A team of passionate South Africans in partnership with Google Maps have trekked the length and breadth of South Africa to map 170 new trails, six UNESCO World Heritage Sites and all 19 National Parks, in a large 360-imagery collect of the country’s wildest regions.
The mighty Otter Trail trail tops of the wishlist of many a hiking enthusiast throughout the world and for most it’s only a dream. The 42km hike runs along the incredible Eastern Cape coastline from the Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley and now the world can walk in the footsteps of so many before, online and in 360-degrees. Of course it’s not the same thing as being immersed in nature, but it allows potential tourists and interested travelers the opportunity to get a taste of what’s to come, and is one of the great illustrations of South Africa’s charm.
The incredible imagery has now been made available in a highly interactive microsite called, South Africa in 360 and uses VR-technology to showcase the imagery in what can be described as a virtual tour of South Africa.
The entire project was envisioned by Andre van Kets, co-founder of local travel company Drive South Africa who saw the potential in the VR-technology to highlight the country’s beauty in a new way.
It forms part of Google’s Trekker Loan Program which encourages anyone to apply to borrow the 360-degree camera technology and help map the planet. The core team were assisted by more than 200 South African volunteers from all walks of life, during the 12-month exploration.
“The 360-images that were captured by the 22kg Google Trekker camera, was supported by amazing drone footage, photographs and videos painstakingly taken by our team. South Africa in 360 aims to create a new window into our country and our interactive microsite not only uses Google’s technology to promote tourism, but also highlights the pride that South Africans have in their land,” remarked van Kets.
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