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The Western Cape

first_imgIf three pyramids are the symbol of Africa’s far north, then a flat-topped mountain is the symbol of its far south. Cape Town nestles in the curve of Table Mountain at the start of the hook-shaped Cape Peninsula, which ends in the jagged cliffs of Cape Point.The Western Cape lies on southern tip of Africa. The most-southern point is not, as some maps suggest, at Cape Point; it is in fact at Cape Agulhas, some 200km east of Cape Town.The province is one of the country’s most beautiful, attracting the lion’s share of foreign tourists. It is a region of majestic mountains, colourful patchworks of farmland set in lovely valleys, long beaches and, further inland, the wide-open landscape of the semidesert Karoo.Two oceans meet on the coast of the Western Cape: the cold Atlantic Ocean is in the west, while the warmer Indian Ocean lies on the southern coast. The plankton-rich cold Benguela current flows along the west coast and is considered to be one of the world’s richest fishing grounds.Where the two oceans really meetThe land and its peopleWith a total area of 129 370 square kilometres, the Western Cape is roughly the size of Greece. It’s the country’s fourth-largest province, only slightly smaller than the Free State, taking up 10.6% of South Africa’s land area and with a mid-2006 population of 4.7-million people.A potpourri of diverse cultural backgrounds gives the province a cosmopolitan flavour, creating a demographic profile quite different from the national pattern. Centuries of trade and immigration have created a population with genetic and linguistic links to different parts of Europe, southeast Asia, India and Africa. Afrikaans is spoken by the majority, with isiXhosa and English being the other main languages.The Western Cape is topographically and climatically varied. It has a temperate southern coastline fringed with mountains; here the typical vegetation, especially in the western section, is the famed fynbos. To the north it stretches deep into the Karoo plateau, while the west coast is extremely dry.The Mediterranean climate of the peninsula and the mountainous region beyond it is ideal for grape cultivation, with a number of vineyards producing excellent wines. Other fruit and vegetables are also grown here, and wheat is an important crop to the north and east of Cape Town.South African wineA Cape Dutch style farmhouse in the Western Cape’s Hex River Valley (Image: South African Tourism)The southern coastal area is also fertile, while fishing is the most important industry along the west coast. Sheep farming is the mainstay of the Karoo, and other forms of husbandry take place in the better watered parts of the province.Visitors to the Western Cape can disembark at international airports in Cape Town and the city of George, or at the ports of Cape Town, Mossel Bay or Saldanha.Saldanha, north of Cape Town, is South Africa’s only natural harbour, and notable harbour for iron exports and the fishing industry. Other towns include Worcester and Stellenbosch in the heart of the winelands, George, a centre for indigenous timber and vegetable production, Oudtshoorn, known for its ostrich products and the world-famous Cango caves, and Beaufort West on the dry, sheep-farming plains of the Great Karoo.TourismThe Western Cape’s unmatched natural beauty, famous hospitality, cultural diversity, excellent wine and rich cuisine make it one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions.Perched between the ocean and the mountain, and with a national park as its heart, Cape Town is wild and wonderful. Among its attractions are climbing, surfing and diving along with vibrant nightlife, excellent wine and endless shopping.Destination Cape TownThe Western Cape is home to the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is characterised by fynbos and the protea family, and contains more plant species than the whole of Europe.Cape flora on World Heritage listThe kingdom is one of the Western Cape’s two Unesco World Heritage Sites, places of “outstanding value to humanity”. The other is Robben Island in Table Bay near Cape Town, used for centuries as a prison for dissidents and outcasts. Now an essential stop for visitors to the region, it was on this island that South African statesman Nelson Mandela spent the bulk of his 27 years in prison.Robben Island remembersTo the east, the region around Knysna and Tsitsikamma has the country’s largest indigenous forests, a fairyland of ancient tree giants, ferns and abundant birdlife. Products of the forests include sought-after furniture made from the indigenous yellowwood, stinkwood and white pear trees.IndustryThe Western Cape economy contributes roughly 14,5% to South Africa’s GDP, growing at an average of 3,2% a year. More sophisticated sectors such as finance, real estate, ICT, retail and tourism have shown substantial growth, and are the main contributors to the regional economy. The value of residential property has increased significantly.Many of South Africa’s major insurance companies and banks are based in the Western Cape. Most of the country’s petroleum companies and the largest segment of the printing and publishing industry are found in Cape Town.After Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape’s manufacturing sector is the third-largest contributor to the national manufacturing sector. The clothing and textile industry remains the most significant industrial source of employment in the province.Cape Town remains the economic hub of the province, encompassing industrial areas such as Epping, Montagu Gardens, Parow and Retreat.Investing in the Western CapeAgricultureThe sheltered valleys between mountains are ideal for the cultivation of export-grade fruit such as apples, table grapes, olives, peaches and oranges. A variety of vegetables is cultivated in the eastern part of the Western Cape, while the wheat-growing Swartland and Overberg districts are the country’s breadbasket.The inland Karoo