If the state of the rand isn’t sufficient motivation for your foreign friends to consider a visit to South Africa you can now apply additional pressure with the help of Google’s Street View service. Called Mzansi Experience, anyone with an internet connection can now explore 360-degree imagery and virtual tours of some of South Africa’s most iconic and beautiful spots.
Understandably, given how downright pretty it is, much of the focus of the Discover South Africa collection is focused on the Western Cape. Attractions include the Table Mountain National Park, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Hout Bay and beaches including Clifton, Llandudno and Camps Bay.
Other highlights include the Kruger National Park, West Coast National Park and Durban’s Golden Mile.
Google South Africa’s communications and public affairs head Michelle Atagana says the imagery is “part of a campaign to showcase the beauty of South Africa as a tourist destination for local and international travellers”.
“South Africa is home to some of the top tourist destinations in the world, home to eight Unesco World Heritage Sites and home to the Kruger National Park — one of Africa’s largest game reserves. This imagery seeks to showcase the beauty of the country to those who are interested in virtually traveling here, and will hopefully to inspire them to visit in person,” she adds.
The images were collected in partnership with SANParks. “SANParks is proud to partner with Google Maps, making use of its technology to improve accessibility to South Africa’s natural heritage,” says Reynold Thakhuli, the organisations acting head of communications. “Over the last few months, Google Maps has been collecting imagery in a number of national parks in order to bring a broad spectrum of the public closer to exciting wilderness features than they have ever been before.”
Google’s got a long history of using Street View for virtual tours and the like. It’s been used to showcase Canadian polar bears, post-tsunami Fukushima in Japan, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the South Pole, and the Amazon.
For added awesome, we recommend downloading the Google Maps app for Android or iOS adding a VR headset (like the cardboard one Mini dealerships are dishing out) to the experience.