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Travel Ban

Omicron Variant Forces New Travel Restrictions and Protocols Across Globe

In what has seemingly become an ever-expected piece saying, the travel industry will once again be heading towards new restrictions – this time due to the rise of the Omicron variant.

In order to curb the spread of the variant, the Biden Administration initiated travel bans on Nov. 29 against South Africa — where the strain was first identified back in late November — Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and Eswatini. The State Department also issued a “do not travel” advisory for citizens.

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This past Monday, new requirements were introduced for inbound travelers, which includes U.S. citizens. Air travelers are required to present airlines with proof of a negative COVID test that was taken one day before departure. This is lowered from the previous three days.

Meanwhile, tests that are accepted still include antigen and nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT). Travelers are not required to take an additional COVID test upon landing. So far, general tests have been able to detect Omicron, and should “remain adequate.” Currently, 19 states have detected an Omicron variant, as have 50 countries.

The United Kingdom has instituted similar testing protocol, along with banning travel to multiple African countries – Nigeria just became the 11th country added to their red list.

Like every other governmental action during the pandemic, the South Africa ban has had controversial aspects. The New Yorker pointed out that before the restrictions went into effect, strains were also detected in the U.K., Germany, and the Czech Republic – yet,  travelers are still currently free to enter and leave those countries.

Meanwhile, South Africans have expressed displeasure. “I think the government’s decision is wicked, unfair and a heavy financial burden,” a Nigerian man living in the U.K. told the BBC in regards to the government’s restrictions that force a paid-quarantine for residents returning to the country.

Despite numerous countries’ efforts, it might not be any good in the long run. Speaking with NPR, Yale Institute of Global Health director Saad Omer said these bans have “very little utility.” “From what we know about the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 and the epidemiology of this variant, the horse has probably left the barn,” Omer said, while also agreeing with the belief that variant-identified countries should not be exempted from restrictions.

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Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like you may have to worry about your own holiday travel plans being flushed down the drain just yet. Appearing on a CNN Global Town Hall, Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that “if you have a vaccinated situation, your family is vaccinated, enjoy the holidays indoors with your family.”

While Fauci did say that traveling always opens up the risk of infection, travelers can help to further protect themselves by continuing to wear masks and getting booster shots that are becoming available to more and more people.

It seems travelers share these sentiments to an extent. According to MarketWatch, a survey found that 87% of travelers are still planning on following through with their Christmas trips, while 10% have cancelled their trips and 3% ended up changing their destination. 79% of the survey respondents expressed concern about Omicron, however.

Experts Warn Omicron Covid Variant Is A ‘Reason To Be Worried’

The Omicron Covid-19 variant was first detected in South Africa, and has now spread to 14 countries, with some experts claiming the variant has already reached the US. Scientists are working to figure out how much more dangerous and contagious the new variant is when compared to other variants, especially as international governments race to ease travel restrictions. 

The US has been imposing travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa since Monday, as well as other countries around the region. The variant has already been confirmed in Canada, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, discussed the variant on the news recently. 

“The new variant is likely already in the United States, but the government is better positioned to detect cases of the new strain than it was a year ago.”

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As of this week, most travelers from southern Africa are barred from entering the United States, and restrictions have been renewed for all travel from southern Africa to most European countries. Within 36 hours of discovering the new strain, scientists in South Africa alerted the world and began testing current vaccines against the strain immediately. Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the increased risk for unvaccinated Americans when it comes to any variant. 

“The US certainly has the potential to go into a fifth wave of high infections if enough people don’t come forward for vaccination and booster shots.”

South Africa’s government and president, however, are worried that the region is being unjustly blamed for the new variant, when the reality is these variants only have the opportunity to develop due to uneven distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines throughout the world. 

“We want all travel bans to be reversed, as they have no basis in science. These restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country,” South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said. 

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“I think there’s good reason to be worried. I don’t think that means that we’re powerless, answers are coming. We need to collect data. We need to investigate and understand this variant,” said Professor Anne Van Gottberg of South Africa’s Institute for Communicable Diseases.

“We should be doing the things that we know work when you’re dealing with a pandemic virus. It’s not the time to panic. We should be concerned, and our concern should spur us to do the things that we know work,” Dr. Fauci said.

Fauci explained that “the concern over the new variant comes from the number and type of mutations found around the spike protein, the part of the virus molecule that allows it to attach itself to human cells. The high number of mutations and where they were found suggests that this would be more transmissible, and also suggests that it might evade some of the immune parameters that we have, such as antibody and plasma treatments, and the current vaccines.”

