Nineteen extraordinary places were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list this week, including Buddhist temples in South Korea, the forests and wetlands that form the ancestral home of the Anishinaabeg people in Canada, and the ancient port city of Qalhat in Oman. But amongst all the congratulations
At last count, UNESCO’s World Heritage List included 1,073 locations across 167 countries or states. Here, we explore the 12 original World Heritage sites first listed in 1978.
The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.
Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. – UNESCO
Today, Italy is home to the largest number of World Heritage sites with 53, followed by China (52), Spain (46), France (43), Germany (42), India (36), Mexico(34) and the UK (including British Overseas Territories) (31). A total of 37 sites are transboundary meaning they are positioned in more than one country or state.
According to UNESCO, however, location is largely moot. Instead, World Heritage sites “belong to all the peoples of the world”.
Read more from source: World firsts: exploring UNESCO’s original World Heritage sites
West Africa doesn’t get as much attention as spots in southern Africa for bird watching, but that’s more to do with the tourism industries in the countries, rather than the birds that can be found there. And if you’re keen on bird watching when visiting countries like Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon, there are ample opportunities and places to go. Here are the best places for bird watching in west Africa.
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is home to over 1.5 million birds, including 350 different species that spend the winter there. It’s also the third largest ornithological park in the world. The most famous and easiest to spot birds in the park are the numerous pelicans and flamingos.
Xavi Bird Sanctuary, Ghana
The Xavi Bird Sanctuary in the east of Ghana is one of the best places to watch birds in the country. The terrain of most of the sanctuary is wetlands and savannah, and guides can help you spot many of the species including, cuckoo birds, parrots and kingfishers.
Read more from source: The Best Places For Bird Watching In West Africa
When it comes to viewing wildlife in Senegal, the first place you should consider is Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary that’s located on the Senegal River Delta. The sanctuary is on the northern tip of the country (near the Mauritania border) and is nestled in Oiseaux de Djoudj National Park that’s five hours and a half north of Dakar by car. Despite being pretty far away from anything, people routinely make the drive to see this under-the-radar land. And there’s a good reason for it. At 160 kilometers wide and surrounded by water, Djoudj is a wetland oasis for wildlife, drawing million of birds to the area and making it a mind-blowing destination to see them. There are approximately 400 species of birds documented in this unique sanctuary. In fact, it was labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 primarily because of its residents.
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is mainly populated by pelicans and flamingos that stay buoyant and stagnant on the water.
Read more from source: Why You Should Visit Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary In Senegal
From war and climate change to invasive species and mass tourism, the planet’s heritage hotspots are always in the balance. Those deemed to be World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) get official status and protection, but there’s not much even the UN can do to guard against damage to special places in conflict-ridden countries like Syria, Libya, Palestine and Afghanistan.
Each year, UNESCO adds to its List of World Heritage in Danger, but it’s about far more than those threatened by wars in the Middle East. Armed conflict, natural disaster, severe weather, unplanned urban developments, poaching, pollution and even arson can all play a part in threatening the very reasons why a property was initially inscribed on the World Heritage List.
UNESCO’s watchlist — which is supposed to serve as a reminder of the places (now numbering 54) that need protection, and not just a depressing list of shame — has had some rather surprising additions to it in the past year.
When most people think of West Africa, Ghana or Nigeria come to mind. But Dakar, the capital of Senegal and the rest of the country have been the thriving pulse of Francophone West Africa long before Accra was a tourist hotspot. Dakar has always had a vibrant nightlife, tasty bakeries and cafes (thanks, France), and culture to spare. It’s relatively safe, inexpensive, easy to reach from Europe or the US, and did we mention it has miles of beaches? You could definitely spend a week or more here as it does not lack for activities. Here are 15 things you have to experience when visiting Dakar.
1) House of Slaves
Just off the coast of Dakar is the famed Ile de Goree. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was held by the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French and harkens to Senegal’s dark past.
Ambient beaches, palm trees, and a sunny climate are just a few elements that place Saint-Louis, which is the third city in Senegal, a major tourist attraction. With its many ancient buildings, this city is in addition classified as the world heritage site by the UNESCO.
Saint-Louis is a city deeply rooted in history by both Africans and Europeans. Unfortunately as many secondary cities in Africa, it has not been accorded special attention just like capital cities, and little has been done to improve its infrastructure.
Tourism enables people to improve the image of such secondary cities in Senegal often ignored by governments. Tourism has lead to thousands of employment thus enhancing the per capita of such cities.
Often overlooked as a holiday destination, sun-kissed Senegal has a few surprises up its sleeve for those intrepid enough to visit. From seashell islands to surfing sheep, here are a few highlights from the West African nation, which celebrates Independence Day today:
1. It has an island made of seashells
In what is probably one of the world’s most original recycling projects, the seafood-loving Senegalese have made an island out of millions of mollusk shells. Houses, pathways and even graveyards on Fadiouth are made from seashells, which crunch under your feet wherever you walk.
2. They are building a wall
Not a Trump-style “keep ‘em out wall” but a wall of trees, designed to hold back the encroaching Sahara Desert and entice wildlife back to the country’s dusty plains.
In Senegal, seawater seeping into underground fresh water aquifers is slowly increasing soil salinity causing havoc for farming communities living near wetlands rich in biodiversity.
Senegal’s Siné Saloum Delta is a biodiversity hotspot. Just 180 kilometers south-east of Dakar, the UNESCO world heritage site covers some 180,000 hectares, comprising wetlands, lakes, lagoons and marshes, as well as sandy coasts and dunes, terrestrial savannah areas and dry, open forest. It’s home to 400 species and plays a vital role in flood control and regulating the distribution of rainwater for the local people and wildlife.
Lack of fresh water
But due to drought, climate change and the uncontrolled logging of mangrove forests, the ground’s salinity has shot up – threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people living there. One of them is Khadiome Ndongue, a resident of Sadio Ba near the west coast town of Foundiougne.
From dizzying Dakar to vibrant Saint-Louis, Senegal pulsates with rich culture, history and charm.
If you want to experience it all — from bustling cities to sleepy, seaside villages — hop in a rental car, charge up your favourite navigation device or app, brush up on your conversational French and start your road trip across Africa’s colourful western coast.
DAKAR FOR THE MUSIC, ART LOVER
Senegal’s largest city, on the tip of the Cap-Vert peninsula, is an ideal starting place for your journey. Spend the afternoons filling your suitcases with trinkets and T-shirts from the many frenetic street markets. For a more serene shopping experience, head to La Galerie Antenna. This African art mecca boasts an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, masks and jewelry from across the continent.