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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Gilbert Islands (Gilbertese: Tungaru;[1] formerly Kingsmill Islands[2]) are a chain of 16 atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of the Republic of Kiribati ("Kiribati" is the rendition of "Gilberts" in Gilbertese[1]) and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.

LocationGilbert.png

Contents

Geography

The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands are arranged in an approximate north-to-south line. In a geographical sense, the equator serves as dividing line between the northern Gilbert Islands and the southern Gilbert Islands. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) considers the Gilberts wholly within the South Pacific Ocean, however.[3]

Another method of grouping the Gilbert Islands is by former administrative districts, the Northern, Central, and Southern Gilberts (Tarawa once was a separate district as well).

An a group of the southern Gilberts is called the Kingsmill Group, a name that in the 19th century applied to all of the Gilberts.[2]

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Islands of the Gilberts

In official north-south order (grouped by former administrative districts), the islands and atolls are:


Gilbert Islands
Atoll/Island Main
village
Land area Lagoon area Pop.
c. 2005
Min.
number
of islets
Vill-
ages
Location
km² sq mi km² sq mi
former district of the northern Gilberts
Makin Makin 6.7 2.6 2,385 5 2 3°23′N 173°00′E / 3.383°N 173°E / 3.383; 173 (Makin)
Butaritari Butaritari 13.6 5.3 191.7 74.0 3,280 11 11 3°09′N 172°50′E / 3.15°N 172.833°E / 3.15; 172.833 (Butaritari)
Marakei Rawannawi 13.5 5.2 19.6 7.6 2,741 1 8 2°00′N 173°17′E / 2°N 173.283°E / 2; 173.283 (Marakei)
Abaiang Tuarabu 16.0 6.2 232.5 89.8 5,502 4-20 18 1°50′N 172°57′E / 1.833°N 172.95°E / 1.833; 172.95 (Abaiang)
Tarawa Bairiki 31.9 12.3 343.6 132.7 45,989 9+ 30 1°26′N 173°00′E / 1.433°N 173°E / 1.433; 173 (Tarawa)
former district of the Central Gilberts
Maiana Tebwangetua 15.9 6.1 98.4 38.0 1,908 9 12 0°55′N 173°00′E / 0.917°N 173°E / 0.917; 173 (Maiana)
Abemama Kariatebike 27.8 10.7 132.4 51.1 3,404 8 12 0°24′N 173°50′E / 0.4°N 173.833°E / 0.4; 173.833 (Abemama)
Kuria Tabontebike 12.3 4.7 1,082 2 6 0°13′N 173°24′E / 0.217°N 173.4°E / 0.217; 173.4 (Kuria)
Aranuka Takaeang 15.5 6.0 19.4 7.5 1,158 4 3 0°09′N 173°35′E / 0.15°N 173.583°E / 0.15; 173.583 (Aranuka)
Nonouti 1) Teuabu 29.2 11.3 370.4 143.0 3,179 12 9 0°40′S 174°20′E / 0.667°S 174.333°E / -0.667; 174.333 (Nonouti)
former district of the Southern Gilberts
Tabiteuea 1) Buariki 38.0 14.7 365.2 141.0 4,898 2+ 18 1°20′S 174°50′E / 1.333°S 174.833°E / -1.333; 174.833 (Tabiteuea)
Beru 1) Taubukinberu 14.7 5.7 38.9 15.0 2,169 1 9 1°20′S 175°59′E / 1.333°S 175.983°E / -1.333; 175.983 (Beru)
Nikunau 1) Rungata 18.2 7.0 1,912 1 6 1°21′S 176°28′E / 1.35°S 176.467°E / -1.35; 176.467 (Nikunau)
Onotoa 1) Buariki 13.5 5.2 54.4 21.0 1,644 30 7 1°52′S 175°33′E / 1.867°S 175.55°E / -1.867; 175.55 (Onotoa)
Tamana Bakaka 4.8 1.9 875 1 3 2°30′S 175°58′E / 2.5°S 175.967°E / -2.5; 175.967 (Tamana)
Arorae Roreti 9.5 3.7 1,256 1 2 2°38′S 176°49′E / 2.633°S 176.817°E / -2.633; 176.817 (Arorae)
Gilbert Islands Tarawa 281.10 108.5 1,866.5 720.7 83,382 117+ 156 3°23'N to 2°38S
172°50' to 176°49'E
1) part of Kingsmill Group proper