“It appears to be spreading very readily and has a transmission advantage. One of the key things we don’t know right now is whether the new variant causes more severe COVID-19 symptoms than previous strains.”

Omicron currently accounts for more than 2,000 new daily cases in South Africa. One expert in the nation is worried that the daily infection rate could triple within the next week alone. 

“I am expecting we will top over 10,000 cases by the end of the week per day,” Dr Salim Abdool Karim said during an online press briefing by the Health Ministry.

South Africa

Meet The Black Mambas, A Women-Only Ranger Team Working To Preserve African Wildlife

June 23rd is known as World Female Ranger Day as a means of raising awareness and funding to support the women within the industry who are working hard to preserve the Earth. Only 11% of the world’s global ranger population is made up of women, so the campaign, co-founded by adventurers Holly Budge and Margot Dempsey, works to shed light on the inequalities that exist within the industry. 

The Black Mambas are a women-only team of rangers who work in Africa to preserve the dwindling wildlife population throughout the continent. The group was founded in 2013 when rhino poaching was reaching an unprecedented high in South Africa. 

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The group itself is made up of 36 women all from local tribes who are armed only with pepper spray. They work everyday to patrol the Kruger National Park’s fence lines for unwelcome intruders, as well as checking camera traps and finding snare traps. The group was founded out of this particular national park, which is why they spend a majority of their time there. 

 Nkateko Mzimba joined the team back in 2014 when they began more community outreach efforts as well. Mzimba claimed that the group began connecting with local schools to teach kids about the importance of protecting the Earth and its many inhabitants. 

“We ask our community to change, to protect wildlife for their kids, trying our best to show we love and support them, and we give them food.” 

The Black Mambas have to date reduced bushmeat poaching by 89% and virtually eliminated the use of snare traps. While they themselves are not armed beyond pepper spray, should they come across packers with weapons, they can easily call for armed backup from local authorities. 

“The Black Mambas support me. I am here because of them, and I want to empower them. Women were always undermined. Now, they see the importance of us in the bush. When people offer bribes, we say no – we don’t share information. Some say this is a man’s job, but we’ve proved that we can do this,” Mzimba explained. 

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In Zimbabwe, the first all-female anti-poaching unit was recently established in 2017. Akashinga and the Black Mamba’s amazing efforts in Africa is actually the reason Budge and Dempsey established World Female Ranger Day in the first place. 

“I wanted to bring their stories to the world. Some are AIDS orphans, some come from abusive marriages. Now, they’re breadwinners and their kids go to school. But other women don’t have this success, and World Female Ranger Day will bring their challenges to light.”

“I felt privileged to see their work firsthand. It was like a war zone – the Akashingas all carried AK47s, with wild animals and signs of poachers around us. It made me appreciate how dangerous their work is. They’re not playing rangers. This is real, very real,” Budge explained. 

World Female Ranger Day works to provide an international forum for rangers everywhere to share advice and offer support. 

“We offer grants for improved facilities and equipment, along with annual awards. These rangers are fantastic role models, inspiring and empowering women with a strong message that anything can be overcome with training, self-belief, determination, and resilience,” says Budge.

“On World Female Ranger Day, we’re role models to ladies out there who feel underrated. We need a day to celebrate us. And they need to see us, to be inspired.”

Wildfires

‘Out Of Control’ Fire Burning Through Cape Town’s Table Mountain National Park 

According to South African officials an “out of control” fire is currently burning through Cape Town’s Table Mountain National Park, and has already damaged a multitude of buildings. An evacuation of hikers has already been enforced for the park overall; which is also known as Cape Town’s most famous landmark. 

A spokesperson for the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spoke with the media late Sunday night to discuss how two firefighters had been injured and admitted to the hospital so far, and nine building structures were completely destroyed in the initial blaze. As of right now no further injuries or damages have been reported, but rescue workers are worried about containment efforts. 

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Jermaine Carelse, the spokesperson for Cape Town’s fire and rescue services, explained how 200 firefighters were dispatched to battle the fire, and they have been continuously working all night to combat the blaze. Four rescue helicopters have also been deployed to help with rescue operations. 

“The fire created its own wind that further increased the rate of spread. The excessive amount of smoke and related updrafts made it impossible for the aerial support to slow the rate of spread.”

According to a tweet from the South African National Parks Table Mountain National Park account, “the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant had burnt down and the fire had also spread to the veld above the University of Cape Town upper campus. Six buildings near Woolsack Drive, including the Mostert’s Mill and three structures at the University of Cape Town, were destroyed.”

