Astola Island Pakistan is located approximately 25 km off the coast of Balochistan province and is Pakistan’s largest offshore island with an area of 6.7 km. The island is ecologically important because its beaches provide nesting sites for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles while supporting a large number of migratory birds.
Astola, also known as Jezira Haft Talar Satadip or ‘Island of Seven Hills’, is the largest uninhabited island in Pakistan. It has sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and small rocky mountains that stretch across the 6.7 km2 island. Its beaches provide nesting grounds for both birds and green sea turtles.
The island’s endemic is the saw viper Astola. While treeless, due to the absence of a freshwater source, the island’s vegetation consists of scrub and large shrubs. The island’s marine ecology supports a variety of coral species, creating a breeding ground for a wide variety of marine species.
Location of Astola Island Pakistan
Astola, located in the Arabian Sea, east of Pasni District in Balochistan, Pakistan, is known for its rich marine biodiversity. The island, including its 401.47 km2 buffer zone, was declared Pakistan’s first marine protected area on 15 June 2017.
Marine Life in Astola Island
In addition, the waters of Astola are home to about 22 species of coral, dolphins, whales, and several species of fish. Even the endangered Arabian humpback—a rare marine mammal found only in the Arabian Sea—was rarely seen in the area around the island.
Human activity is limited in the area and few people regularly enter the island. However, fishermen from Sindh and Balochistan use the island as a temporary base when they anchor their boats during the August to May fishing season. They usually stay on their ships for a week to ten days.
Some come to Astola for up to a month. They live on the coast of the island, where they have built several wooden huts. For hunting, fishermen mainly use fishing rods, circular nets, ordinary nets, and spear weapons, they mainly catch fish, crabs, and lobsters.
Astola Island Kali Temple
Astola Island is a small, uninhabited island located in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Pakistan. The island is known for its natural beauty and unique ecosystem, but it also has some historical and religious significance.
There is a small mosque on Astola Island dedicated to the Muslim saint Pir Khawaja Khizr. This mosque is used by mainland fishermen during the fishing season, and it serves as a place of worship for them.
Additionally, there are ruins of an ancient Hindu temple on the island dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. These ruins are remnants of the island’s historical past when it was inhabited and used for religious purposes. While the temple is now in a state of disrepair, it serves as a historical testament to the island’s diverse religious history.
Astola Island’s religious significance and historical sites make it a unique destination for those interested in the cultural and religious heritage of the region.
Astola Island Famous For?
Astola Island is famous for several reasons:
- Natural Beauty: Astola Island is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. It features rugged cliffs, caves, and unique rock formations, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
- Unique Ecosystem: The island is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including a variety of seabirds and marine life. It is a significant nesting site for various bird species, such as the brown booby and the endangered hawksbill turtle.
- Diving and Snorkeling: Astola Island is a popular destination for divers and snorkelers due to its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. The surrounding waters are teeming with coral reefs and colorful fish, making it an attractive spot for underwater exploration.
- Historical and Religious Significance: As mentioned earlier, the island has historical and religious significance, with the presence of a small mosque and ruins of an ancient Hindu temple. These sites add to the island’s cultural and historical appeal.
- Conservation Efforts: Astola Island is part of Pakistan’s protected area and has been designated as a marine protected area. Efforts are being made to preserve and conserve the island’s unique ecosystem and biodiversity.
- Remote and Uninhabited: The island’s isolation and lack of permanent human habitation make it a remote and pristine destination for those seeking a quiet and unspoiled natural environment.
How to go to Astola Island From Karachi
To reach Astola Island, boats can be hired from the nearest town of Pasni. It will take around 4 to 5 hours to reach Astola Island from Pasni depending upon the condition and status of sea and boat speed as well.
Astola Island is fully barren with a huge presence of coral reefs around the island.
Things to do in Astola Island
Astola Island is a remote and uninhabited island, and while it offers unique natural beauty and ecological diversity, there are limited activities for visitors. Here are some things you can do on Astola Island:
- Nature Exploration: You can explore the island’s rugged terrain, cliffs, and caves. The island’s unique rock formations and scenic landscapes provide opportunities for hiking and photography.
- Bird Watching: Astola Island is a significant nesting site for various seabird species, making it an ideal location for bird watching. You can observe birds like the brown booby and other avian species.
- Snorkeling and Diving: The clear waters surrounding the island are suitable for snorkeling and diving. You can explore the vibrant coral reefs and the marine life that thrives in these waters.
- Photography: The island’s natural beauty and unique rock formations make it a great place for photography. The landscapes and seascapes provide excellent subjects for capturing stunning images.
- Relaxation: If you’re looking for a peaceful and remote getaway, Astola Island offers a serene environment where you can relax, meditate, or simply enjoy the solitude.
- Camping: While camping on the island is possible, it’s essential to make the necessary preparations, including carrying your own camping equipment and supplies, as there are no facilities on the island.
It’s important to note that Astola Island is uninhabited and lacks tourist infrastructure, so visitors should be well-prepared, self-sufficient, and respectful of the island’s natural environment. Conservation efforts are in place to protect the island’s ecosystem, so responsible tourism practices are crucial when visiting this remote destination. Additionally, it’s advisable to coordinate your visit with relevant authorities and local experts who can provide guidance and information about regulations and safety measures.
Tourism is Astola Island Balochistan
Astola is a favorite destination for travelers as it is suitable for camping and eco-tourism. Tourists usually set up camps at the beach and like snorkeling, deep-sea diving and even catching fish underwater.
As Astola Island is getting more & more recognition, the amount of visitors is increasing day by day. We hope that this will not destroy the natural beauty of the Island.