International Forest, & Environmental Development

Forêt Internationale, et Développement Environnemental

MFE 403: Environment and ecotourism

Course Details

Country: South Africa
Eco-geographic and tourist presentation

The Republic of South Africa (official name) is the southernmost country in Africa. It is a large
country with an area of 1.2 million square kilometers, equivalent to 2.2 times the area of France
or 3.4 times that of Germany. South Africa is one of the largest countries in Africa alongside
countries such as Algeria, Congo-Kinshasa, Libya, Chad, Niger, Angola and Mali.

The country is bordered to the northwest by Namibia, to the north by Botswana, to the northeast
by Zimbabwe, to the east by Mozambique and Swaziland. In southeast, South Africa is bordered
by the Indian Ocean and in the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Lesotho located in the center eastern
part is not a province of South Africa, but a small independent state with an area of 30,355
km², which is merely equivalent to that of Belgium (32,545 km²).

South Africa has a very condensed biodiversity. Indeed, the diversity of its landscapes made up
of forest, savannah, beach, mountain, desert and its diversity of animals make South Africa a
complete ecotourism destination. Each end of the country offers a different landscape. In the
North, the Kalahari Desert extends over several countries, including South Africa. The decor is
arid, the rivers are dry, which gives the impression of being alone, at the end of the world. In
the rainy season, the vegetation revives and the trees bloom. It’s a good time to go on a safari
and admire the flora and fauna. In contrast, Cap-Town is a port city, where you can get high on
the cable car and admire the 360° view. From up there, you will see Robben Island, which has
become famous for Nelson Mandela detention. Its remarkable beaches and its view of the
mountains make Cape Town a must-see on a South African trip. Johannesburg is a great place
to learn about apartheid and the history of South Africa. Here, local cooking will awaken the
taste buds of travelers. When it comes to Safari, the must-see Kruger Park is the largest animal
reserve in Africa. It is in this park that the visitor has the chance to observe the Big Five which
are lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes. The lodges provide the opportunity to stay
in the heart of the park and admire the flora and fauna until nightfall. The Zulu region, the wild
land of South Africa, has an unusual setting. Located in the east, it is home to one of the most
important ethnic groups in the country. Shakaland immerses you in this culture full of songs, dances
and traditional crafts.

Educational objectives and articulations

The objective of this module is to allow nature lovers to discover the eco-geographic and tourist
wonders of South Africa (Rainbow Nation). Participants will familiarize themselves during this
module with the challenges of the environment and ecotourism in this country. The articulations of
this module include:

✓ Biophysical and tourist presentation of South Africa;
✓ Fundamentals of the environment and ecotourism in South Africa;
✓ Ecotourism issues and relations with sustainable development in South Africa;
✓ Visiting townships, national parks and hiking on the trails;
✓ Explore major issues, analyze and propose solutions;
✓ Meetings and exchanges with managers, local guides, visitors and local communities;
✓ Safari photo, fishing, partaking part in cultural events

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