecked thila at the end. Besides sharks, divers may encounter Napoleon wrasse, huge groupers, rays, and benthic reef inhabitants that will give photographers plenty of material to work with.

Guraidhoo Kandu South is actually many sites under one name. This is a large area with two channels and a reef flat; it cannot be covered in only one dive, and the topography varies widely. Divers may jump from their dive dhoni into scenes of vertical or horizontal topography, from walls, to slopes, to channels, to caves. One particular channel offers a 300 meter-long stretch of drift diving with sheer walls on both sides, and the end point at the open-ocean drop-off is full of pelagic fish life, including sharks and Napoleon wrasse. It's a good idea to take a couple breaks from the current in the small caverns of the canyon walls, where colorful soft corals and black coral bushes adorn the rocky substrate.

Kuda Giri Wreck offers inexperienced divers a great chance to explore a shallow shipwreck without fighting the current. This small ship was intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef, and it has indeed attracted benthic organisms like sponges and coral to settle and grow upon its hull. Fish life followed, and small permanent residents like batfish and glassfish are joined by regular visits from larger reef animals, like Napoleon wrasse and turtles. A nearby pinnacle tempts divers to explore for nudibranchs, octopus, and other reef life.

Kandooma Thila is considered by many to be the first or second-best dive site in South Male Atoll. The current rips through a thin channel along the side of this pinnacle, and it is chock-full of fish drama, mostly involving who eats who. Jacks dart toward colorful anthias, barracuda patrol in schools, reef sharks glide watchfully over the substrate, and predatory reef fish like groupers and snappers wait for their chance in holes and sheltered corners. Divers can only circumvent the thila for so long, at a certain point, thereís nowhere to shelter from the current, and the safety stop is usually performed in the blue.

Cocoa Thila has earned a reputation throughout the Central Atolls as one of the best dive sites of the area, though its appeal is quite current-dependent. At the wrong time of day, there can be either no fish (without water flow), or the flow can be so strong that diving is virtually impossible. Assuming that your experienced dive guides choose the right schedule, Cocoa Thila delivers a huge serving of big fish activity. Sweetlips, grouper, snapper, sharks, eagle rays, tuna, and jacks abound.

Top Tips For Divers

In the Maldives, a new Green Tax of 6 USD per person per night applies for every tourist in the country. The official language is Maldivian, also called Dhivehi.

Gear to bring includes your own mask, booties, fins, and dive computer. These are personalized pieces of equipment which we don't recommend renting. An ill-fitting mask or pair of fins can make diving virtually impossible, and a dive computer is your most-important piece of safety equipment.

Getting To South Male Atoll

Like anywhere in the Maldives, South Male Atoll is best dived by liveaboard so your dive dhoni can hop between dive sites with the least hassle, and your cruise can easily sail from North Male to other destinations. The length of liveaboard itineraries in South Male Atoll usually ranges from 7 to 10 nights, with a budget from a bit over 200 to 350 euros per night. South Male Atoll liveaboards often commit to a northern or southern route to fit in a bit more of Ari and Baa (to the north), or Vaavu and Meemu (to the south).

Male is the main departure location for South Male Atoll Maldives liveaboards, accessible by direct flights from Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo. Longer international flights from Europe, America, China, India, and Australia often connect through the regional airports mentioned above.

Diving South Male Atoll is possible all year round, but the northeast monsoon from December to May allows the calmest surface conditions and the least rain. The water temperature usually stays between 26 and 29 C, and visibility between 10 and 30 meters.


South Male Atoll Diving Reviews

  • 9.2 Superb
  • 170 Verified Reviews
  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • dominic K
  • United States United States

Night dive for nurse sharks a highlight

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Voyager

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Rachel R
  • United States United States

This is where we saw the whale shark!! We explored the ship wreck. Lots of Eels. Saw a few stone fish. This is where we did our first negative entry dive. Strong currents which bring in the sharks and also provide a nice ride.

