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Rennell Island map

Rennell Map

Rennell and Bellona islands, 200 kilometers south of Guadalcanal, are the westernmost islands in the South Pacific inhabited by Polynesians. Measuring 86 by 15 kilometers, Rennell Island is one of the largest elevated atolls in the world. Towering 100-meter-high cliffs surround this 660-square-kilometer island and 80 percent of the land is forested.

Lake Tenggano in southeastern Rennell measures 155 square kilometers, the largest lake in the South Pacific. This saline lake lies at sea level and is Rennell's former lagoon. It's surrounded by high cliffs and 200 small islands are near its shores. Those at the east end of the lake are crowded with seabirds, in fact Rennell has 50 endemic bird species. A rare (and docile) sea snake inhabits the lake.

The only international airport in the Solomon Islands is just east of Honiara, so current tourism focuses on Guadalcanal. This is unfortunate as Honiara is a dusty, crowded city with few attractions for the average tourist. Resort areas like the Morovo Lagoon, Munda, and Gizo in Western Province have far more to offer visitors, yet one must transit Honiara to get there and the domestic services of Solomon Airlines leave a lot to be desired.

These unique natural features have put Rennell on UNESCO's World Heritage List, one of only three South Pacific islands to be so honored. (Easter Island and Henderson Island are the other two.)

Supporting tourism is one of the few ways the 2,500 Rennellese have of making money, although the number of visitors is extremely low due to transportation problems. Solomon Airlines flies from Honiara toTingoa airstrip on Rennell twice a week, but the flights are usually fully booked two weeks in advance with long waiting lists.

From Tingoa it's a three-hour ride by Toyota pickup truck to Tebaitahe on Lake Tenggano. By tractor and trailer it's six hours. The supply ship from Honiara anchors in Kangava Bay below Lavangu, but it only arrives every month or two

There are several small guest houses on the lake but advance bookings are essential, otherwise they might not have any food to feed you. Rennell is free of malaria but the mosquitoes bite all night long so take lots of insect repellent

Welkam


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