Northern Gilberts

The Northern Gilberts (mweang) geographically and traditionally encompass Makin, Butaritari, Marakei, Abaiang (literally northland) and Tarawa. They have unique tonal accents with differences particularly noted amongst Butaritari and Makin inhabitants.

The northern Gilberts have a greater mean rainfall in comparison to the southern and central Gilberts allowing cultivation of a wider crop range. Butaritari and Makin supply most of the bananas sold in Kiribati. The cultivation of taro or babai (C. esculenta) has been historically easier in the northern Gilberts due to a higher water table and regular rainfall.

Central Gilberts

The Central Gilberts or nuka have traditionally included Maiana, Abemama, Kuria and Aranuka. However, the latter three are considered the main islands that have unique historical and cultural characteristics which distinguish the Central Gilberts from the north and south.

The Central Gilberts as well as Butaritari are the only regions which have had an organised and widely recognised aristocracy and royal lineage. The last king of Abemama, Kuria and Aranuka died in the early part of the 20th century.

Southern Gilberts

The Southern Gilberts include the atolls of Nonouti, South and North Tabiteuea, Beru, Onotoa, Tamana and the most southerly island of Arorae.

History

Prehistory and discovery by Europeans

Prior to the Gilberts' discovery by Europeans, the islands had been inhabited by Micronesians for several millennia. The first European explorers to reach the islands were 1788 Captain Thomas Gilbert in the Charlotte and Captain John Marshall in the Scarborough. Messrs. Gilbert and Marshall crossed through Abemama, Kuria, Aranuka, Tarawa, Abaiang, Butaritari, and Makin without attempting to land on shore. In the years that followed, many ships ran across the little islands and atolls of the Gilberts in the course of their travels in the central Pacific.

Further exploration

In 1820, the islands were named îles Gilbert (in French) by von Krusenstern, an Estonian admiral of the Czar after the British captain, Thomas Gilbert, together with the neighbouring îles Marshall. Two ships of the United States Exploring Expedition, USS Peacock (1828) and USS Flying Fish (1838), under the command of Captain Hudson, visited many of the Gilbert Islands (then called the Kingsmill Islands or Kingsmill Group in English). While in the Gilberts, considerable time was devoted to mapping and charting reefs and anchorages.

Colonial rule

A British protectorate was first proclaimed over the Gilberts by Captain Davis of HMS Royalist (1883) on 27 May 1892. In 1915, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands were proclaimed a colony of the British Empire.

Population

The natives of the Gilbert Islands are Micronesian, similar in many respects to the natives of the Marshalls, the Carolines, and the Marianas. At the time of the Japanese invasion in 1942, they were a self-governing people, with their tribal consciousness undisturbed by the British system of colony government and administration. Loyal to the British, the Gilbertese looked with dissatisfaction upon the prospects of coming under the rule of the Japanese. During their stay in the Gilberts, the Japanese did nothing to change the opinion of the Gilbertese on this score.

At the outbreak of the war, about 78% of the native population were said to be Christians. This group was divided mainly into two denominations: Congregationalists (43%); and Roman Catholics (35%). The rest of the population were largely semi-pagan agnostics; they did not adhere to the Christian faith, nor did they retain much of their beliefs in their own ancient gods.

Native diet during this time consisted mainly of fish, coconuts, pandanus fruit, babai (swamp taro), chicken, and some pork. Housing for Europeans employed in the island was simple. Their houses were constructed of both European and native materials and were generally of the bungalow type. There was no tourism.

Economy

The principal industry found in the Gilberts was the production of phosphate from the deposits on Ocean Island and Fanning Island. In addition, coconut palms were cultivated on some of the islands. All labor was supervised by the British and every effort was made to see that the wages and living conditions were fair and adequate. Sanitary inspections by the British did much to improve the general living conditions on most of the islands.

