Aldabra Atoll Seychelles
Seychelles Travel Guide
Aldabra Atoll Seychelles
World Heritage Site
Located in the Indian Ocean, the Aldabra Atoll is an outstanding example of a raised coral atoll. Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, the atoll has remained largely untouched by humans for the majority of its existence. Aldabra is one of the largest atolls in the world, and contains one of the most important natural habitats for studying evolutionary and ecological processes. It is home to the largest giant tortoise population in the world. The richness and diversity of the ocean and landscapes result in an array of colours and formations that contribute to the atoll's scenic and aesthetic appeal.
The Aldabra Atoll, along with Des Roches and Farquhar, was part of the British Indian Ocean Territory from 1965 until Seychelles independence in 1976. In the 1960’s. As a part of their 'Ocean Island Policy' the British government considered establishing an RAF base there and they invited the United States to help fund the project in return for shared use of the facility. Simultaneously (mid 1960s) the British Broadcasting Corporation became interested in Aldabra as a possible site to locate transmitters with which to rebroadcast the BBC Overseas Service into the African mainland. The BBC mounted a fact finding expedition (Expedition Turtle) to assess its suitability for this purpose. The BBC was dependent upon the RAF for developing the atoll and without this their own ambitions would not have been feasible. After an international protest by ecologists, however, the military plans were abandoned and the wildlife habitat instead received full protection.Aldabra was designated a World Heritage Site on November 19, 1982, and is administered from Mahé by the Seychelles Island Foundation.
The abandoned settlement Picard on the southwestern tip of West Island is now home to the Research Officer, the Island Manager and their rangers and staff. There is no other permanent population.
The atoll is the second largest in the world by land area, after Kiritimati. It is 34 km long, 14.5 km wide, and up to 8 meters above sea level, and has a land area of 155.4 km². The lagoon measures 224 km² in area, of which roughly two thirds fall dry during low tide. The atoll consists of a ring of four larger islands: counterclockwise, they are South Island (Grand Terre, 116.1 km²), Malabar or Middle Island (26.8 km²), Polymnieli or Polymnie Island (4.75 km²) and Picard or West Island (9.4 km²).
Aldabra and Assumption Island
Additionally, there are some forty smaller islands and rocks, all inside the lagoon, except a few very small islets at the West Channels between South and Polymnie Islands, the largest of those being Îlot Magnan. The largest islands inside the lagoon are Île Michel (Michael Island), in the east (0.34 km² or 0.16 sq mi) and Île Esprit (Spirit Island), in the west (0.41 km² 0.13 sq mi).
The islands consist of limestone uplands, sand dunes and beaches based on the remains of a coral reef.
Share your Discovery with your Friends