Addu city is a collection of 6 inhabited islands forming an atoll located in the southern tip of the Maldives. Most inhabited islands in Addu are in the western reef and these are Hithadhoo, Maradhoo, Feydhoo, Gan. All these islands are connected with each other through a road or causeway. The islands of Meedhoo, and Hulhudhoo share a large island in the east. The total population of Addu Atoll is just over 28,000.
This is the 'second city' of the Maldives, and the resort here is the best base from which to visit traditional Maldivian island communities. The Addu people are fiercely independent, speak differently from folk in the capital and at one time even tried to secede from the republic.
The biggest influence on Addu's modern history has been the British bases, first established on the island of Gan during WWII, as part of the Indian Ocean defences. In 1956, the British developed a Royal Air Force base as a strategic Cold War outpost. The base had around 600 permanent personnel, with up to 3000 during periods of peak activity. They built a causeway connecting Feydhoo, Maradhoo and Hithadhoo islands, and employed most of the local men. In 1976 the British pulled out, but many of their employees, who spoke good English and had experience working for westerners, were well qualified for jobs in the soon-to-be-booming tourist industry.
Tourist development in Addu itself has been slow to start, but a resort has been established in the old RAF buildings on Gan and there are now reliable connections to the capital in a new Air Maldives jet. The Ocean Reef Resort is not a typical Maldives tropical paradise resort island, but the old military base is a unique feature. Gan is linked by causeways to the adjacent islands, and it's easy and pleasant to get around them by bicycle, giving unmatched opportunities to visit the local villages and see village life.