The New7Wonders of Nature contest was initiated in 2007 to name the world’s top seven natural wonders, and raise awareness of the natural environment, its beauty and diversity. The campaign is organised by the New7Wonders Foundation in Switzerland, under the leadership of Bernard Weber. The organisation promotes preservation of human-made and natural monuments worldwide.
To qualify for the New7Wonders of Nature competition, candidates had to be defined as natural sites that have neither been created nor significantly altered by humans. This campaign is the follow-up to the highly successful human-made New Seven Wonders of the World campaign, which attracted 100-million votes from around the world. One of the biggest drawcards of the official New7Wonders of Nature campaign is that all the winning landmarks are determined entirely by the public by means of a popular vote. The campaign expected to receive more than 1-billion votes.
Celebrations erupted at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on Friday night as Table Mountain was provisionally named a New 7 Wonder of Nature following a three-year global race to choose the world’s seven most wonderful natural sites. The Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation announced the initial results of the competition, in which hundreds of millions of votes were cast worldwide via mobile and internet platforms, in Zurich, Switzerland shortly after 9pm South African time on Friday.
The seven provisional winners, in alphabetical order, are: the Amazon in South America; Halong Bay in Vietnam; Iguazu Falls in Argentina; Jeju Island in South Korea; Komodo in Indonesia; Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines; and Table Mountain.
“The results will now be checked, validated and independently verified,” the New7Wonders Foundation said in a statement. “Once the voting validation process is completed, in early 2012, New7Wonders will then work with the confirmed winners to organise the official inauguration events.”
National Geographic has named South Africa’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden as one of the world’s best picnic spots. Kirstenbosch, which was established in 1913 to conserve and showcase the diverse flora of southern Africa, is widely celebrated as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Picnicking is a favourite local pastime, and the tranquillity and beauty of Kirstenbosch makes it one of the most scenic places to relax on the lawns and enjoy a truly South African spread.
“Being listed by National Geographic is a big international acknowledgement,” says Sarah Struys, events and centre manager at Kirstenbosch. Struys adds that one of the many attractions of the garden is that it has been positioned as a leisure destination, instead of just being a botanical garden where people can only view plants.
Kirstenbosch was the first botanic garden in the world dedicated to preserving a country’s indigenous plant life. The garden is home to more than 7 000 rare and threatened species. It is adjacent to the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and many hiking enthusiasts use the Skeleton Gorge hiking route, starting at Kirstenbosch, to hike up the slopes of the mountain. Both the TMNP and Kirstenbosch form part of the Cape Floristic Region Protected Area, which was proclaimed a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004.
Cape Town beat off competition from Dublin and Bilbao to be named as the World Design Capital for 2014 at the International Design Alliance Congress in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. The Cape Town Partnership started the World Design Capital bidding process over a year ago, on behalf of the City of Cape Town. A bid committee was tasked to frame the theme of the bid and to source content and case studies for the bid book. It included design case studies in the Stellenbosch area.
Explaining the importance of the year 2014, De Lille said it would be the celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa. “That celebration will allow for a time of reflection, to think about how far we have come as a country and a city. “We will also be positioning ourselves to plan for the future. The next 20 years, and the 20 years after that, demand nothing less if we are to prosper as a city and a society and truly mature into our full potential.”
She explained to delegates that South African cities were designed over decades to divide people, but since the dawn of democracy, there has been a focus on bringing people together and creating sustainable cities that foster real social inclusion.
Cape Town a top 15 bicycle-friendly city
Cape Town is one of the 15 most bike-friendly destinations in the world, according to a CNN feature on 15 cities around the world “where drivers use all five fingers when they wave at you”. African cities “aren’t the first that spring to mind for bike friendliness, but Cape Town is doing its best to change that,” CNN noted in an article earlier this month featuring South Africa’s “Mother City” among the likes of Amsterdam and Barcelona in Europe, Chicago and San Francisco in North America, and Beijing and Bogotá in “Elsewhere”. “The South African hub is committed to creating cycling lanes, dedicated bike parking and public commuter showers,” CNN said.
Cape Town Partnership MD Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana said that being compared to “benchmark pedestrian and bike-friendly cities such as Berlin, Paris, Chicago and Barcelona is very encouraging. Lead SA, an initiative that encourages South Africans to celebrate the country’s achievements while taking responsibility for its problems, said the CNN mention was recognition of Cape Town’s commitment to making cycling lanes efficient and safe in order “to assist in alleviating congestion and pollution by cars.
“Less cars and more convenient, eco-friendly access to the city is key to making Cape Town a more liveable city,” Lead SA said in a statement last week. “What Capetonians should also know is that the new MyCiti buses operating in various areas from Tableview and within Cape Town allow cyclists to take their bikes on board with them and also to leave them at secure lock-up points close to the stations.”
Credits: SouthAfrica.info and MediaClubSouthAfrica.com
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