The Aldabra Atoll is an ultra-ecosystem pristinely preserved in the heart of the open Indian Ocean. It forms one of the largest atolls in the world and is also a piece of land miles away from all human activities.
Part of the Seychelles archipelago, Aldabra Atoll consists of four coral islands, separated by narrow passages. It encloses a shallow lagoon and is surrounded by coral reefs. The most amazing characteristic of this place is that it is one of the best preserved eco-systems in the world thanks to its remoteness and impervious accessibility.
Indeed, Aldabra is located more than 1200 km from Mahé, one of the main islands in Seychelles, and extends over an area of 350 hectares. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Aldabra Atoll has a virtually untouched ecosystem.
Life in the Aldabra Atoll
Life is thriving on the atoll where many animal species, including the largest population of giant turtles, can be found. There are about 152,000 turtles living here. This magical place is also the location of large colonies of birds and more than 400 species and subspecies specific to this region.
Being such a well-preserved ecosystem, Aldabra is a unique place to study the ecological environment and its evolution. Scientists can, for example, understand how the turtles lived in the days when they dominated the food chain, without carnivorous predators.
If this place seems like a heavenly dream to visit, you should be aware that access to it is limited. Only a few small groups of maximum 30 people are allowed and strict rules are in place. It is especially forbidden to stay on site and the entry fee is € 100 per person. The money raised with the fees helps fund the management of the island.
Only fifteen people are living on the atoll of Aldabra and they are all involved with the preservation and management of the atoll: the team consists of four scientists, four guards, a cook and administrative staff.
The shelters for the staff are built respecting the environment. Electricity is generated by the sun and rain water is collected to meet all the needs.
Yet this atoll has almost disappeared in the 70s to make way for a U.S. military base. A project permanently shut down by numerous protests by scientists and conservationists.
You might also like: