Gritters out on selected routes as temperatures fall below 0C

first_imgUpdated: 7.30pmDonegal County Council has announced that its gritters are to be out on a selected number of routes tonight and tomorrow morning.Main roads in the Inishowen and Milford area will be gritted from 9pm tonight (Tuesday) and from 6am on Wednesday morning. Temperatures are set to drop below freezing in parts of the county, as Met Eireann warns of the possibility of a ‘slight ground frost’ overnight. Conditions will be misty, with a light wind, before cloudy conditions will move in to Donegal towards morning bringing outbreaks of rain.Top temperatures will be 2C and 0C in the north west tonight.Donegal County Council gritters will be out on the following routes from 9PM on Tue. 05/11:04: Inishowen South05: Inishowen East06: Inishowen West07: Milford South08: Milford NorthBT: Buncrana Town Council Priority 1On Wednesday morning, the following routes will be gritted from 6am: 01: National Primary North04: Inishowen South05: Inishowen East06: Inishowen West07: Milford South08: Milford North12: BinswillyBT: Buncrana Town Council Priority 1Gritters out on selected routes as temperatures fall below 0C was last modified: November 5th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New video game developed in Africa

first_imgA new video game, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan has been developed in Africa. The work of a studio in Cameroon, Kiro’o Games, it explores African tales in a phantasmal setting. The main character, King Enzo Kori-Odan, uses collective energy, channelled through ancestors, called aurion. The game, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, is rooted in African mythology and lore. (Image: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan)• African folklore explored in animated short film• Kenya’s take on Adele’s “Hello”• African history gets animation treatment• Infographic: Africa’s best brands • Former child soldier turns his story into a graphic novel Priya PitamberOn the day of their coronation, King Enzo and Queen Erine Kori-Odan need to defend their realm of Zama from a coup d’etat. This is the premise of a role-playing game (RPG) made in Africa, a first for the continent.Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is described as a game that is “partly inspired by the old school ‘tales of’ series, (and that) focuses on 2D real-time combat sequences while the narration and its environment both draw deeply from African culture, myth and lore”.Gamers take the role of King Enzo, who makes use of a collective energy called aurion. It’s channelled through ancestors and can unlock powerful fighting abilities to help him to defeat his enemies.The game was developed by Kiro’o Games’ founder, Oliver Madiba, in Cameroon. “In Aurion, with the story scenario, there’s a symbolic analogy between the trials of Enzo and Erine and the common history of Africa and our place in the stakes of the world,” he told gaming blog, Kotaku.He said they used traditional clothes from various countries in the game: Enzo’s battle gear is a Masai tunic while non-player characters (NPC) were inspired by the Touareg in Mali, the Yoruba in Nigeria, and the Peulh in Cameroon and Chad.The main setting is a fantastical imagining of Africa if it were not colonised; there is a lot of magic but no electricity and there has been no Industrial Revolution.Playing the game, users are able to:Confront enemies directly, using Enzo’s fighting skills in battle;Build a legacy, swap or combine aurions; and,Discover a spiritual quest on a journey across a world of African fantasy.See more:Character profilesKing Enzo of Zama:Age: 19Height: 1.90 metresWeight: 90 kilogramsGear: Armour “Ulinzi”, the spear “Urithy”, and the one-handed short sword “Ujasiri”Queen Erine of Zama:Age: 19Height: 1.74 metresWeight: 68 kilogramsGear: Armour “Moyoni Ukuta”, synchronised with Enzo’s “Ulinzi” “There’s a symbolic analogy between the trials of Enzo and Erine and the common history of Africa and our place in the stakes of the world,” says developer Oliver Madiba. (Image: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan)ReactionAlready, fans are praising the game on social media.last_img read more

South Africa’s national parks

first_imgSouth Africa has a vast system of natural reserves established to protect the country’s indigenous plants, animals, landscapes and associated cultural heritage, ranging from the vast flagship Kruger National Park – occupying an area larger than Swaziland – to the tiny Bontebok National Park in the Western Cape.A giraffe silhouetted by the sunset in the Kruger National Park, which straddles the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Click image photo for a larger view. (Image: South African Tourism)These are managed by South Africa National Parks, established by the government in 1926 and one of the world’s leading conservation and scientific research bodies.Sections in this article:IntroductionAddo Elephant National ParkAgulhas National ParkAugrabies National ParkBontebok National ParkCamdeboo National ParkGolden Gate National ParkKaroo National ParkKgalagadi Transfrontier ParkKnysna National Lake AreaKruger National Park Mapungubwe National ParkMarakele National ParkMokala National ParkMountain Zebra National ParkNamaqua National ParkTable Mountain National ParkTankwa Karoo National ParkTsitsikamma National ParkWest Coast National ParkWilderness National Park|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National ParkRelated articlesUseful linksIntroductionQuiver trees in the Namaqualand.