Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
Southern Huvadhu Atoll or Gaafu Dhaalu is an administrative district of the Maldives formed by the southwestern section of Huvadhu Atoll. It was created on February 8, 1962 when Huvadhu Atoll was divided into two districts. Gaafu Dhaalu corresponds to the Southwestern section of this large natural atoll, south of the line extending between the channels of Footukandu and Vaarulu Kandu. The capital of this region is Thinadhoo (formerly known as Havaru Thinadhu). There are 153 islands in this district, 10 of which are inhabited. This district is located about 340 kilometres south of the capital Malé.
Independent travellers to Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll require special permission to leave the tourist zone and visit inhabited islands.
NOTE: Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Shaviyani, Noonu, Raa, Baa, Kaafu, etc. (including Gaafu Dhaalu) are code letters assigned to the present administrative divisions of the Maldives. They are not the proper names of the natural atolls that make up these divisions. Some atolls are divided into two administrative divisions while other divisions are made up of two or more natural atolls. The order followed by the code letters is from North to South, beginning with the first letters of the Thaana alphabet used in Dhivehi. These code letters are not accurate from the geographical and cultural point of view. However, they have become popular among tourists and foreigners in the Maldives who find them easier to pronounce than the true atoll names in Dhivehi, (save a few exceptions, like Ari Atoll).
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