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Maldives Aggressor II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • iouri M
  • United States United States

Sharks, napoleon fish, turtles, sea eal, great diving

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • SCOTT T
  • United States United States

Challenging currents but very good. Visibility of 30 meters or so.

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Blue Force One

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Joe C
  • United States United States

Incredible. Saw the nurse sharks.

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Emperor Voyager

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Margaret Sheryl W
  • United States United States

Wonderful—especially if you get to see a whale shark.(we did not).

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Klinger C
  • United States United States

At some point, few animals to see and some coral areas were dead.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Ethan H
  • United States United States

Probably my least favorite despite Alimatha

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Maldives Aggressor II

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Frances D
  • United States United States

wonderful diving with sharks

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Voyager

  • 8.4 Very good
  • CLAUDE H
  • United States United States

Guraidhoo Corner. Cocoa Corner. Kandooma Thila. Lhosfushi Faru and Medhu, very strong current. Kuda Giri wreck. Fish Tank.

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Blue Voyager

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Donald L
  • United States United States

Spectacular the underwater aquatic diversity is worth traveling halfway around the world to photograph witness and share with friends and other Divers

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Seafari Explorer 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Michael C
  • United States United States

Very deep quicy but good introduction to Maldivian dives.

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Blue Force One

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Angela T
  • United States United States

The water is about 82Fn degrees. It sounds warm, but bring more wetsuit than you think you'll need because after multiple deep dives you tend to get cold.

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Amba Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Teresa B
  • United States United States

poor viz this week. Sharks...channel dive twice,

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Carpe Novo

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • David E
  • United States United States

Mantas, Mantas, so many Mantas at Mahi Rock.

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Trude R
  • United States United States

Great! a bit crowded though

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Carpe Diem

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Courtney C
  • United States United States

There were strong currents but worth it for the sharks.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Pauline P
  • United States United States

Beautiful - especially nurse shark dive

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Voyager

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Robert H
  • United States United States

Great shark / channel diving with tons of sharks

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Thomas M
  • United States United States

Plenty of diversity of fish specials and schooling fish.

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Carpe Diem

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Heather B
  • United States United States

The southern part had a bit more current, but there were whale sharks!

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Fernando R
  • United States United States

Had an opportunity to dive with mantas at night and it was a superb experience

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Blue Force One

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Christopher R
  • United States United States

Three dive sites in S Male. Many deep dives and sharks!

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Emperor Serenity

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Laura S
  • United States United States

Lots of anenomes with clown fish.

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Princess Sara

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • ShaoYu H
  • Taiwan Taiwan

Strong currents, but lots of sharks!

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Susan P
  • Australia Australia

All dives fantastic. Think this is where we did the Night Dive, probably the highlight of all the dives, the sharks & rays unbelievable

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Damian S
  • Australia Australia

Awesome dive sites fantastic pelagic activity.

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Sachika

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Marion P
  • France France

Very good memory of the dive with the school of rays eagles, mobula rays. Beautiful drift dives.

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Nautilus Two

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Danielle D
  • Philippines Philippines

We enjoyed South Ari Atoll even if the weather changed and the whale sharks were on holiday as well! The wreck dive is rich and diverse. We even saw a big white tip shark sleeping inside a cabin

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Niklas L
  • Sweden Sweden

Great variety of channel and reef diving, lots of fish and healthy reefs.

Diving South Male Atoll in June on the Emperor Voyager

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Robin S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Really beautiful and very varied compared to the rest.

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Blue Force One

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Travis M
  • Canada Canada

The shark canyon dive stood out for me at this atoll, fantastic experience.

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Blue Force One

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Jukka Arimatias R
  • Finland Finland

Not out of this world but nice nevertheless. Some currents were very strong and occasionally challenging.

