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Shoreline of South Africa’s Western Cape Province

January 4th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

South Africa - November 17th, 2009

South Africa - November 17th, 2009

The Western Cape Province, in southwestern South Africa, is bordered on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Its total land area is 129,370 km², about 10.6% of the country’s total. The province’s capital is Cape Town and other major cities include Stellenbosch, Worcester, Paarl, and George.

The Western Cape is exceptionally topographically diverse. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains of Permian to Carboniferous age that range in height from 1000m to 2300m. The valleys between ranges are generally very fertile and contains alluvial loamy to clay soils.

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. The Western Cape is also the southernmost region of the African continent with Cape Agulhas as its southernmost point, at 3800km from the Antarctic coastline.

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.

Coastline of Namibia and South Africa – November 13th, 2008

November 13th, 2008 Category: Image of the day

Coastline of Namibia and South Africa - November 9th, 2008

Coastline of Namibia and South Africa - November 9th, 2008

Close-up of the Namib Desert, Namibia

Close-up of the Namib Desert, Namibia

In our main image we have the coastline of Namibia and South Africa. The Orange River, below the Namibian Desert, marks the border with South Africa.

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa on the Atlantic coast. It shares borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa (from which it became independent in 1990) to the south.

Namibia’s capital city is Windhoek. With an estimated population 1,820,916, it is the second most sparsely populated country in the world after Mongolia.

Our first image detail focuses on the Namib Desert, for which Namibia was given its name.

The Namib Desert is a desert in Namibia and southwest Angola which forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The desert is Africa’s second largest.

Dunes in the Namib Desert © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Dunes in the Namib Desert © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

The desert occupies an area of around 80 900 km² (31 200 square miles), stretching about 1000 miles (1,600 km) along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia.

The area is considered to be one of the oldest deserts in the world. It has less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) of rain annually and is almost completely barren.

The interaction between the water-laden air coming from the sea via southerly winds, some of the strongest of any coastal desert, and the dry air of the desert causes immense fogs and strong currents, causing sailors to lose their way or to become shipwrecked. Such a fog cloud is visible off the coast in our image.

Phytoplankton off the shore of South Africa

Phytoplankton off the shore of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa, on the other hand, is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The South African coast stretches 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) and borders both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. As of midyear 2007, the South African population was estimated at 47.9 million.

In this close-up image we can see a phytoplankton bloom off the Atlantic Coast of South Africa, to the northwest of the Cape of Good Hope. The city of Cape Town is also visible.

This region has a dramatically different climate from that of the desertous region of Namibia we were observing previously: the Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons. In winter, which lasts from May to September, large cold fronts come across from the Atlantic Ocean with heavy precipitation and strong north-westerly winds. Most of the city’s annual rainfall occurs in wintertime. Summer, which lasts from November to March, is warm and dry.

source Wikipedia

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

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