(Image: Graeme Williams, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)National parks offer visitors an unparalleled diversity of adventure tourism opportunities including game viewing, bush walks, canoeing and exposure to cultural and historical experiences.Fifteen of South Africa’s 21 national parks offer park or camp-run accommodation. Most parks and rest-camps have retail facilities and restaurants. Across the parks, there are a total of 6 000 beds and 1 000 camping and caravan sites, which can accommodate almost 12 000 overnight guests.There are various park clusters:the Kruger Parkthe arid clusterthe Cape clusterthe frontier clusterthe Garden Route clusterthe northern clusterThe Kruger National Park is characterised by combinations of savannah, thornveld and woodland eco-zones.The arid cluster is characterised by arid climate, sparse vegetation and sandy soils, and consists of parks in the Northern Cape – Augrabies Falls, Namaqua, Kgalagadi Transfrontier, Mokala and |Ai-|Ais / Richtersveld. In 2007, Unesco proclaimed the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape to be a World Heritage Site.Cape cluster parks – those within the south-western reaches of the Western Cape – are home to the endemic Cape Floral Region, also a World Heritage Site. They also feature mountainous, coastal, riverine or estuarine habitats. They are the Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, Agulhas and West Coast national parks.The frontier cluster is located in the frontier regions of the Eastern Cape and includes a variety of habitats across the parks, ranging from Nama-Karoo, grassland, montane, forest, valley thicket, fynbos and coastline. Addo, Karoo, Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks fall in this cluster.The Garden Route cluster lies in the picturesque Garden Route on South Africa’s southern coast, and features a range of habitats including rocky shorelines, temperate forests, lakes, rivers, estuaries and fynbos. Tsitsikamma and Wilderness fall into this cluster, as well as the Knysna Marine Protected Area.The northern cluster features savannah, thornveld or grasslands, located in the northern provinces of South Africa. Mountains are a feature of some. Golden Gate, Mapungubwe and Marakele fall into this cluster. Mapungubwe is also the location of another Unesco World Heritage Site. There’s more to Addo Elephant National Park than just elephants. Both a marine and bushveld park, it includes Bird Island, the seasonal home of uncountable breeding gannets.(Image: South African Tourism) Addo Elephant National ParkDeep within the shadows of the dense bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape lies the Addo Elephant National Park. Originally proclaimed in 1931 with only 11 elephants, today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 of the animals – the densest elephant population on earth. Other wildlife includes the Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.A unique combination of the Big Seven – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, whales and great white sharks – makes the park a major attraction, as does its rich heritage of archaeological and historical sites. The park also contains five of South Africa’s seven major vegetation zones.Future plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000ha marine reserve to include islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins. This reserve also incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere.Plans are being implemented to expand the 164 000-hectare Addo into a 360 000-hectare mega-park.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 1 642.3 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape A shipwreck in Agulhas National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Agulhas National ParkCape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of Africa, at 34° 49′ 58″ south and 20° 00′ 12” east, a point marked with a cairn. Found in the Western Cape, the park captures the adventure of sailing around the tip of the continent, crossing from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.The Agulhas area contains representatives of unique vegetation such as limestone fynbos. Although most species bloom between May and September, there are flowers to be enjoyed in any season.Among the mysteries associated with this region is the legendary Cape of Storms, which wrecked many ships en route to the east via Cape Agulhas. Shipwrecks dot the coastline – of the Zoetendal, Birkenhead and Armiston – with key artefacts from the vessels on display at the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum.Ancient people also left their mark on the landscape. Archaeological middens indicate a successful hunter-gathering culture in harmony with its natural environment, and a cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years to when the Khoi-Khoi people trapped fish using ingeniously constructed tidal traps.The remains of ancient stone fish traps can be seen to the east of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse, the second-oldest working lighthouse in southern Africa, which houses a unique lighthouse museum.Year proclaimed: 1999Current size: 56.9 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The 56-metre-high Augrabies Falls. (Image: Graeme Williams, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)Augrabies Falls National ParkFew sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56m Augrabies waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood.The Khoi people called it “Aukoerebis”, or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings characterised by the 18km abyss of the Orange River gorge in the far Northern Cape.Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region.Klipspringer and kokerboom (quiver trees) stand in stark silhouette against the African sky, silent sentinels in a strangely unique environment where only those that are able to adapt ultimately survive.The 55 383ha on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River provide sanctuary to a diversity of species, from the smallest succulents, birds and reptiles to springbok, gemsbok and giraffe.The black stork and pygmy falcon are among the special birds in the park.Year proclaimed: 1966Current size: 416.7 square kilometresProvince: Northern CapeBontebok National ParkBontebok National Park in the Western Cape is a place of beauty and peaceful charm, set against the majestic Langeberg Mountains. A part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, the park always offers something in bloom.The park boasts proud achievements in biodiversity conservation, from the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal renosterveld, to the namesake bontebok. Once these colourful antelope numbered a mere 17, now the population sits at around 3 000. The park also offers bird watchers over 200 bird species.