Diamond conglomerate De Beers is promoting a new tourism route across South Africa which links nine sites between the Diamond Coast and the banks of the Limpopo River.
The Diamond Route, a joint iniative between De Beers and the Oppenheimer family, aims to boost South Africa’s ecotourism offerings by opening up some of the company’s sites – mostly nature reserves – to a wider potential audience.
See the story, The Diamond Way, on www.timeslive.co.za/lifestyle/travel.
PHOTO: Jus’ lion in the rain. (De Beers)
The Maldives government plans to levy a $3 a day “green tax” on tourists to help boost the island nation’s climate change war chest.
The 350 000 citizens of the Maldives will be the planet’s first big losers if sea levels rise as much as some climate change experts predict they will over the next century.
The islands lie at an average of 1m above sea level so even a small change in ocean levels would be catastrophic.
Soon after taking power in October 2008, President Mohammed Nasheed said he would tap into the country’s tourist earnings – estimated at over $1bn a year – to start a fund to buy a new country for his people should the 1 192 islands and chunks of coral that make up the country disappear under the waves. Meanwhile, Scientific American reports that the president also plans to make the Maldives the first carbon-neutral nation on earth.
According to the United Nations Foundation, sea levels could rise one metre over the next century as a result of climate change. “The highest point on this island nation is one meter,” says a report on the foundation’s website.
The islanders’ concerns have been on the climate change agenda for some time. Back in 2004, a BBC story noted that Male, the capital, was surrounded by a 3m-high wall to protect it from tidal surges but that this would offer no protection against rising sea levels.
The travelling oil rig survival capsule
It’s amazing what passes for a hotel room these days: circus lions’ cages (with two-way mirror into the next room for those who like to be watched), oil rig rescue capsules (see above) which move from place to place, a harbour crane on the quayside in Harlingen, Netherlands, and many, many jails.
Personally, I like the crane – great view and splendid isolation.
View from the harbour crane
Photo: Unusual Hotels of the World
But, the 21-foot-high Beagle dog has its own special appeal. The Telegraph has this great slideshow on the subject.
Mutating viruses, bombs in paradise, crashing aeroplanes, striking airport workers … every day it seems there’s some new plague or threat to worry about. Here’s one more: hornets. From Asia.
It seems that a colony of hornets – Vespa velutina – arrived in France a couple of years ago in a consignment of pottery from China. They’re an aggressive sort of creature, apparently, and have in the last couple of years established themselves all over France, laying waste to colony after colony of French honeybees who have yet to develop strategies to defend themselves.
They tend to attack in swarms and sting their victim repeatedly. They’ll attack anyone but last week one swarm picked-on two Dutch tourists on bicycles. The unfortunate Dutch were unable to outpedal them. The sting, according to this UK newspaper story, is like hot nail piercing the skin.
The direct threat to people aside, there is a great danger of French bee colonies being wiped out as the new predators numbers’ increase and more and more beehives are besieged for proteins and carbohydrates. No, this is not a drill.
Not one Royal Bengal tiger has been spotted in the Panna National Park since January.
Panna, one of India’s 27 tiger reserves, was home to an estimated 24 tigers.
A century ago, there were an estimated 40 000 tigers in India. By 1988, poaching and hunting had whittled that number down to about 4 500.
Now, says The Telegraph, that number is closer to 1000.
One thousand wild tigers.
Of course, those who use medicines made from tiger parts are getting the blame. It’s true that the demand for medicine made from tigers remains robust in China, South Korea and Taiwan, and poachers – especially in a poor country like India – respond to this demand.
But the real problem for the wild tiger is that it has nowhere left to go. India’s population is reaching 1.2 billion. Go for a walk in an apparently remote part of most rural India and you will see people toiling on every horizon.
Tigers and humans are competing for the one resource that gets scarcer by the day: space. It’s a contest that only the tiger will lose.
Twelve years ago, US journalist Cory Meacham warned us in his book How The Tiger Lost Its Stripes that while the tiger itself is not in danger of extinction, the wild tiger is. It’s all about habitat.
There are plenty of tigers in zoos and captive breeding programmes, and, yes, in circuses. Tigers breed happily in captivity as well.
Meacham is not a zoologist and he is not a sentimental animal rights activist. His question is: how do you like your tiger? If wild, then you have a problem that no amount of anti-poaching is going to resolve if you don’t first solve the problem of human encroachment on its habitat.
If you don’t mind your tigers out of the wild, well then the chances are you and your descendents will get to see a real live Royal Bengal tiger. Just not in the wild.
Riding the Spine in the Peruvian Andes from Jacob Thompson on Vimeo.More mud and insanity from the guys who are riding SUBs (Sport Utility Bicycles) down the Continental Divide from Alaska to the tip of South America. Human power. Mountains all the way. Some way to travel, indeed. Although, I don’t think one hears pan pipes on the uphills. Maybe more grunting, sweating, grinding, panting, swearing …
London is a city made for cycling. There are few hills of any consequence, there are cycle paths everywhere and, thanks to the congestion charge on visiting motorists, which helped reduce traffic clogging the heart of the capital, it’s a little bit safer these days to get around on a bicycle. Read More…