Monday, February 2, 2015

The Baia dos Tigres: Angola's "Ghost' Island

The Baia dos Tigres (Tigers Bay) is a small isolated and unpopulated island in the southwestern region of Angola with a land mass of 98  square kms.  As the largest and only sandy island off the coast of the 2000 km-long Namib Desert, it remains the least known coastal wetland along desert coast rich in shorebirds. 

The Island was once a thriving commercial fishing community in the Portuguese colonial era,  connected to the mainland by a small sand causeway.  The inhabitants abandoned the Island in 1974 to escape the strong wind, lack of drinking water and the transportation difficulties to the mainland.  Filled with hundreds of abandoned Portuguese-style buildings and properties, the structures are now being enveloped by the continual blowing sand.

Though the waters surrounding the island are very rich in fish stocks, the location is renown for its birdlife.  Two surveys of the Island region in 1999 and 2001 indicated a rich wetland bird diversity consisting of 25 species and a bird density of 33 birds per square kilometer. 

The Island is only visited now by adventure-seeking tourist groups. (AngoWebs - Angola)