Kiribati Geography

Kiribati Geography and Climate

In the central Pacific Ocean, there is the island state of Kiribati, which consists of three different archipelagos. An exciting detail about this country is that it is located on both sides of the equator and also borders the international date line to the east. The main archipelago is called the Gilbert Islands and it is from the name Gilbert that Kiribati comes through the local pronunciation of the word.

Geography and climate

According to bridgat, Kiribati has a tropical climate that is particularly pleasant between April and October. The temperatures are stable and are around 30 ° C during these months. Between November and March it is rainy season and then the islands are also affected by strong storms and hurricanes. All in all, there are 32 different atolls and a detached island called Banaba which lies between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands. Banaba, also known as Ocean Island, is a coral island that was once a source of phosphates that were then consumed. Most of Kiribati’s land masses consist of sand and reef and coral islands that are only about two meters above sea level.

The archipelagos are:

Gilbert Islands – These are 16 atolls located about 1500 km north of Fiji.

Line Islands – These are 8 atolls and coral islands located about 1,800 km southeast of the Gilbert Islands. Here is Kiritimati, also known as Christmas Island, which is one of the world’s largest atolls. In accordance with the adjustment of the international dating line made in 1995, the Line Islands are the first area on earth to enter a new year. It is because of this that the Caroline Islands (located in this archipelago) have been given the new name Millennium Islands.

Line Islands – These are 8 atolls and a reef located about 3,300 km east of the Gilbert Islands.

The soil is thin and rich in lime and it is not very suitable for agriculture as it can not hold much water and mostly consists of substances such as calcium, sodium and magnesium. Banaba is considered one of the worst agricultural places in the world.

Two small uninhabited Kiribati groups sank in 1999 and this is due to rising sea levels. If the sea level continues to rise, this will lead to larger parts of the islands being covered with water and also to saltwater penetration which can make access to fresh water limited. Now, however, it is not a matter of course that Kiribati will drown in the sea and there are slightly different opinions on what can be expected in terms of sea levels.

There are some environmental problems in Kiribati which is due to the fact that several of the lagoons are used as landfills.


Today, an important part of Kiribati’s economy is copran, fishing and the cultivation of coconuts. You import food, machines, fuel and more. Tourism is also important, but Kiribati must receive aid to survive. Since 2009, the country has two domestic airlines, both based at Bonriki International Airport. From this airport you can get on to other Gilbert Islands.

Kiribati Geography