Carelse also told the media that Mostert’s Mill, a historic windmill near the University of Cape Town which was built in 1796, was also badly damaged by the fire. 

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One woman in the park was interviewed after showing a video that depicted her trying to outrun the fire as plumes of smoke took up the background sky. Lisette Lombard, the individuals who took the video, said she was safe but her car had been “destroyed. Never have I experienced a fire that spread so unpredictably fast. I have so much respect for our firefighters.”

According to a statement from South Africa’s National Parks, a “vacated vagrant fire may have been responsible for the blaze. After the initial investigation, it is surmised that the origin of the fire is from a vacated vagrant fire. Due to the extreme Fire Danger Index for today, which is Red with temperatures of 36 degrees noted and an extremely low relative humidity of under 10%, the fire spread rapidly in the direction of Rhodes Memorial.”

Carelse explained that the fire has been greatly “fanned by wind, so it spread from the vicinity of Philip Kgosana Drive, which borders Table Mountain National Park, to Rhodes Memorial where it continued further towards University of Cape Town buildings.” 

Sources claim that the fire could take days to fully put out, and earlier on Sunday, the National Park’s Twitter account had requested that “onlookers refrain from entering the area and that all hikers within the Newlands and Rhodes Memorial area evacuate immediately.”

Covid-19 Variants Causing Scientists To Rethink Vaccine Strategy

Top vaccine scientists throughout the world have made it known that current Covid-19 vaccine rollout programs need to be reexamined after variants of the virus are proving to be more resistant.

Virus Attacking South Africa

South Africa Goes Under Lockdown In Response To Rapid Rise In Coronavirus Cases

Africa is the newest continent to be reporting cases of Covid-19 throughout its many countries. According to Africa’s Centers For Disease Control there are now more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across Africa, which is extremely alarming considering the many parts of the continent that have under-resourced health services. 

The World Health Organization has claimed multiple times that any statistics regarding case numbers should be viewed as a significant underestimation of what the actual number likely is because of how long of an incubation period the coronavirus endures before actually showing any symptoms among its carriers. So far Africa has reported around 60 deaths so far, a third of all of the cases are in South Africa as well. 

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Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s health minister claimed this week that the country has seen over 700 cases of Covid-19, a majority of which appeared over the course of one day. In response, South Africa will be going under a strict 21-day lockdown beginning this week to avoid spreading the virus further. The lockdown practices will mirror that of certain policies in the US and Europe that are also under quarantine. Only essential businesses will remain open and individuals can only leave their home if it is to seek medical attention or buy supplies/groceries. All restaurants, bars, food-outlets, etc. will also be fully closed down, and the repercussions for breaking these strict policies will have severe consequences. 

“Anyone thinking of ignoring the restrictions [could] face six months in prison, a fine or both, two people have already been charged with attempted murder for refusing to obey orders to self-isolate. You buy food and go and cook it at home. You can drink what you have at your home. There is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around. There will be no dogs that shall be walked. If you want to walk your dog, walk your dog around your yard,” Bheki Cele, South Africa’s police minister, said at a press conference

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Cele also announced new measures to increase policing efforts against gender-based violence towards homeless individuals and prisoners as well during these times where human rights are literally on the line. Throughout South Africa there are millions of younger individuals who are more vulnerable than younger individuals in other parts of the world with more established healthcare facilities, especially due to an influx of individuals dealing with HIV or malnutrition.

Healthcare systems all throughout South Africa have always dealt with a lack of resources and proper funding, hence the strict lockdown policies, as they really don’t have all the supplies they need to cope with a global pandemic. Other measures that have been taken include suspended flights and overall travel restrictions to/from Europe and the US especially. 

Rwanda and Kenya have also imposed lock down efforts and curfews, and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced that along with other Kenyan government officials, he would be foregoing a majority of his salary to contribute towards a financial package for their country. Ethiopia will be releasing more than 4,000 prisoners to de-congest their jails to deal with the outbreak as well.

Health officials across Africa are aware how severely unprepared they are for this virus, especially considering they could barely care for the extensive number of regular patients they have throughout a given year. South African authorities are working to protect overcrowded neighborhoods and strictly upkeep social distancing and quarantine policies, however, certain remote villages make this impossible. International services and charity organizations are scrambling to help, but it can be hard when the entire world is dealing with the same issue. For more ways on how you can potentially help, visit the World Health Organization’s website

King Air 200

South African Pilot, Refilwe Ledwaba, Is Looking To Change The Face Of Aviation

“This is my favorite aircraft. It’s called a King Air 200. I’ve got approximately 100 hours of flying on this aircraft. I absolutely love it, it just performs,” Refilwe Ledwaba said as she stood next to the hanger of the King Air 200 at the Wonderboom Airport in South Africa.   

