Kiribati (formerly called Gilbert Islands) is an island nation in the Pacific. The country's territory is situated on the equator and the international date line.
Geography. Kribatis territory includes a number of islands in Micronesia and Polynesia. The islands are scattered over an area of 5180 sq km. Kribati consists of more than 30 major islands: 16 islands of the former Gilbert Islands, 8 Phoenix Islands and 8 of the 11 Line Islands, the island of Banaba (Ocean Island), a volcanic island, which consists of rocks formed by fossilised bird droppings. Most of the islands, which are covered with coconut palms and not all populated, are not more than 4m in altitude. The only exception being Banaba, which rises to 80 m above the sea.
Weather. The islands enjoy an equatorial tropical maritime climate with rainfall from November to February and cooling pleasant trade winds between March and October.
Travel. From Europe, Qantas operates flights via Sydney and Nauru to Tarawa and Christmas Island. Tthe South Pacific Pass is valid on the Qantas and Air Nauru network.
Capital. The capital Bairiki (also South Tarawa) is on the main atoll Tarawa, where the majority of the population resides (about 50,000 inhabitants).
Activities. Snorkelling and diving are popular activities on the islands, as well as bird watching (especially on Christmas Island), sightseeing flights and lagoon tours. Of particular interest is the culture of the indigenous population, which has preserved many of its ancient traditions to this day due to the remoteness of the islands. The villages consist mainly of traditional huts and meeting houses (Maneaba), covered with palm leaves.
Main islands and atolls. Kiritimati (Christmas Island) Tabuaeran (Fanning Island), Teraina (Washington Island), Banaba (Ocean Island), Tarawa, Abariringa (Canton Island).