Cape Town on the shore of Table Bay

January 27th, 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Greater Cape Town © Andrew Massyn

Greater Cape Town © Andrew Massyn

Cape Town is a city in South Africa. It ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and has roughly the same population as the Durban Metropolitan Area. It is also the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.   read more…

Issyk Kul, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan

October 12th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Tamchy on Lake Issyk Kul © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tamchy on Lake Issyk Kul © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0

Issyk-Kul is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes; hence its name, which means “hot lake” in the Kyrgyz language. Issyk-Kul Lake is 182 kilometres (113 mi) long, up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, and its area is 6,236 square kilometres (2,408 sq mi). It is second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America. It is at an altitude of 1,607 metres (5,272 ft), and reaches 668 metres (2,192 ft) in depth. About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake. The first nature reserve in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk-Kul State Reserve was established in 1948 to protect unique nature landscapes and waterfowl at Issyk Kul. In 1975, it was acknowledged as a Ramsar site. Biosphere Reserve Issyk Kul covered by UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves was established in year 2000 within the administrative borders of Issyk-Kul Region.   read more…

Theme Week New Zealand – Wellington

October 10th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Wellington Harbour © flickr.com - margaritanitz

Wellington Harbour © flickr.com – margaritanitz

Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 389,700 residents.   read more…

Mauritius’ capital Port Louis

September 8th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Aerial view of Port Louis © Peter Kuchar

Aerial view of Port Louis © Peter Kuchar

Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest city of the country and main port, which borders the Indian Ocean. It is located in the Port Louis District. The population of the administrative district was estimated at 128,483, and the urban area at 148,416 in December 2010.   read more…

Madagascar in the Indian Ocean

September 2nd, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Ankify Lodge (Dauphin Bleu) © Rvdb2

Ankify Lodge (Dauphin Bleu) © Rvdb2

Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. In 2012, the population of Madagascar was estimated at just over 22 million.   read more…

The Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific

August 19th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Northern Mariana Islands map © Wikid77

Northern Mariana Islands map © Wikid77

The Northern Mariana Islands is one of two insular areas that are Commonwealths of the United States; the other is Puerto Rico. It consists of fifteen islands in the western Pacific Ocean located about three-quarters of the way between Hawaii and the Philippines. Head of State is the US President.   read more…

Île Sainte-Marie off the east coast of Madagascar

August 17th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Beach of La Crique © M worm

Beach of La Crique © M worm

Île Sainte-Marie, known (more formally) as Nosy Boraha, is an island off the east coast of Madagascar. The main town is Ambodifotatra. The city covers an area of 222 km2, and has a population estimated at 16,000. The island is organized as The City of Île Sainte-Marie in Analanjirofo Region. The tourist destination is 60 km long and less than 10 km wide.   read more…

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

August 15th, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

BIS 'Tower' building © --Wladyslaw Disk./cc-by-sa-3.0

BIS ‘Tower’ building © –Wladyslaw Disk./cc-by-sa-3.0

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international organization of central banks which “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks”. The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts and through an annual general meeting of all member banks. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations. It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.   read more…

Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean

August 1st, 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Zanzibar Beach © Rcastino

Zanzibar Beach © Rcastino

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar), and Pemba. The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City. Its historic centre, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site and is claimed to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet, and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar Leopard.   read more…

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