South Africa is the world’s favored destination in the matters of game reserves. While scenic beauty and cultural ethos of the place makes it a favored destination among the world travelers, it is often the exotic game reserves that make one choose it as their choice of destination over other parts of the world. South Africa is also the most favored location for wildlife photographers and wildlife enthusiasts as they get to observe the wild animals in their natural environment.
72 km outside of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, the Addo Elephant National Park represents one of South Africa’s major conservation success stories. In the early days of European settlement, elephants were hunted for the bounty of their ivory. By 1920, the entire elephant population of the region had dwindled to only 11 remaining elephant survivors. Addo Elephant National Park was proclaimed an elephant sanctuary in 1931 and since then the elephant population of the Eastern Cape has grown to over 450. Here the majestic grey giants of the bush are safe from persecution, and roam the 164 000ha Park in peace.
The word ‘safari’ transports one back to Colonial times, when British explorers would undertake expeditions into the ‘dark continent’ to observe wildlife and experience the flavours of African culture.
Today, going on a safari to see the Big Five – that is a lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and a rhinoceros – is a must on the modern expedition to South Africa, and the Kruger National Park in particular.
SANParks, which is the South African National Parks authority, lists a remarkable amount of species living in the Kruger National Park: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. And with almost two million hectares of protected flora and fauna inside its borders, the Kruger is a treasure for local and international tourists and holidaymakers, as well as conservationists and biologists.
While the 'Big Five' are undoubtedly the main attraction in the Kruger, there are also the 'Little Five', the five must-see trees, and the 'big six' for birding enthusiasts.
As one of the least known regions in South Africa, the Richtersveld is a spectacular mountainous desert landscape characterised by a desolate and forbidding backdrop of rugged kloofs and high mountains. Those who travel here find a starkly beautiful world filled with surprisingly diverse scenery, from sun baked plains, to sharp mountains of volcanic rock, sliced through by the lush Orange River. Though barren and desolate at first glance, closer examination reveals a rich collection of specially adapted desert life forms. It’s no wonder that the landscape has been described by travellers as “martian”.
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After digging to a depth of 100 meters last year, Russian scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years, and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network one thousand years ago.