region and the Overberg district around Bredasdorp produce wool and mutton, as well as pedigree Merino breeding stock.Other animal products include broiler chickens, eggs, dairy products, beef and pork. The Western Cape is the only province with an outlet for the export of horses, earning millions in foreign revenue.The province is also a leader in the export of ostrich meat to Europe, with its abattoirs turning out R1-billion in export products every year. In addition to meat, fine leatherware and ostrich feathers are also exported to destinations all over the world.The rich fishing grounds on the west coast are protected from exploitation by a 200km commercial fishing zone and a strict quota system. Snoek, Cape lobster, abalone, calamari, octopus, oysters and mussels are among the delicacies produced in these waters.South African agricultureSouthAfrica.info reporter, incorporating material from the South African Yearbook Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Birds get right of way at airport

first_imgMount Moreland attracts hundreds of birderswho gather at dusk to watch the swallowscongregating in their millions.(Image: SA Venues) The ecologically sensitive Lake Victoriawetland is home to millions of barnswallows in the summer months.(Image: Sprig) MEDIA CONTACTS • Communications Manager, Acsa+27 31 451 6666Janine ErasmusDurban’s King Shaka International Airport is set to welcome its first arrivals at the beginning of May, just in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Besides taking care of its human passengers, airport management is also putting the safety of birds high on its priority list.The airport is situated on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal province, some 35km north of central Durban. It forms part of the ultra-modern Dube Tradeport, which also includes an import and export zone and agricultural export zone, and is expected to significantly boost the economy of the region.The brand-new airport will take over all the traffic that passed through the old Durban International airport. To accommodate passengers who may fly out of Durban International but return to King Shaka, leaving their cars parked at the former, the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) will offer a complimentary shuttle service for a week after King Shaka goes live.However, during the planning of the airport it was found that a visiting flock of barn swallows (Hirundo rustica), also known as European swallows, had built a nesting colony in the 35ha Lake Victoria wetland near the small village of Mount Moreland – right in the path of the approach to King Shaka’s 3.7km runway.These migratory birds visit South Africa in the summer months to escape the cold of the northern hemisphere, where they breed in vast numbers. The tiny creatures, each weighing an average of 18 grams, cover the round trip between South Africa – some 12 000km – every year.The Mount Moreland colony is the largest in the country with between 3- and 5-million birds. The colony reaches its maximum size by November each year and the birds stay until mid-April, when they begin the long haul back north.During the 30 minutes or so before sunset the swallows gather in large numbers overhead, wheeling and swooping, before retiring to their nests hidden in the reeds.This spectacular sight attracts bird enthusiasts from all over the world, who trudge through the ecologically important Lake Victoria wetland, chairs and refreshments in hand, to reach the massive roost. Many attend the ringing workshops that are held to catch and mark the tiny specimens, enabling them to be indentified in other parts of the world.Birds and planes can coexistThe colony posed a serious conservation problem not only for the airport developers, because the safely of incoming craft could be jeopardised, but also for bird ecologists and enthusiasts. Bats are also at risk.At first the discussion focused on the possibility of destroying the reeds, but there was an outcry from organisations such as WWF South Africa and local and international chapters of BirdLife, who argued that destruction of the swallows’ summer roost would have a serious impact on their numbers in Europe. A new approach was needed.The developers and environmentalists returned to the negotiating table and thrashed out specifics of the birds’ flying patterns and requirements for aircraft.Once developers realised that the birds were in the air for no longer than an hour at dusk and dawn, that their nesting area was nearly 3km from the end of the runway, and that only about 5% of the flock tends to stray into the flight path, they were able to come up with a solution.A special radar system was built in the US, at a cost of around US$300 000 (R2-million), to monitor the birds’ movements and enable air traffic control to advise pilots of potential safety hazards.The radar scans an area of 3.7km both vertically and horizontally, and alerts air traffic control when unacceptably high numbers of swallows drift into the flight path. The airport’s bird and wildlife unit is also alerted immediately.Because the birds are so quick to fly off and come in to roost, flights may be delayed or have to slow their approach for only a short time.The system is up and running but must still get the green light from the South African Civil Aviation Authority. However, as the birds are scheduled for departure within the next couple of weeks, airport management will have a good five months to work out the finer details before they return in October.Hi-tech facilityThe R8-billion (about $1-billion) King Shaka International Airport is the first greenfield project of its kind in Africa and by the time it opens will have been under construction for a lightning-fast 30 months. The airport is named for the fearsome Zulu monarch who ruled the area in the early 19th century.Acsa has engaged a team of experts from Munich-based LGM to assist with the complex operational transfer programme. The German team has similar experience with about 10 airports around the world and is consulting with local technical staff to ensure that the transfer goes smoothly.The airport is fitted with the latest technology and features a wide selection of retail and food shops. Ample foreign exchange and banking services are available, as well as car rentals.A host of carriers, including all the local airlines as well as Emirates and Air Mauritius, will use the new airport, which can accommodate the largest passenger aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380.last_img read more