Administration

Judged to be about 84% literate, the Gilbertese responded readily to the colony's educational efforts. All education in the islands came under the supervision of the Colonial Education Department whose aims were to educate native boys for employment in government and commercial work, and to standardize the level of education throughout the colony. The bulk of the education was provided by the missions, which maintained all the village schools and trained the native school teachers.

With the availability of European-style medical care life improved. The Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme sought to provide an outlet through the development of three uninhabited atolls in the Phoenix Islands and was the last attempt at human colonization within the British Empire.

Religion

Hiram Bingham II (1831-1908) was the first to translate the Bible into Gilbertese, and also wrote hymns for the Gilbertese language.

World War II

On the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded the Gilbert Islands, occupying them by December 10.[4].

On 17 August 1942, 221 U.S. Marines of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion raided Makin from two submarines. The raid was intended by the Americans to confuse the Japanese about US intentions in the Pacific. It is instead believed to have alerted the Japanese to the strategic importance of the Gilbert Islands and led to their reinforcement and fortification.

Tarawa and Abemama were occupied in force by the Japanese in September 1942 and during the next year garrisons were built up on Betio (Tarawa Atoll), and Butaritari (Makin Atoll). Only nominal forces were placed on other islands in the Gilberts.

On 20 November 1943, the United States Army and U.S. 2nd Marine Division landed on Makin and Tarawa, initiating the battles of Makin and Tarawa, in which the Japanese were defeated. The Gilbert Islands were then used to support the invasion of the Marshall Islands in February 1944.

Self-determination

The Gilbert and Ellice Islands became autonomous in 1971. From 1976 to 1978, the Ellices were separated, and the Gilberts became the Gilbert Islands colony, which issued stamps under that name. In 1979, the Gilberts opted for independence, becoming the independent nation of Kiribati.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Reilly Ridgell. Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95.
  2. ^ a b Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam Webster, 1997. p. 594.
  3. ^ International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Special Publication 23, Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition (1953)
  4. ^ Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Tassafaronga, Cape, Esperance, SantaCruz, Tarawa, Savo, Island, Midway, Doolittle, Sunda, Strait, Java, Sea, battle

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Kiribati article)

From Wikitravel

Oceania : Kiribati
noframe
Location
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Flag
Image:kr-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Tarawa
Government Republic
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Area total: 811 km2
Population 105,432 (July 2006 est.)
Language I-Kiribati, English (official)
Religion Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, some Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha'i, Latter-day Saints, and Church of God (1999)
Calling Code +686
Internet TLD .ki
Time Zone UTC+12 to +14

Kiribati [1] (pronounced Kiri-bass) is an island group in Micronesia straddling the equator and, until 1995, the International Date Line. Kiribati's 33 atolls, with a total area of only 811 km², are scattered over an area of 3.5 million km². Kiribati saw some of the worst fighting of the Pacific theatre during the Second World War, including the infamous Battle of Tarawa in November 1943.

Kiribati is most emphatically not another Tahiti, Hawaii, etc. where you can go to relax and have nothing to worry about. It has few visitors, and they have to be prepared to "rough it." That said, there aren't many countries where the people are more friendly.

South Tarawa is one of the most densely populated, severely poverty-stricken places in the world. Other islands have far fewer people, but getting to them can be difficult, and conditions are even more primitive. Most tourists, especially from the USA, go to Kiritimati (Christmas Island). It received some attention on January 1, 2000 as the first location in the world to experience the new millennium. Conditions there are somewhat better than in the rest of Kiribati.

Regions

Except for the isolated Banaba (Ocean Island - 6 km², pop.~300), all the main islands are in one of three groups: the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands, and the Phoenix Islands.

Gilbert Islands

The Gilbert Islands are all in the UTC+12 time zone.