Ledwaba has made a major impact in South Africa through her advocacy for women’s rights, especially for their right to start careers in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as piloting. Ledwaba herself is both a helicopter and a fixed-wing pilot as well as a flight instructor for all prospective pilots in South Africa. 

Her other accomplishments include being a goalkeeper for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which basically means Ledwaba could choose a specific group/charity to advocate and raise awareness for. For Ledwaba, that has become the Girls Fly Program in Africa. She also was the first black woman to be a police service pilot in South Africa.

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“For a long time, I was the only black female that was holding the highest license for helicopters, but being the first for me is not important. The important thing is the 20th person, the 30th person, then we can start talking,” she said.

Ledwaba’s philosophy here couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. Reports claim that less than 10% of the world’s pilots, aviation maintenance technicians and airline executives are women, Ledwaba is ready to multiply that number five times over and she’s starting in Africa. As previously stated Ledwaba is involved with the Girls Fly Program in Africa (GFPA), but she’s not involved in the traditional sense of the word, she actually runs the entire foundation. 

GFPA’s main goal is to introduce girls in elementary, middle, and high school to STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering, and math. When Ledwaba was a child, she was raised by just her mother, who also had to raise six other kids. Her mother always instilled a hard work ethic in Ledwaba, and made it clear to her from a young age that the possibilities are limitless when it comes to what she wants to do with her life. 

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Initially, Ledwaba claimed her mother inspired her to work hard to become a doctor, however, when she was in school she got a job as a flight attendant to help pay for her education. From that moment on she was fascinated by all things aviation, so much so that she began taking private flying lessons, which has led to her career today.

As the world develops and continues to industrialize, more careers are going to require a degree in STEM, so Ledwaba’s goal is to introduce these subjects to girls at a young age to spark an interest early on. More often than not, girls are steered away from focusing on STEM subjects in terms of specialized studies, and Ledwaba is gearing up to change that. 

“I’m working to diversify the face of women in the aviation industry by being accessible, being available, and being visible. I want a future where a small child can just wake up like, ‘I’m going to do that one day,’ and not have doubts.” 

She’s already held multiple aviation/space camp programs through GFPA in South Africa, Cameroon, and Kenya. Ledwaba also emphasizes on the GFPA website that while their focus is on empowering young girls, they also reach out to young boys as well to join their school outreach programs and camps. While the main goal is equality amongst the sexes in STEM careers, Ledwaba is just as invested in young people of all demographics gaining an equal opportunity to succeed if they want it. So far, the GFPA and Ledwaba’s work has helped over 100,000 young girls and boys through their multiple STEM programs.

Variety of Ice Cream

Start-Up Makes Ice Cream From Insects To Help Save The Environment

Enjoying some ice cream in the hot South African sun sounds like a no brainier. The long summer months and dry desert atmosphere surely is enough to keep the frozen dessert industry in business, however, this new Cape Town start-up is looking to not only open the minds of ice cream lovers everywhere, but also show the world just how sustainable the food industry can really be; and they’re doing it with bugs. 

Gourmet Grubb is a new luxury ice cream establishment in Cape Town, South Africa, and they’re quickly becoming known as the start-up that makes its food with bugs. Yes, you read that correctly; when looking for a new and sustainable way of making this classic dessert, Gourmet Grubb discovered that using EntoMilk is not only beneficial to the environment, but offers a dairy-free ice cream option as well. 

EntoMilk is a dairy alternative that is made by “blending the larvae of a tropical insect known as the black soldier fly.” Before you immediately write-off EntoMilk based ice cream as gross and weird, know that around the world there are about 1,900 different insect species that are consumed by human beings as a regular practice. While eating bugs hasn’t really infiltrated Western culture too much, there are plenty of different areas of the world that enjoy insects as a delicacy or snack, it just depends on where you are. 

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Flavors of the ice-cream include all the classics like vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter, and a few specialty flavors like Christmas Spices. The EntoMilk apparently gives the ice cream a “slightly earthy undertone with an overall rich and creamy taste,” according to Leah Bessa, a co-founder of Gourmet Grubb.

