Most often, the news from Africa that reaches us is about military, ethnic or economic conflict, while the beauty and natural richness of the continent is overlooked.
World’s largest mineral reserves of oil, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, and uranium
Africa’s lands hold some of the world’s largest mineral reserves of oil, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, and uranium, among others. Given its diverse landforms and vast territory, which includes deserts, plains, tropical forests and mountains, a broad range of plants and animals live here.
In this varied land, places exist of great natural, social, cultural, and historical value, which have been recognized as exceptionally valuable by The United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO).
Ninety of the 1,000 World Heritage Sites designated by the organization around the planet, are located on the African continent: 41 are natural sites and five cross national borders. Currently, 14 are considered endangered.
Some of these locations are internationally renowned, as is the case with Victoria Falls, among the world’s most spectacular. A World Heritage site since 1989, the falls are located between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kilimanjaro National Park, in Tanzania
Kilimanjaro National Park, in Tanzania, was added to the list in 1987. The volcanic peak reaching an altitude of 5,895 meters is considered the continent’s roof. Also in Tanzania is Serengeti National Park, recognized in 1981, which included some 1.5 million hectares of savannah.
To be designated a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, several requisites must be met, including, for example, that the area features different periods of the Earth’s history, or geological landforms of special interest.
Likewise a recognized site may contain extraordinary natural phenomenon or areas of exceptional natural beauty. Also taken into consideration by UNESCO are natural habitats of critical importance to conserving biological diversity, including those where endangered species of scientific interest live.
The fact that 14 of Africa’s World Heritage Sites are at risk serves as an alert, a call for proposals to protect such places, here and around the world.
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