  • Abaiang - 18 km², pop.~5502 - has at least one hotel and a couple of guest houses
  • Abemama - 27 km², pop.~3400
  • Aranuka - 12 km², pop.~1200
  • Arorae - 9 km², pop.~1300
  • Beru - 18 km², pop.~2200
  • Butaritari - 13 km², pop.~3300
  • Kuria - 16 km², pop.~1100
  • Maiana - 17 km², pop.~2000
  • Marakei - 14 km², pop.~2800
  • Nikunau - 19 km², pop.~2000
  • Nonouti - 20 km², pop.~3200
  • Onotoa - 16 km², pop.~1700
  • Tabiteuea (Tabiteuea North - 26 km², pop.~3600 & Tabiteuea South - 12 km², pop.~1298)
  • Tamana - 5 km², pop.~ 900 - the smallest of the Gilbert Islands (too small to construct an airstrip)
  • Tarawa (Tarawa North - 15 km², pop.~5700 & Tarawa South - 16 km², pop.~40000+) - Tarawa South is the location of Kiribati's capital
Map of Kiribati
Map of Kiribati

Eight of the eleven Line Islands atolls belong to Kiribati and are in the UTC+14 time zone, the easternmost zone currently in use anywhere in the world, making them the first places on Earth to start each new calendar day. The other three (all uninhabited) are U.S. dependencies.

Northern Line Islands

  • Kiritimati (Christmas Island) - pop.~5000
  • Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) - pop.~2500
  • Teraina (Washington Island) - pop.~1000

The Northern Line Islands also include Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef which are U.S. dependencies.

The Central Line Islands and Southern Line Islands are all uninhabited.

Phoenix Islands and the Phoenix Island Protected Area

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is the worlds largest Marine Protected Area. This isolated location has a vast array of undisturbed and pristine eco-systems. The coral reefs and bird populations are virtually untouched by man. At the time of writting the areas had been nominated for a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are hopefull of this being awarded in 2010. The area covers 410 500 sq km of the Central Pacific.

The main island is this region is Kanton Island (Abariringa). While the island has the services of an airstrip and wharf this small number of people are government workers in caretaker mode.

Such is the isolation of the island that it is seldom visited and this is limited to sailing yachts and charters. The government supply ship visits a number of times a year. Immigration is possible on the island for those arriving by sea.

Other islands in the area include Orona, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, Birnie, Manra, McKean and Rawaki. These atolls are the tops of the Seamounts (or seas mountains) which are a feature of the marine protected area.

For more information on the Phoneix Island Protected Area visit [2].

Understand

History

Kiribati was inhabited for 2000 years prior to European contact. Under British colonial rule, it was known as the Gilbert Islands. Kiribati was granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati. The name "Kiribati" is pronounced "Kiri-bass", which is the closest local equivalent to "Gilberts".

The Phoenix and Line Islands were generally held to be on the east side of the International Date Line and are in different time zones from the Gilbert Islands group, but on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was on the same calendar day (skipping 31 December 1994 in those island groups), effectively extending the Date Line further eastward to accommodate this. This makes the Line Islands the farthest "ahead" of any territory on the planet.

In 1995 Kiribati suspended diplomatic relations with France to protest the latter's decision to resume nuclear testing on Muraroa Atoll. In 1999 the government claimed that two atolls had been lost due to sea level rise and subsequently, in 2002, joined with Tuvalu and the Maldives to take legal action against the US for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

The presence of gun emplacements and ship wrecks from WWII battles on South Tarawa makes shipwreck diving a common tourist activity.

Climate

Whoever coined the phrase, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" may have had Kiribati in mind. Actually, the average high temperatures are quite reasonable compared to other well-known places in the tropics (such as Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, etc.). But the humidity more than makes up for this, making it feel very sauna-like. The wet season varies, but is usually December to March, give or take a month. Severe drought also occurs at times.

Get in

Visa Requirements

Nationals and citizens of the following countries are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati where the intended duration of their stay is 30 days or less: Belize, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao (only in respect of holders of Macao Special Adminisirative Region Passports), Marshall Islands, Palau, Republic of China (Taiwan), Republic of (South) Korea.