According to their website, EntoMilk has five times the amount of protein and nutrients when compared to traditional dairy products. Additionally it contains large amounts of fat, minerals, zinc, iron, and calcium, all of which are traditionally found in protein enriched foods like beef, however, EntoMilk is way more concentrated in all of these things compared to beef. The milk is also lactose and gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any sugar or carbs; traditional ice cream can’t say any of that. 

Besides being better for you, the means of creating this EntoMilk-based ice cream is much more environmentally sustainable compared to most other food industry means of production and distribution. This is important as one of the biggest industries contributing to climate change is the industrialized factory means of producing food. The United Nations has claimed that the entire planet will need to double its food production to keep up with the rising population rates. To avoid a massive famine epidemic, this change needs to occur by 2050. 

“We decided to focus on an industry [food] that is under a lot of pressure due to animal welfare and environmental concerns. Insects aren’t sentient beings, and they only grow in the conditions in which they thrive, so the farming conditions cater to their animal welfare needs. Insects need very little water, feed and space to grow. They also produce little/no greenhouse gases compared to traditional livestock,” said Bessa. 

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Mario Barnard, chef at Gourmet Grubb

Insect farming is also much more environmentally conscious because it can be done indoors, meaning in more metropolitan areas. Transporting farm-grown produce/products from rural farms burns fossil fuels and emits tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In a more localized indoor setting, these bugs can grow, thrive, and contribute, without having to worry about daily weather patterns affecting their growth.  

The data doesn’t lie, insect livestock is going to be a major part of our food industry in the future, it’s just an idea a lot of human beings will have to grow accustomed to. It’s estimated that by 2023 the global edible insect market will reach a market value of $1.2 billion, making Gourmet Grubb fairly ahead of the curve. So much so that they’re even experimenting with some popup stores where they serve more insect-infused dishes like pasta. 

“We need to find alternatives that will be able to sustain the growing population and create a sustainable and environmentally friendly farming system. The only way EntoMilk can truly make a difference and reduce the pressures of traditional dairy is if it is accepted and consumed on a global scale,”  said Bessa.

South Africa Plants

South Africa Is Seeing A Massive Increase In Plant Extinction

The Succulent Karoo desert is located between the country of Namibia and South Africa. What the United Nations describes as the most “biodiverse arid desert on the planet” is home to more than 6,300 rare plant species, and countless exotic animals, most of which can only be found there. 

According to reports, a combination of overgrazing from wildlife, plant poaching, and other human demands on the desert has left only 25% of the Karoo in a habitable, intact state. It’s for this reason alone that conservationists in Africa have made protecting the Succulent Karoo a main priority. However, not many officials in Africa take the conservationist effort seriously, as for the most part the Karoo is just a barren desert. However, this desert’s ecosystem is extremely fragile and valuable to all of Africa’s inhabitants. 

Succulents are defined as plants that store water in their leaves, stems or both for long periods of time, hence why they’re most commonly found in dry, arid, desert environments. Cacti and aloe plants are the most common types of succulents, and the Karoo desert is full of them. In fact, the Succulent Karoo alone contains a third of the entire planet’s succulent species. 

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The 6,300 plant species that grow in the Karoo often have bright and colorful flowers stemming from them, which indicates to insects and small animals that they contain moisture and nutrients. Insects come and drink the water and eat the leaves, which in turn attracts insect-eating animals to the desert, such as moles, scorpions, tortoises, birds, and lizards, most of which have sub-species that are exclusive to the Karoo, much like a majority of the succulents. These beautiful plants also attract a plethora of tourists when they’re in bloom, however, tourists also means illegal poachers, and I don’t mean the kind that are hunting elephants. 

“A growing illegal market for succulents is fueling poaching activities in the Karoo region. Scorpions, baboon spiders, and some lizard species also fall prey to poachers in the region. Overgrazing by farmed ostriches, sheep and cattle is also seriously damaging the desert landscape, especially during droughts. This environment is very easily damaged, and has a long recovery period. The desert has also been mined for uranium, diamonds and sand, leaving great scars in the landscape,”says Marienne De Villiers, an ecologist for the South African government’s conservation organization, CapeNature.

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The desert is so vast and the inhabitants are so sparse and small that scientists find themselves having a difficult time locating and identifying species for protection. However, recently CapeNature researchers and conservationists have begun using drones to locate certain species that otherwise are out of sight. 

According to the researchers, the drones they use are mounted with infrared sensors that are connected to a machine that is able to identify species from long distances based on shapes and motion. Scientists are able to use this information to learn about when certain species are typically out in the open and therefore more susceptible to poaching threats. 

