Mount Nimba is a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site in both Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. A further extension of the reserve to include areas in Liberia has also been proposed. The park includes significant portions of Mount Nimba, a geographically unique area with more than 200 endemic species. These species include multiple types of duikers, big cats, civets, Chimpanzees, and several types of viviparous toads.
Mount Nimba serves as refugium for numerous Western African species. Mountains contain species rich tropical forest at the height of 600 – 1000 meters and montane grassland at the heights exceeding 1000 meters. Here have been found more than 2000 species of vascular plants.
The nearest major settlements are the town Yekepa to the west in Liberia, Bossou and N’Zoo in Guinea.
Wadi Rum “The Valley of the Moon” is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km (37 mi) to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan. Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples.
The highest elevation in Wadi Rum is Mount Um Dami at 1,840 m (6,040 ft) high, second highest Jabal Rum 1,734 metres (5,689 ft) above sea level and third Khaz’ali Canyon is the site of petroglyphs etched into the cave walls depicting humans and antelopes dating back to the Thamudic times. The village of Wadi Rum itself consists of several hundred Bedouin inhabitants with their goat-hair tents and concrete houses and also their four wheel vehicles, one school for boys and one for girls, a few shops, and the headquarters of the Desert Patrol. Read more on Wadi Rum….
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California’s 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat or documentation for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy. Visit Yosemite National Park…
Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the form of the gorges below the falls. The basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone. In the area of the current falls the largest cracks run roughly east to west (some run nearly north-east to south-west), with smaller north-south cracks connecting them.
Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges. The river’s course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.
Apart from some dry sections, the Second to Fifth and the Songwe Gorges each represents a past site of the falls at a time when they fell into one long straight chasm as they do now. forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.
Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below. Read more about Victoria Falls.
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards.
The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them. Read more about the Nazca Lines.
Meroe is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum. Near the site are a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush for several centuries. The Kushitic Kingdom of Meroe gave its name to the Island of Meroe, which was the modern region of Butana, a region bounded by the Nile (from the Atbarah River to Khartoum), the Atbarah and the Blue Nile.
The site of the city of Meroe is marked by more than two hundred pyramids in three groups, of which many are in ruins. They are identified as Nubian pyramids because of their distinctive size and proportions.
Meroe was the southern capitol of the Napata/Meroitic Kingdom, that spanned the period c. 800 BC — c. 350 AD. According to partially deciphered Meroitic texts, the name of the city was Medewi or Bedewi (Torok, 1998).
Excavations revealed evidence of important, high ranking Kushite burials, from the Napata Period (c. 800 – c. 280 BC) in the vicinity of the settlement called the Western cemetery. Read more on The Pyramids of Meroe.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8,292 square kilometers. It is one of the three divisions that comprise Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region.
NCA was established in 1959 by the NCA Ordinance No 413 of 1959 as a multiple land use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where conservation of natural resources in integrated with human development.
The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 millions migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem (TAWIRI, 2003) and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as ‘Entim Olturot’ in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and palaeontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human foot-prints that were discovered at Alaitole in Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme. Source: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority
Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space in the above satellite image from the Worldview-2 satellite and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish. According to a study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985. Read more on the Great Barrier Reef.
Venice is a city in northeastern Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities. Visit City of Venice here.
Himalayan range in Tibet is home to some of the planet’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayans include over a hundred mountains exceeding 7,200 metres (23,600 ft) in height. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Besides the Greater Himalayas of these high peaks there are parallel lower ranges. The first foothills, reaching about a thousand meters along the northern edge of the plains, are called the Sivalik Hills or Sub-Himalayan Range. Further north is a higher range reaching two to three thousand meters known as the Lower Himalayan or Mahabharat Range.
The Himalayans abut or cross five countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan and bordered on the northwest by the Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges, on the north by the Tibetan Plateau, and on the south by the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
Three of the world’s major rivers, the Indus, the Ganges, and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra all rise near Mount Kailash to cross and encircle the Himalayas. Their combined drainage basin is home to some 600 million people. Read more on the Himalayas.