Nationals and citizens of the following countries specified are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Hong Kong (only in respect of holders of British Nationals Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United Kingdom Overseas Territories of (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands), United States of America, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

There are honorary consulates in Rose Bay (near Sydney), NSW, Australia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Suva, Fiji; Hamburg, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Auckland, New Zealand; and London, United Kingdom. Also, visas may be obtained by writing the Principal Immigration Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.O. Box 68, Bairiki, Tarawa, KIRIBATI (Central Pacific). Caution: Do not apply directly to Tarawa within a couple months or so of your departure date, or when you need your passport elsewhere. Usually, it's best to inquire at the nearest consulate abroad. There's no requirement that you be a resident of the same country that the consulate is located in.

By plane

If through tickets are too expensive, get to Fiji anyway you can and go from there. On the other hand, if you've got thousands to spend and extra time, see how a Round the world fare on Oneworld or Star Alliance compares with the fare to Tarawa, and include this on your itinerary.

Air Pacific [3] has two weekly non-stop flights (3 hrs) from Nadi, Fiji with connections from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the United States including Honolulu (with codeshares on American Airlines, and possibly other ONEWORLD members). If using another airline to get to Fiji, be certain it lands in Nadi and not Suva (unless you're staying a while and can get to other side of the island).

Our Airline and Air Kiribati Services [4] (formerly Air Nauru) fly to Tarawa every Saturday from Brisbane (via Honiara in the Solomon Islands and Nauru).

Air Kiribati and then travels onto Nadi in Fiji (code sharing with Our Airline). The flight returns to Tarawa on Monday from Fiji, and then continues onto Brisbane via Nauru and Honiara.

This new service provides an improved access to Tarawa and other Pacific Nations. For bookings contact Our Airline (www.ourairline.com.au or airkiribati.com.au)

Get around

Domestic Flights and Airlines in Kiribati Air Kiribati has two turboprop aircraft for inter-island travel. Flights travel to all Outer Islands in the Gilbert group regularly.

A new domestic carrier has also been set up recently Coral Sun Airways. Coral Sun offers a scheduling alternative to Air Kiribati and can also be chartered for private use.

Reliability of internal flights in Kiribati is improving all the time and fares are relatively cheap. It is important to reconfirm your return flight on arrival at your destination. Each airline has different booking and confirmation conditions, you need to ensure you are familar with these to ensure a hassle free trip.

Talk

English is the offical language of Kiribati along with the native I-Kiribati. While english is used heavily in South Tarawa the further away from the capital you go the stronger the I-Kiribati tounge. Most people on Kiritimati Island have some English

Buy

South Tarawa ATM's are located in Betio, Bairiki and Bikenebeu. There is also one located at the hospital. There is also a foreign exchange office at the Airport. ANZ operators in Kiribati.

Most shops will only accept cash and credit cards are used little with the exception of the 2 hotels.

Outer Gilbert Islands Cash only is used on the Outer Islands and banking services are not available.

Kiritimati Island An ATM and bank are both available on Kiritimati Island. The branch is located in London.

Most shops and stores will only accept cash. Credit cards are not widely used.

Eat

The variety of food on Kiribati is extremely limited. If a shipment of imported food has just come in, buy it now, as it won't last long!

The staple diet of the I-Kiribati is fish and rice and this is reflected in many of the eating outlets on Tarawa. It is always worthwhile trying the local sashimi which is stright from the ocean to your plate.

Western style meals are best found at the two hotels Marys and the Otintaai.

There is also a variety of Chinese restaurants.

Sleep

The range of accommodation in Kiribati varies depending on which part of the country you are in.

South Tarawa The two main hotels are Marys Motel and the government owned Otintaai Hotel. Both offer motel style accommodation each with a restaurant and air-conditioning. They are located at different ends of South Tarawa and the decision on where to stay is usually made based on your activities while you are in South Tarawa.

There are also a variety of other smaller properties scattered throughout South Tarawa. A full listing including a map showing locations can be found on the Kiribati National Tourism Offices web site [5]

These hotels can get very busy throughout the year so it is advisable to book ahead.

