The Aldabra Atoll is an island group in the Indian Ocean that for much of its history was largely untainted by people. The second largest coral atoll in the world, the land and waters around Aldabra are home to an important ecology of marine life. Most notably, it is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises. Although not a national park, Aldabra is isolated with effectively no human habitation. It was designated as a world heritage site in 1982.
These islands were unknown and uninhabited in prehistoric times. Although it was known to be visited by Arab traders, it was never permanently inhabited. This continued to be the case after Portuguese explorers discovered the atoll in the 16th century. During the Colonial era, the islands were heavily exploited for resources and food. It was only at the end of the 19th century that conservation measures were taken. After World War II, all exploitation of the Aldabra came to an end, and the permanent population of the atoll severely restricted. Now a part of the Seychelles, Aldabra is heavily protected, and much of the ecological damage to the island repaired.
Aldabra, the second largest atoll in the world, consists of four large coral islands clustered around an expansive central lagoon. Millions of years of geological evolution have left the atoll with a fantastic landscape which became home to many species, especially birds. One of the few mammals found on the islands, the Flying Fox, was a transplant from Madagascar. Over one hundred thousand tortoises, more than half on Earth, make their homes on the atoll, along with many smaller species of turtles.
The Aldabra Atoll is part of the territory of the Seychelles, though it is much closer to Comoros, which is 200 miles away, as well as the island of Madagascar and the East African coast. The atoll is isolated and access is extremely limited. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.seychelles.travel (official website).