Howard, Walker help Hornets send Nets to 8th straight loss

first_imgView comments LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico MOST READ Howard set the tone from the start, with 10 points and 11 rebounds after just 10 minutes of play in the first quarter in leading the Hornets to a 32-28 edge.“That first quarter really hurt us,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It wasn’t going as well with Dwight Howard in there, but we all have to help him (center Jarrett Allen) and do a better job; that is a load and a half.”Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who was an assistant in Orlando when Howard began his NBA career there, said he is surprised the 32-year-old who has had both knee and back surgery still is capable of nearing his career high in rebounds (26).“You’re talking about a guy that’s had major knee surgery and major back surgery,” Clifford said. “You’d never know it.”It is what his Hornets teammates have come to expect from Howard, who recorded his 37th double-double.ADVERTISEMENT “When guys get into a rhythm of playing 3-4 times a week, even though they’re fatigued, they’re in a rhythm,” Clifford said. “The break is great for everybody, it’s a reset. You get refreshed. And then the first game or two, it’s a little bit more like early in the season where they’ve got to get back into rhythm, feel comfortable again.”UP NEXTNets: Host Chicago on Monday.Hornets: Visit Washington on Friday. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Even with his exhaustion, Howard dominated the interior Thursday night, grabbing a season-high 24 rebounds while adding 15 points as his Hornets topped the Brooklyn Nets 111-96.Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting as the Hornets improved to 25-33 with their second straight win. All five Charlotte starters scored in double digits and the Hornets hit 52.4 percent from 3-point range.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDante Cunningham had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who lost their eighth straight game and fell to 19-41.D’Angelo Russell, starting for the first time since November knee surgery, scored 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Read Next “That’s what he does, man,” Walker said. “That’s what he does. He gets every rebound, he dominates the paint. It showed in his numbers. Twenty-four? That’s unbelievable, man. We’re going to need that from him every night if we want to make a push. We’re going to need that Dwight Howard to be there every night for us.”Even with Howard’s early dominance, both teams were playing their first game since the All-Star break and had to shake off the accompanying rust that resulted in roller-coaster play. The Hornets held a 55-53 halftime lead after hitting 46 percent behind the arc. Charlotte then had a 13-0 run to start the third quarter, sparked by seven points from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.And the Hornets still needed Walker’s big fourth quarter, when he had 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, to secure the victory.The Hornets outscored the Nets 31-22 in the fourth, and Howard managed to tack on just two more rebounds to his total in that final quarter.“I was tired,” Howard said with a sigh afterward. “I was tired. I should’ve got more.”TIP-INSNets: Have yet to win in February. Their last win came Jan. 31 against Philadelphia. … Russell started for the first time since Nov. 11. The guard had arthroscopic surgery to “remove loose bodies” in his knee. Russell returned to the lineup Jan. 19, but has been playing in a reserve role. … Allen Crabbe’s second 3-pointer was his 140th of the season, moving him into sole possession of seventh place in Nets’ single-season history.Hornets: Howard had his fifth game of 20 or more rebounds this season, one shy of the most by a player in Charlotte franchise history. … Charlotte has just 10 home games remaining this season. … This marked the first game the Hornets played since general manager Rich Cho was fired last week. Assistant general manager Buzz Peterson has assumed the position in an interim role.STATUS: HOPEFULAtkinson said he’s “hopeful” that both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert will be able to return to the lineup for Monday’s game against Chicago. Hollis-Jefferson has missed the last 10 games with a right groin strain, and LeVert has missed the last four games — the first for a concussion, the last three for a right knee sprain.“I know that’s not an NBA official term — hopeful — but I’m going to stay with hopeful,” Atkinson said. “They both worked out pretty hard again (Thursday) morning, but we’ll see how they look (Friday).”FINDING RHYTHMThe All-Star break has both positives and negatives, according to Clifford. Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (15) gets by a grimacing Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, who was caught in a screen by Hornets’ Dwight Howard (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dwight Howard said he was tired. He called his legs “noodly” and “wobbly.”“My legs and mind wasn’t on the same page,” the Charlotte center explained. “Next time, I’ve got to make sure they’re on the same page so I can get more rebounds for the team and we can get a good win.”ADVERTISEMENT Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus AFP official booed out of forum Officer dies of cardiac arrest after fan violence in Spain LATEST STORIESlast_img read more