Mauritius is some 2,000 km (1,242 miles) off the southeast coast of the African continent, between latitudes 19°58.8' and 20°31.7' south and longitudes 57°18.0' and 57°46.5' east. It is 65 km long and 45 km wide. Its land area is 1,864.8 km2. The island is surrounded by more than 150 km (93 miles) of white sandy beaches and the lagoons are protected from the open sea by the world's third largest coral reef, which surrounds the island. Just off the Mauritian coast lie some 49 uninhabited islands and islets, some of them are used as natural reserves for the protection of endangered species.