We all have a bucket list. Whether it’s written down and stuck up against the wall or whether we cherish them somewhere in the back of our minds, everyone knows where they’ll jet off first if they happen to win the lotto. So here are a few more to consider.
What makes these places unique, however, is that certain natural or human induced threats are causing them to change, and in some cases, disappear completely. Take a look at these 10 places to visit before they disappear and perhaps make an adjustment or two to that list.
Also known as the world’s biggest health spa, these waters produce many rich minerals that are used in beauty products. Being 10 times more salty than sea water, visitors float much easier than in normal water.
Major threats: Mining for minerals used in cosmetics, fertilisers and cars, as well as increased water consumption is causing the water mass to shrink.
Did you know: At 417 meters below sea level, this is the lowest place on earth.
Photo courtesy of Laura Padgett.
With an average ground level of only 1.5m above sea level, this beautiful collection of islands form the lowest-lying country in the world. It consists of 1192 islets of which only 200 are inhabited, making it ideal for a deserted island retreat.
Threats: Global warming may cause the ocean to engulf the islands because of their low levels.
Did you know: The Maldives were the first country in the world to hold an official presidential cabinet meeting underwater.
Photo courtesy of Mik Canavan.
These three iconic and ancient structures still boggle the minds of modern engineers. The impressive limestone pyramids were built as graves for the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and are still a popular tourist attraction.
Major threats: Unrestricted urban sprawl from Cairo and the tourist trade of the area are threatening the preservation of these ancient structures.
Did you know: This is the only one of the original 7 wonders of the ancient world that is still largely intact.
Photo courtesy of girolame.
This, the fourth largest island in the world, separated from Africa more than 60 million years ago and its plant and animal life developed in complete isolation inside a magnificent series of rain forests. These, the Rainforests of Atsinanana, boast an incredibly high level of biodiversity and many unique plants and animals. Just think of the Madagascar lemur.
Threats: Forest ecosystems are being destroyed by logging and poaching and only five percent of the island is protected at this stage.
Did you know: More than 80 percent of the island’s natural life is found nowhere else on earth.
Surpassed only by the Amazon, this is the world’s second largest largest tropical forest. It holds approximately 10 000 plant species, 30 percent of which are unique to the region.
Threats: Unsustainable extraction of timber and minerals such as diamonds, gold, oil and coltan as well as illegal bush meat trade is increasing fast as the infrastructure of the area is developing.
Did you know: The Congo Basin spans over six countries and holds one quarter of the world’s tropical forests.
Photo courtesy of Corrine.Staley.
This incredible network of waterways holds Africa’s largest mangrove concentration, spanning about 36 000 km2. They boast an incredibly high level of biodiversity and are very important to the indigenous people.
Threats: Because of the rich oil concentration, about 300 individual oil spills take place every year. These spills are destroying large areas of the mangroves.
Did you know: Approximately 20 million people inhabit the Niger Delta and speak about 250 different dialects.
Photo courtesy of Terra Wha.
These open grass plains boast a large predator population, including cheetah, hyena, lion and leopard. The park is also home to a rhino sanctuary to protect it’s black rhino population.
Threats: The Kenyan government recently approved the construction of a highway, the Southern Bypass, to cut through a section of the park.
Did you know: This is the one protected area in the world that is the closest to a capital city.
French traders founded the city of St-Louis in 1659, and for nearly three centuries it served as the capital of French West Africa. It consists of a very thin strip of land wedged two strips of water at the mouth of the Senegal River.
Major threat: Because of its location, and with storms becoming increasingly harsh, the town is vulnerable to flooding.
Did you know: This town creates a unique balance between traditional colonial architecture and the simple layout and feel of a village.
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Voorhees.
This large, shallow lake lies in between Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon and on the very edge of the Sahara Desert. It supplies water to more than 20 million people living in these countries.
Major threats: Due to water extraction and global warming, the lake is already less than 20 percent its original size.
Did you know: In Chad, the name ‘Chad’ actually means ‘large expanse of water’.
Photo courtesy of Barth1003.
This 7 800 square kilometers of World Heritage Site is the home of the endangered mountain gorilla. It’s dense vegetation creates the feel of being in the true heart of Africa and gorilla tracking expeditions let visitors sit and watch as these gentle giants go about their daily routine.
Major threats: Illegal settlers and local inhabitants destroy large pieces of the forest to create agricultural and pastoral land for themselves.
Did you know: You can also see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat by joining Getaway on a mountain gorilla expedition.
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Tags: bucket list, congo basin, lake chad, madagascar rain forests, maldives, Nairobi National Park, niger delta, places that are disappearing, pyramids of giza, st louis, the dead sea, Virunga National Park