The last time I was in one of our national parks I broke the speed limit while trying to “escape” a herd of 500 buffalo. This one’s for me.
It was announced last Thursday after Google teamed up with a passionate bunch of South Africans that they had finally released an impressive collection of 360 degree images from our beautiful country’s wildest regions.
The digital experience is a follow-on from The Mzansi Experience which showcased well-known tourist spots such as the Kruger National Park, Table Mountain and Cape Point like never before.
Google said to Business Report that:
“The new trails, launched today [Thursday], extend the existing Street View imagery of South Africa’s wilderness areas to include all 19 national parks, 17 previously ‘un-trekked’ nature reserves and many sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in all nine provinces of South Africa”.
How’d it all come together? Well:
It was a 12 month project that involved more than 200 volunteers, many which were rangers and guides from the KZN Wildlife Ezemvelo, SANParks and CapeNature. The other volunteers were hikers, lovers of nature and tech enthusiasts.
The Street View footage was captured by Google photographing 170 new trails that covers a total of 900km. Also 230 points of interest were recorded.
Andre van Kets, an outdoor enthusiast and founder of a travel company in Cape Town, told South African National Parks that:
“For the first time, travellers and wildlife lovers from across the globe, can explore the full spectrum of South Africa’s diverse wilderness areas on Google Maps and Street View.”
Next on the cards for Google is seven of South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For now, users can experience Mapungubwe Hill, Richtersveld, the Drakensberg Mountains and iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Also, check out South Africa in 360, Drive South Africa’s microsite that was inspired by a very similar project in the U.S.
Oh ya, and Google wants to continue mapping out the planet with your help.
It’s a pleasure.
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