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Maldives Aggressor II

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Milos C
  • Slovakia Slovakia

many famous big animals, untouched corals, great visibility, great reef system, many drift dives, sharks

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Emperor Voyager

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Yvonne L
  • Canada Canada

Beautiful soft corals. Strong current.

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Lui C
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

The visibility is better than north male atoll, water was clear. marine life abundance was similar with lots of reef sharks. Medium to occasional strong current.

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Oskar F
  • Sweden Sweden

Super clear water - great!

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Emperor Leo

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Gina M
  • Australia Australia

My favourite site was "7th Heaven" Maldives at its best. The wreck and Machachfushi was nice as well

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jun C
  • China China

good pinnacle dives when the tide is right

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Blue Force One

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Pontus A
  • Sweden Sweden

Good but alot of the corals has suffered hard from human impacts

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Emperor Voyager

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Marija A
  • Croatia Croatia

Stunning, you can see rays, sharks....

Diving South Male Atoll in August on the Blue Force One

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Kazushige T
  • Japan Japan

A lot of sharks and migratory fish appeared and it was dynamic.

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Nautilus Two

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Bastiaan D
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Many turtles as well as snorkelling with a passing group of manta rays!

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Blue Force One

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Caspar D
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Just as diverse as Ari, and nowhere near as busy. Mantas, sharks, eagle rays and turtles all over the place.

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Nautilus Two

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Andrew C
  • Australia Australia

Shark sightings were excellent

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Lee A
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Calm seas, medium current in one or two areas, Whaleshark!

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Carpe Vita

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Yolanda T
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Tons of nurse sharks!Absolutely amazing

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Voyager

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jorge R
  • Spain Spain

Spectacular pelagic creatures. We saw sharks in every dive!

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Chris L
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Best I have ever experienced

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Cheryl T
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Some dives good- wreck dive and lots of morays. Coral was badly damaged which is sad to see

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Soleil 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Martin D
  • Ireland Ireland

Beautiful coral and varied dives. Whale sharks a good possibility

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Blue Force One

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Jose Felix L
  • Spain Spain

Great as always, huge macro life

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Carpe Vita

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Florian H
  • Germany Germany

Very nice dive sites, got good shark action, especially the nurse sharks at Alimathaa Jetty get amazingly close!

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Carpe Novo

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Vasilij S
  • Lithuania Lithuania

I think south comparing to any other atolls is one of the best spot to see sharks, as at some point there were reef sharks almost everywhere and I have an amazing selfie videos with sharks :)

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Leo

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Mira M
  • Germany Germany

Lots of sharks if I remember the right atoll :-)

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Emperor Voyager

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Miklos H
  • Hungary Hungary

Channel dives, with focus on megafauna, but still interesting reef life

Diving South Male Atoll in June on the Amba Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Amay K
  • India India

Got lucky with two whale sharks!!

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Carpe Diem

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Kai E
  • Netherlands Netherlands

okey, we should have stayed longer in one spot or do more dives at the same location at different depths.

Diving South Male Atoll in August on the Blue Force One

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • andre V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Great dive at Kandooma thila: this is one of the best sites in the Maldives

Diving South Male Atoll in August on the Carpe Novo

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Andre L
  • Germany Germany

Great, Big Stuff like sharks and eagle rays

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Carpe Novo

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Christopher A
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Good given very high winds and rain. Meaning we were limited to inside of atoll.

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Carpe Diem

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Tejasvi R
  • India India

Male Atolls were more on the average side - they were crowded, with poor visibility and heavy currents

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Princess Dhonkamana

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Claire B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

We had a wonderful dive here and the coral is very healthy

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Blue Force One

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Richard C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Just loved watching the mantas and reef sharks here. Kandooma Thila was special and the encounter with a couple of Eagle Rays was the icing on the cake.

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Emperor Serenity

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Roald V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

A few mantas but hoped fore more

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Amba Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Gary C
  • Australia Australia

Alas no whale shark; the night dive with sharks was mind blowing

Diving South Male Atoll in January on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Yingbo Z
  • China China

Good dives, impressed by the wildlife near cities.