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 27.9 square kilometresProvince: Western CapeCamdeboo National ParkFormed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Camdeboo National Park provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem, not to mention awesome scenic beauty.A unique feature of the 14 500ha park is its location, practically surrounding the historic town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.Most of the park lies up against the foothills of the Sneeuberg range, with the Nqweba Dam within the park. At some places, dolerites form jointed pillars – the best examples of which are found in the Valley of Desolation where erosion of the softer sedimentary beds has left dolerite pillars which rise to heights of 90m to 120m.Year proclaimed: 2005Current size: 194 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape The Sentinel rock formation is a landmark in the Golden Gate National Park, with its glowing sandstone clearly showing how the park got its name.(Image: South African Tourism)Golden Gate Highlands National ParkNestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs.This 11 600ha of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell’s zebra – and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.Year proclaimed: 1963Current size: 116.3 square kilometresProvince: Free StateKaroo National ParkThe Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in harsh conditions.The Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, with a wide variety of wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges, such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra. Over 20 breeding pairs of black eagle find sanctuary within the park. There is also a wide diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles.The park has five species of tortoise, the highest density of species per equivalent area anywhere in the world. The Cape mountain zebra is well established in the park and visitors have the opportunity to compare its bold stripe pattern to that of the extinct quagga.The springbok – the emblem of the park and present in high numbers – is a reminder of the once massive herds that crossed the Karoo on annual migration, leaving a trail of devastation.The Klipspringer Mountain Pass not only provides visitors with spectacular views, but is also an example of civil engineering toil and precision.Year proclaimed: 1979Current size: 831.3 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape Gemsbok play at a waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Kgalagadi Transfrontier ParkThe Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in the far Northern Cape was proclaimed in 1931 to protect migrating game, especially the gemsbok. Together with the adjacent Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, this park comprises an area of over 3.6-million hectares, consisting of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, imposing camel thorn trees and dry riverbeds.It is nearly twice the size of the Kruger National Park, and the first Transfrontier Park to be established in Africa.Kgalagadi is the first park to provide accommodation in three wilderness camps that, with no fences, invite the Kalahari and the tranquillity of Africa right into your room. The name “‘Kgalagadi” is derived from the San language and means “place of thirst”.Wildlife to look for in particular includes gemsbok, black-maned Kalahari lions and birds of prey.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 9 591 square kilometres (South African section)Province: Northern Cape The Knysna lagoon.(Image: South African Tourism)Knysna National Lake Area Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route, in the Cape. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches.The exceptionally beautiful Knysna National Lake Area is home to the endangered Knysna seahorse and a large diversity of marine life. Sandbanks and salt marshes teem with life and in turn provide food to an immeasurable number of organisms.Dominated by the craggy bastions of the twin Knysna Heads, the lagoon has borne witness to centuries of trade in timber, ivory and gold.As a result of a relaxed lifestyle, Knysna has over the years, attracted a wide variety of art and crafters, creating an artists’ paradise. One of the last single gauge operational steam trains in the world travels between Knysna and George, called the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe.A speciality of the area is oysters. They are cultivated in the Knysna Lagoon and served in most of the local restaurants. The Knysna Oyster Company, established in 1949, is situated on Thesen Islands and offers daily educational tours, accompanied by fine cuisine.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 150 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The sun sets behind an acacia tree in the Kruger National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Kruger National ParkThe world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.Man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela – is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets.The park has 13 rest camps, 11 bushveld camps, and 11 lodges.Year proclaimed: 1898 (officially proclaimed in 1926)Current size: 19 623.6 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Israel)Provinces: Mpumalanga and Limpopo One of the famous gold rhinos found in the ancient city of Mapungubwe.(Image: University of Pretoria)Mapungubwe National ParkMapungubwe National Park in Limpopo is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe. From a hilltop on the northern edge of the park the visitor can view the confluence of the legendary Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, as well as two neighbouring countries: Botswana and Zimbabwe.The park is the site where a developed African civilisation prospered between 1000 and 1290 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands and unique riverine forest and baobab trees add to the experience. Impressive Khoi/San rock art shelters have also been uncovered.Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur naturally in the area. Predators include lions, leopards and hyenas. Birds to tick off the list include the kori bustard, tropical boubou and Pel’s fishing owl.Year proclaimed: 1989Current size: 53.6 square kilometresProvince: LimpopoMarakele National Park The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains in Limpopo, as its Tswana name suggests, has become a “place of sanctuary” for an impressive variety of wildlife due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterise the park.Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five-metre high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here. All the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats as well as an amazing variety of birds including what’s probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here.A narrow tar road takes visitors up to the top of the Waterberg massif, where the views and scenery are spectacular. From this height vultures soar past at close quarters.Antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe can be found in the park.Year proclaimed: 1993Current size: 507.3 square kilometresProvince: LimpopoMokala National ParkMokala is one of the country’s newest parks, situated in the far eastern corner of the Northern Cape. It comprises 19 611 hectares of Kalahari thornveld, savannah and Nama Karoo terrain interspersed with rocky outcrops, and with a wetland area that stretches for 18 kilometres.Mokala is a Setswana name for a Camel Thorn, an incredible resource to wildlife who survive in often harsh conditions characteristic of this area. Many animals have been relocated to the park and include black and white rhino, tsessebe, roan antelope, red hartebeest, buffalo, gemsbok and black wildebeest.Year proclaimed: 2007Current size: 196.1 square kilometresProvince: Northern Cape Zebras in the Mountain Zebra National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Mountain Zebra National ParkThe Mountain Zebra National Park, near Cradock in the Eastern Cape, is a conservation success story, saving the Mountain Zebra species from extinction. In 1937 when the park opened it had only six zebra on 1 712ha of land. These zebra didn’t survive but donations by local farmers ensured the species and the park continued. Today it boasts 370 zebra roaming in 28 412ha, kept company by black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and Cape buffalo.In the craggy heights of the park lurk grey rhebok. Caracal and cheetah are the predators of the park. Birds to look out for are the blue crane and Stanley’s bustard.Year proclaimed: 1937Current size: 284.1 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape The springtime explosion of flowers carpets Namaqualand every year, drawing thousands of visitors to the region.(Image: South African Tourism)Namaqua National ParkYou’ll know when you’re in the Namaqua National Park – a tapestry of brilliant colours unfolds enticingly along the winding roads in August and September. Butterflies, birds and long-tongued flies dart around among the flowers, seemingly overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity.With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth. Fields of flowers, star-studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are just some of the sights to catch.The Namaqua National Park is on the western edge of the Northern Cape, in the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot, and is home to the world’s smallest tortoise, the Namaqua speckled padloper.Province: Northern Cape Table Mountain National Park is a global biodiversity hotspot, containing more plant species than the whole of the British Isles.(Image: South African Tourism)Table Mountain National ParkThe Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula. It is one of the country’s natural World Heritage Sites.The narrow finger of land with its beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay and has within its boundaries two world-renowned landmarks – majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope.The park is recognised globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique fauna and flora – with rugged cliffs, steep slopes and sandy flats. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.Year proclaimed: 1998Current size: 243.1 square kilometresProvince: Western CapeTankwa Karoo National ParkThe 80 000 hectare Tankwa Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1986, protects one of the most starkly beautiful tracts of the Tankwa Karoo and is worth visiting for its koppie-studded, moon-like landscape, diversity of succulent plants, fine Karoo birding, in particular the enigmatic Burchell’s courser. A dense population of black eagle breeding pairs is also found in the park.Situated on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape, between the Roggeveld Escarpment in the east, Cedarberg in the west, and Klein Roggeveldberge in the south, the park erupts into a dazzling display of flowering succulents after a shower.Only two southern African regions have been designated as Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International. One is the Cape Floral Kingdom, and the other the Succulent Karoo, of which Tankwa is part.There is no tourism infrastructure in the park, although there are a couple of privately operated B&Bs on the periphery of the park. There are three very historical houses offering only a roof to stay under and drinking water close by. Entrance to the park is at the discretion of park management.Year proclaimed: 1986Current size: 439 square kilometresProvince: Northern Cape The dense indigenous forest of the Tsitsikamma National Park. (Image: Rodger Bosch, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)Tsitsikamma National ParkThe Tsitsikamma National Park, “the place of much water”, consists of