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South Africa's National Parks have been captured by Google Street View

Georgina Wilson-Powell

9 November 2017

Discover the wildest parts of South Africa without leaving home. Google has captured in 360 degree glory 50,000 kms of bush, beaches, mountains and rivers for its Street View project.

Google worked with a team of volunteers organised by Drive South Africa over 12 months to hike, drive and sail the width and length of the country. 170 new trails were covered across all nine provinces of South Africa, that included all 19 national parks and 17 previously ‘untrekked’ nature reserves.

Follow 206 South African volunteers as they cover a huge amount on foot (900 kms), encountering some of South Africa’s Big Five and recording 232 points of interest. 

These include the Otter Trail, the arid moonscapes of Richtersveld, the oldest UNESCO site at iSimangaliso Wetland Park and impressive Drakensburg Mountains.

The trackers were conservationists, tech geeks and wildlife lovers who wanted to help capture the best of South Africa off road for Street View.

“The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions. The on-board technology plots the camera’s exact location on the trail. While recording, the camera takes a 360-degree photo every two-seconds. It’s basically the off-road equivalent of Google’s Street View cars,” says Andre Van Kets. 

Van Kets runs the loan programme partner Drive South Africa. He applied to Google as part of their Loan Programme, which encourages anyone to apply to borrow the 360-degree camera technology and help map the planet. (The Faroe Islands have used sheep to record their remote and unusual landscapes through the same programme).

You can join them on seven new trails to the top of Table Mountain or take a stroll around Marco Cianfanelli’s extraordinary sculpture of Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site. The site marks the spot where Mandela was arrested before his 27-years’ imprisonment.

Not sure where to start your South African armchair adventure? Check out South Africa in 360.

You can now view all 19 South African national parks in 360 thanks to Google Street View and Drive South Africa

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