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Cape Town, South Africa

February 24th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Cape Town, South Africa - February 22nd, 2009

Cape Town, South Africa - February 22nd, 2009

Cape Town, bottom right, near the Cape of Good Hope, is the second most populous city in South Africa. It is the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are located.

Cape Town, located on the shore of Table Bay,  is famous for its harbour. The city centre is located at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula. The peninsula consists of a dramatic mountainous spine jutting southwards into the Atlantic Ocean, ending at Cape Point.

There are over 70 peaks above 1,000 feet within Cape Town’s official city limits, including Table Mountain. This peak forms a dramatic backdrop to the city bowl, with its plateau over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) high.

The Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons. The bay on its southern side is called Saldanha Bay.

Cape Town, South Africa – September 5th, 2008

September 5th, 2008 Category: Image of the day

September 4th, 2008 - Cape Town, South AfricaSouth Africa

September 4th, 2008 - Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad; Xhosa: iKapa) is the second most populous city in South Africa, forming part of the metropolitan municipality of the City of Cape Town.

It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape, as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are located. Cape Town is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is one of the most popular South African destinations for tourism.

South Africa is one of only 17 countries worldwide considered Megadiverse. It has more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on Earth, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity. South Africa is the third most biodiverse country[citation needed], after Brazil and Indonesia, and has greater biodiversity than any country of equal or smaller size (Brazil being roughly seven times the size of South Africa, and Indonesia more than 50% larger).

The most prevalent biome in South Africa is the grassland, particularly on the Highveld, where the plant cover is dominated by different grasses, low shrubs, and acacia trees, mainly camel-thorn and whitethorn. Vegetation becomes even more sparse towards the northwest due to low rainfall. There are several species of water-storing succulents like aloes and euphorbias in the very hot and dry Namaqualand area. The grass and thorn savannah turns slowly into a bush savannah towards the north-east of the country, with more dense growth. There are significant numbers of baobab trees in this area, near the northern end of Kruger National Park.

The Fynbos Biome, which makes up the majority of the area and plant life in the Cape floristic region, one of the six floral kingdoms, is located in a small region of the Western Cape and contains more than 9,000 of those species, making it among the richest regions on earth in terms of floral biodiversity. The majority of the plants are evergreen hard-leaf plants with fine, needle-like leaves, such as the sclerophyllous plants. Another uniquely South African plant is the protea genus of flowering plants. There are around 130 different species of protea in South Africa.

source Wikipedia

Traces of Humankind – South Africa

30.2S 24.6E

July 3rd, 2013 Category: Earth Observation, Snapshots VIIRS/MODISSuomi-NPP/Aqua

South Africa – July 1st, 2013

VIIRS – Night Visible Image

MODIS – True-Color Image

Satellite images are an incredible tool to assess the health status of the Earth.

However, while macro-effects of human activities are clearly evident (i.e. deforestation, oil spill, etc.), the real impact of mankind on our Planet was not always easy to identify from Space.

Sometimes it is possible to understand how a region is changing just by combining data from different satellite instruments. Paradoxically, sometimes you just simply turn off the light to notice details not otherwise visible.

The main image represents the combination of the Night band of the VIIRS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Suomi-NPP satellite) with the True-Color band combination of the MODIS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Aqua satellite).

The extent of urban areas captured by the Night Image is clearly visible using the True-Color Image as a background. Small agricultural fires are visible as small groups of white dots close to the major villages (in the middle right part of the image).

The city of Cape Town is visible in the lower left part of the image, while the municipalities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging, Brits and Rustenburg (in the upper right part of the image) show that the extent of the towns has become a single (giant) urban area.

In the small boxes at the beginning, the two images used for the combination.

Mountains of Cape Fold Belt in South Africa’s Western Cape Region

33.9S 18.4E

May 16th, 2012 Category: Mountains, Rivers

South Africa - May 15th, 2012

Visible near the bottom of this image is the Western Cape region of South Africa, an area with great topographical diversity. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains. The far interior forms part of the Karoo Basin and is generally arid and hilly with a sharp escarpment in the north. Coastal areas range from sandy between capes, to rocky to steep and mountainous in places. Located by the coast in the lower left quadrant are Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope.

Moving northwards, visible crossing the upper part of the image is the Orange River, appearing as a thick green line, despite what its name might suggest. Some sediments can be seen entering the Atlantic Ocean by the river’s mouth. The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Visible near the coast in Namibia, north of the river, is the southern part of the Namib Desert.

Orange River and Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

34.3S 18.4E

March 9th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Namibia - March 5th, 2012

The Orange River can be seen crossing the upper part of this image of South Africa, more or less parallel to the top edge. Despite its name, the river is most visible in the upper right quadrant as a thick green line.

The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. In the full image, a small amount of sediments can be seen entering the Atlantic by the rivermouth. 

Visible in the lower part of the image are Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope, in the Western Cape region of South Africa.  The Western Cape is exceptionally topographically diverse. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains. The far interior forms part of the Karoo Basin and is generally arid and hilly with a sharp escarpment in the north. Coastal areas range from sandy between capes, to rocky to steep and mountainous in places.