According to the Environmental Literacy Council, an international conservationist non-profit, only 3% of the Succulent Karoo Desert is protected under government legislation. This issue is CapeNature’s main focus, so much so that in 2002 they created something called the Biodiversity Stewardship Program. This program calls upon local landowners and farmers in South Africa to be recruited for their land as a space for wildlife to live and be protected. Paying landowners for portions of their vast properties is much cheaper than raising the funds to actually buy new land to be used as a wildlife safe haven.

“Over time, these projects have helped to build buffer areas and wildlife corridors throughout the Western Cape, helping to protect the Succulent Karoo and its rare species. I hope the Stewardship program will educate people about the value of the desert for years to come. There’s still so much that we don’t know about the Succulent Karoo, and there’s probably a wealth of species still out there waiting to be discovered,” says De Villiers.

Brazil

Where to Visit in 2020

Somehow we have made it not only to the end of another year but also to the end of another decade and many of us are starting to think of ways we can make our lives better in 2020.

If “travel more” is on your list of New Year’s resolutions then look no further as we have put together a list of some of the best places to visit during the next year.

Cape Town, South Africa

Located on the shores of Table Bay, Cape Town is a must for anyone wishing to visit an area that fully embraces everything that Africa believes in.

With a strong history – including Robben Island which is a short boat trip away and where former president Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner – as well as some fascinating culture, nature and of course, the amazing music and festivals.

However if shopping is more your thing there are plenty of markets around including at the Old Biscuit Mill and Green Market Square, where you can taste some of the local cuisine as well as pick up some souvenirs to remind you of your experience.

Cape Town also houses some of the funkiest food and accommodation venues with Long Street home to many bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

And if beaches are more your thing head towards one of their stunning beaches and take part in some water sports including surfing or even shark cage diving if you are really adventurous.

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Any of the Greek Islands

One of the most sought after locations of 2020 will be any of the 6,000 Greek islands, including the picturesque Santorini. The village of Oia is famous for its blue and white architecture which will be even more accessible during 2020 thanks to the local council’s plans to build more roads and parking.

Or why not book a boat tour and head out for a day on the Aegean sea, stopping at beaches along the way – such as Akrotiri and its famous red beach – and eat a magical dinner on board as the sun sets? We could think of worse ways to end the day.

If you are after a bit more of the party scene, book a two hour ferry and head across to Mykonos. Known around the world for its summer long party, dance clubs line the beaches – such as Paradise and Super Paradise – attracting world famous DJs to keep you partying all night.

Armação dos Búzios, Brazil

Thanks to a change in restrictions in June 2019, Americans no longer need a visa when heading to Brazil and we strongly recommend visiting the stunning beach resort of Armação dos Búzios.

Located to the east of Rio de Janeiro, this ‘higher end’ vacation spot is perfect for those looking for water sports and nightlife adventures.

If parades are more your thing you should head south west to Rio de Janeiro in February and witness one of the most exciting carnivals in the world. Full of amazing music, dancing and a host of other activities, the Rio carnival is definitely one not to be missed. And while you are there you should also take a look at the spectacular Sugarloaf Mountain.

Slovenia

Part of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is fast becoming the “go to” place for adrenaline junkies thanks to its reputation for providing some record-breaking activities. Head to Planica and have a ride on the steepest declining zipline in the world, or if bungee jumping is more your thing why not visit Bridge Solkan and jump off the longest train bridge built of stone blocks? And for those of you who prefer water sports such as kayaking or rafting, Soča has crystal clear waters perfect for a day of water-based fun.

However, if you prefer a more relaxed break head towards one of the many spa resorts dotted around the country. As an area renowned for its healing mineral water, visitors flock to the region each year making Slovenia a must visit place for 2020.

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British Columbia, Canada

Just across the border in Canada you will find many areas of beauty however British Columbia has something for everyone.

With award winning wine regions, remote islands and vibrant cities – including Vancouver – there are also many outdoor activities to be found in this beautiful part of Canada, including some world class ski resorts.

However we strongly recommend visiting the capital. Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is fast becoming a tourist attraction thanks to its stunning Victorian architecture and bright buildings as well as places such as Fisherman’s Wharf, the Inner Harbor, Hatley Castle and Butchart Gardens.

There are so many more places that you should visit around the world and these are just a few suggestions to get you started. As soon as you start exploring and seeing how beautiful our world is, you will not want to stop.