Table Mountain National Park is a great destination, offering a little something for everyone …
Table Mountain National Park is both a visual feast and an adventure playground. A natural World Heritage Site, it is situated entirely within the metropolitan city of Cape Town. It is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and is an open-access park offering visitors free access to many gorgeous attractions. Here’s a little bit of what you can expect …
Fauna and flora
The park is home to an array of mammals and reptiles. Look out for klipspringer, while birding enthusiasts can look out for a variety of terrestrial and coastal birds, including the African penguin, peregrine falcon, African fish eagle, black oystercatchers and wandering albatross, to name but a few. You can also experience the beauty of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
You know you’re in Cape Town when you see the flat table-top of Table Mountain, covered in its cloud-cloth glory. You can hike or catch the cable car to the top, and won’t be disappointed by the magnificence that awaits at the summit. If heights are not your thing, the lower slopes offer bushy forests and flowing streams for you to explore.
Signal Hill and Lion’s Head
The peaks on either side of Table Mountain are also very popular attractions for their panoramic views and enjoyable hikes. Lion Battery on Signal Hill is the site of the historical Noon Gun (the gun has been fired every day since 1806 – barring Sundays and public holidays – at midday). Photos with the cannon are a must.
Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
Beautiful beaches and fragrant fynbos landscapes make this section of Table Mountain National Park a visitor’s delight. Dive, picnic and hike to your heart’s content (but look out for baboons that might steal your food). A variety of buck, reptiles and birds can also be spotted and are less likely to help themselves to your picnic. At Cape Point, visitors can take the Flying Dutchman funicular to the top see the original Cape Point Lighthouse.
Take a trip up Ou Kaapse Weg to the tranquil Silvermine Nature Reserve. Pack a picnic lunch and your family, and head out for fun day. Here you can enjoy caving, mountain biking, birding and hiking. There are magical views, waterfalls, rock formations, a range of animals species and beautiful flowing streams . Silvermine also offers an overnight tented camp.
Boulders penguin colony
Just past Simon’s Town, the colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach will charm and delight you. The visitor centre is extremely helpful and informative. Boulders is a majestic strip of coastline with many little secluded beaches that are wonderful for swimming. If you happen to find a penguin gliding next to you in the surf, be careful not to touch them as they have razor-sharp beaks and are known to peck.
There is so much on offer at Table Mountain National Park, so get moving, gather a group and head out for some fun and adventure. Always remember to have at least one other person with you when hiking or mountain biking on the trails.
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South Africa’s environmental affairs department has accessed US $80 million from international sources to assist in preserving flora and fauna amidst the impact of
climate change, Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday.
“US 30.6 million of this total has already been approved and a further US$49,8m already endorsed. These internationally-supported initiatives will promote organic waste-to-energy and other low-carbon technologies in small and medium-scale enterprises,” Molewa told reporters in Cape Town.
She was addressing journalists at Parliament before presenting her department’s budget vote in the National Assembly.
Molewa said South Africa was gradually moving towards the use of greener energy, with a target set for 2030.
“By 2030, South Africa will have an efficient, lower-carbon public transport system that makes everyday use of private vehicles an unnecessary extravagance. By 2030 our houses, offices and commercial building will no longer be energy drains, but rather energy sources – supplying electricity to communities through smart meters and smart grids,” she said.
She said through the climate change response policy and the green economy strategy, Africa’s industrial and economic powerhouse would continue to work diligently to meet targets on emissions reduction and air quality standards with the ultimate aim of transitioning to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and society.
Molewa said in a bid to boost the buoyant tourism sector, her department had an initiative to improve service delivery and base infrastructure in the country’s national parks.
“We are also repairing flood damaged bulk infrastructure. An amount of R950 million has been allocated to SANParks for infrastructural development, while another R42 million has been allocated for road improvements for the period of 2015/16 to 2017/18. An additional R12 million has been allocated to repair of SANParks’ flood damaged infrastructure for 2015/16,” she said.
“These initiatives create sustainable employment for many communities adjacent to national parks in remote and rural areas; they also contribute to driving rural and regional sustainable development.”
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African Heads of State, government representatives and experts are gathering at the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa where they will develop a common roadmap to end wildlife trafficking on the continent.
The Conference will seek to advance the first-ever Africa-wide strategy and action plan to tackle the illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, to be further considered at the next African Union Heads of State Summit later this year.
The four-day event is organised under the leadership of the Republic of Congo, in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), and with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the African Development Bank, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), among others.
“Forests and wildlife are part of our common African heritage but are disappearing at an alarming pace,” said His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso, the President of the Republic of Congo. “We have a duty to work together, as a continent, to safeguard our unique biodiversity for present and future generations and to craft strong collective solutions to address this calamity.”
The value of wildlife crime, comprising fauna and flora, and including logging, poaching and trafficking of a wide range of animals, amounts to many hundreds of billions of US dollars a year, according to estimates of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNEP and INTERPOL.
Wildlife trafficking destroys biodiversity and ecosystems, undermining development and eroding livelihoods for millions of African citizens. It also creates insecurity, fuelling conflicts and corruption, depriving countries of their assets, compromising the rule of law and dividing societies.
“By the end of this event, we envisage to have a clear roadmap toward a strategy that is strong, Africa-owned and Africa-led,” noted Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. “The document will aim to galvanize collective action across borders and it will offer practical, home-grown solutions towards decisively eliminating poaching and illegal wildlife trade.”
Following the Brazzaville conference, the draft strategy and associated action plan will be further developed in consultation with all African Member States, and progress on the strategy will be reviewed when the continent’s leaders gather at their bi-annual meeting, in June 2015, in South Africa.
“An African strategy developed by the African Union and its Member States, and focused on the needs of the continent is an extremely important step forward,” said Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UNEP.
“Its development will require full engagement of Member States, and its implementation will require enhanced and sustained international support, strong information networks, better public advocacy and accountability, as well as adequate laws and mechanisms to fully address the problem.”
The International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa builds on the momentum and outcomes of the 2014 London and 2015 Kasane High Level Conferences on Illegal Wildlife Trade, and comes on the heels of the 23rd African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, which urged African nations to apply zero tolerance approaches, to take action to strengthen laws and policies, and to engage communities to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and related criminal activities.
“Trafficking in wildlife and forest products poses serious security, environmental, and development challenges”, said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. “Addressing rural poverty, strengthening governance and the rule of law, and eradicating illicit trade in wildlife are key to addressing these threats and are essential for achieving Africa’s vision for sustainable development.”
On 30 April, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will organise a burning of seized hardwood timber and illegal ivory.
Source: African Environment
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