North Kaafu Atoll
This is where tourism began in 1972. Kaafu Atoll consists of four geographical atolls; North and South Male’ Atoll, Gaafaru and Kaashidhoo Atolls. The atoll is located almost in the centre of the Maldives atoll chain. With 80 islands in all, only 12 are inhabited.
That includes the capital, Male’ and the island of Hulhule on which Male’ International Airport is located. While the first resort opened with just 30 rooms in 1972 now there are a total of 3657 rooms distributed amongst 44 resorts in the atoll. In fact the biggest concentration of resorts is in North Male’ Atoll. The atoll is dotted with dive sites, many of them well known in the diving community.
Manta points, interesting reef formations, coral gardens and wrecks are all part of the diving experience in these atolls. The Maldives Victory, which sank on Friday the 13th 1981 near the airport island of Hulule, is now an exciting diving attraction. Transport to the resorts in Male’ Atoll are by ,˜dhoni’, motorized local vessels or by speedboat. The island of Thulusdhoo in North Male’ Atoll is a centre of commercial activity. It is most famous for its Coca Cola bottling plant- certainly one of the few, if not the only plant that uses desalinated water.
The State Trading Organization (STO) has one of its main warehouses for dried fish on the island. It is a trans-shipment point for dried fish, smoked and salted fish for export. Vessels from the northern atolls loaded with dried fish stop by at Thulusdhoo to sell their fish. In addition to these there are garment factories and a boat building facility that uses fibre-glass to build the traditional ,˜dhonis’. The eastern side of Thulusdhoo is famous for its surfs aptly named ,˜Cokes’.