forest, fynbos, rivers and a five-kilometre stretch into the sea, on the eastern border of the Western Cape.It protects inter-tidal life, reef and deep-sea animal life, which include dolphins, porpoises and the African black oystercatcher, a red data species of bird. The Cape clawless otter resides along the park’s coastline and rivers.The Knysna loerie and the miniature blue duiker can be seen in the forest.Year proclaimed: 1964Current size: 639.4 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The azure waters of Langebaan lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)West Coast National ParkJust inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape are the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders, including the cape gannet, the jackass (African) penguin, flamingos, and the black harrier, from the northern hemisphere.During the spring the strandveld is filled with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section many antelope are to be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 362.7 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape Early morning in Wilderness National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Wilderness National ParkIn the heart of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a captivating world of lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches unfolds against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains – all elements that characterise the Wilderness National Park.Wilderness National Park stretches from the Touw River mouth to the Swartvlei estuary and beyond, where it links with the Goukamma Nature Reserve.Nature trails wind through densely wooded forest and along tranquil rivers, affording you the opportunity to encounter the brilliantly coloured Knysna loerie, or one of the five kingfisher species that occur here. During spring, a carpet of flowers further enhances the verdant beauty of this national park.Whales and dolphins can be spotted from Dolphin Point. Or, look out for the Knysna seahorse, the pansy shell, the pied kingfisher, the grey heron and the little egret.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 1 060 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The beautiful, ragged and remote mountains of the Richtersveld.(Image: South African Tourism)|Ai-|Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier National ParkA desolate and forbidding landscape belies the fact that the Richtersveld has the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River give way to the vast mountain desert that is the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African National Parks.A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and the tall “half-mens” plant keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.Animals to look out for are the rock hyrax, jackal buzzard and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.The park is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles or vehicles with high clearances.Province: Northern Capelast_img read more

Equal number of South African men, women use Facebook

first_img4 November 2014A social media study has revealed that an equal number of men and women in South Africa use Facebook, with 5.6-million men and 5.6-million women logging onto the social network.The SA Social Media Landscape 2015 report which was released on Monday, 3 November, showed Facebook remained the most popular social network in South Africa, followed by YouTube and Twitter.The report was compiled by technology market research organisation World Wide Worx and analytics company Fuseware. The study excludes instant messaging services.The findings of the study reveal the extent to which social media has become mainstream, according to World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck. He said the level of equality is a clear sign of both the maturity of the platform and its mainstream use as an everyday tool rather than as a high-tech choice.Goldstuck said 8.8-million South Africans accessed Facebook on their cellphones. “This means that targeting Facebook users is not a matter only of marketing on the Facebook website — its mobile properties are probably more important.’The biggest phone operating system used in South Africa for Facebook was Android, which grew from 1.26-million users in 2013 to 3.2-million in 2014. BlackBerry fell from the top position to second with a drop from 2.6-million to 2.4- million.Apple’s iOS remained in third place with a relatively stable number of 580 000 users, while the Windows Phone emerged from below the radar with 124 000 to 260 000.“More important than the operating system numbers, however, is the split between feature phones and smartphones,” Goldstuck said, adding that 5-million Facebook users still use feature phones.“While smartphones only just dominate, at 5.6-million, it is clear that a large Facebook user-base is still on a basic device,” he said.Feature phones are low-end and have more limited features than high-tech smartphones.The most commonly used handset for Facebook was the Nokia Asha, with 1.78- million users. In second place was the Blackberry Curve 8520 at 660 000 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 at 400 000.“This statistic is also significant, bearing in mind the S4 is a premium device, underlining its social appeal in South Africa,” said Goldstuck.The Facebook user-base was beginning to resemble South Africa’s urban population, according to Fuseware MD Mike Wronski.“The highest growth in the user-base is seen in three key economic hubs, namely Johannesburg (55%), Pretoria (49%) and Cape Town (44%),” he said, adding that quite interestingly, Nelspruit continues to show high growth at 40%.Wronski said South Africa bucked the global trend of younger users reportedly falling dramatically as a proportion of the user base. “There is much debate about teenagers abandoning the platform, but it’s not yet a factor in South Africa. The 13- 18 age group remains the single biggest on Facebook with 2.5-million users,” he said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more