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Sachika

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Antoine C
  • France France

All diving were very nice, from North to South !!

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Sachika

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Alison W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent, lovely night dive.

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Blue Force One

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Henrik S
  • Sweden Sweden

Only did one dive in South Male Atoll - on a wreck, which was very nice last dive of the trip.

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Carpe Novo

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Ahmad B
  • France France

A unique encounter with a horde of grey reef sharks.

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Carpe Novo

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Adil G
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

Kuda Giri wreck with its surrounding reef was amazing

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Morgan L
  • France France

Lot of sharks, less liveabord and wilder spots

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Blue Voyager

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Elisa Analia M
  • Chile Chile

Place for the Whaleshark...pitty to share the experience with so many people at the same time

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Emperor Leo

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Jeroen V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Beautiful coral garden, 4 stars

Diving South Male Atoll in April on the Emperor Serenity

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rindra R
  • Madagascar Madagascar

Nice landscapes with small caves, little current

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Emperor Serenity

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Zinaida B
  • Sweden Sweden

Kuda Giri Wreck with surroundings is the top dive!

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Amba Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Steven R
  • Germany Germany

Lot’s of current & sharks, simply spectacular.

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Carpe Diem

  • 7.2 Good
  • Stephen S
  • Australia Australia

reasonable, with poor visibility

Diving South Male Atoll in June on the Carpe Vita

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Josje A
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Good. We saw quite some octopus here.

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Princess Sara

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Karen W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent . Sharks shark and more sharks for me . Husband liked the macro .

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Carpe Novo

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Pat H
  • Germany Germany

I love it ... a very challenging dive with large pelagics.

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Princess Dhonkamana

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • guest 1
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Strong currents but a wide variety of fish

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Sunseeker

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • sofia A
  • Sweden Sweden

Loads of nurse sharks! So beautiful

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Carpe Diem

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Cheuk Min C
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Excellent fish life and coral life.

Diving South Male Atoll in November on the Carpe Diem

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ingemar H
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Great, sharks and mantas of all types

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Princess Sara

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Rafael M
  • Brazil Brazil

Nice dive with lots of coral and plenty of sealife

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Maldives Aggressor II

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Mark R
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

No so great dive, good for 10 mins of shark time but nothing more.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Emperor Serenity

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Cathy B
  • Canada Canada

Nurse Shark dove was spectacular

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Serenity

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Cecilia W
  • Sweden Sweden

Wonderful! Manga and sharks

Diving South Male Atoll in March on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Tan A
  • Malaysia Malaysia

visibilty is ok , can be better.

Diving South Male Atoll in May on the Carpe Diem

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Paul C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

More sharks, rays, mantas!

Diving South Male Atoll in July on the Maldives Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Bea G
  • Switzerland Switzerland

beautiful reefs unfortunately no whale shark

Diving South Male Atoll in September on the Princess Dhonkamana

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Melissa R
  • Canada Canada

Good variety of wildlife, beautiful experiences, but some strong currents

Diving South Male Atoll in October on the Princess Sara

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ryan R
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Kandooma Thila had multiple eagle rays

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Princess Sara

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Adam Desmond W
  • Burundi Burundi

A bit of bad luck when it came to visibility. The area had experienced bad weather, but the diving was still very good, but not as good as it usually is.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Sunseeker

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Bernard S
  • Singapore Singapore

We only did one dive here due to the weather. Vis was not good but the choice of site for the wreck and swim throughs was excellent.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Princess Sara

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Kee Wee T
  • Singapore Singapore

Whale shark, sharks and turtles.

Diving South Male Atoll in December on the Princess Sara

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ahmad R
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Very good dive sites with sharks. Medium to string current sometimes, use of reef hooks is highly recommended. Water temperature is at 29C.

Diving South Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Explorer