North Tarawa A visit to North Tarawa is the easiest and most convenient way to experience village life in Kiribati. North Tarawa offers a number of guesthouses and traditional style accommodation.

Tabon te Keekee is the closest option, offering traditional Kiribati accommodation in an I-Kiribati family environment. Located at Abatao it is only 10-15 minutes north of the airport.

Biketawa Islet, run by the Otintaai Hotel, offers traditional kia kia accommodation. Run in a similar fashion to a retreat meals and sleeping equipment can be arranged, along with boat transfers.

A council guesthouse is located at Abaokoro.

Gilbert Island Group and Council Guesthouses The Outer Islands are the essence of Kiribati and not enough people make the time and effort to visit these remote islands. Each has a distinctive culture and story to tell of its history.

Each of the outer islands of the Gilbert Group have, at the least, a council guesthouse. Standards vary across the group however they are usual a mix of the local style houses known as Kia Kia’s and a open style guest rooms. Each guesthouse usually has a communal living area where meals are served and the cost is approximately $30 AUD per night including 3 meals a day.

The facilities available vary from island to island, however they are located in isolated communities and expectations should be altered accordingly. Electricity will usually be supplied in the evening and throughout the night. Food will mainly be based on the local fare and it is recommended that you take anything additional you may need. It is also recommended that fresh drinking water is taken. Most guesthouses are perfectly located on the beach or causeway and a lovely spot to stay easy for swimming and exploring.

These guesthouses are run by the Island Councils and it is one of the very few ways the council earn revenue. Each council will normally have a truck and driver that you will be able to hire to help you discover the island. Alternatively many of the locals will be keen to hire out the motorcycles and scooters to you.

For more information on the Outer Islands – get a copy of the fact sheets from [6]

Kiritimati Island This world renowned bone fishing destination has a variety of fishing lodges, guesthouses, and motels to choose from. Accommodation is usually booked in 7 night packages and each lodge will have the services of a fishing guide to assist you in your expeditions. For a full list of accommodation options visit www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki.

The lodges are geared around fishermen and schedule meals and activities around your fishing day. Meals are usually included in the price.

For a full list of accommodation options visit [7]

Work

With very high unemployment, it is unlikely that foreigners will be allowed any work unless they have needed skills not otherwise available. Aid agencies are active in Kiribati and undertake a range of volunteer and contracting programs.

Stay safe

Kiribati is generally a safe place to travel. However, it may be risky to be outside after dark in Beito or along the beach in South Tarawa, especially for single females. However, virtually all problems are caused by drunk males, not career criminals.

Normal common sense applies when moving around.

Some care should be taken on the roads as the traffic can include pigs, children, dogs and buses all fighting for road space.

Stay healthy

Don't drink the water without boiling or filtering. Chemical treatment is not recommended as it may not prevent giardiasis . The lagoon (especially around Beito) is heavily contaminated, and may make the entire island segment smell bad at times. Always ask first before going out in the water at each location on South Tarawa -- no matter how inviting it looks. This is a good idea on other islands too. Get a hepatitis A shot, and be up-to-date on all your other vaccinations, preferably several weeks beforehand. Mosquitos can be very bad at times, so use repellent. Be sure to bring your own insect repellent and sunscreen, as these are not available locally. Don't expect any needed medications to be available either. (Some are, but you never know what is or when.)

There's no malaria, but dengue fever outbreaks (mosquito transmitted) do sometimes occur. The fish caught locally may give you food poisoning (ciguatera ), so be extra careful. Ciguatera is not preventable by cooking or freezing the fish. Promptly treat even the smallest cut, sore, or insect bite, as these can become infected very easily.

Medical evacuation insurance is highly recommended for Kiribati. Many outer islands have no airstrip, making any sort of evacuation long and difficult.

Contact

Contact the Kiribati National Tourism Office in the following ways:-

Website: www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki E-Mail: info@kiribatitourism.gov.ki

Facebook: Kiribati Tourism

Phone: (+686) 25573 and ask for the Tourism Office. (Please note that English is not the first language for most of the staff in the office).

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