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Nature

Mount Roraima: An island in the clouds

Mount Roraima is a tabletop mountain located in the deep rainforest of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park. It serves as the tripoint of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.

One of the series of Pakaraima chain plateaus that rise above sea level, Mount Roraima is the highest peak at 9,200 feet with a 12-square-mile summit area with 1,300 foot high cliffs. Roraima and the surrounding plateaus look like islands floating in the sky.

A roaring beauty that dates back two billion years to the Precambrian era, it is no wonder that Mount Roraima has become known as a lost world. It’s commonly perceived as a home for living dinosaurs to this day so high, flat, and rich in unusual species of plants and animals.

At the top of the mountain also lies rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and caves looking like a picturesque scene out of Jurassic Park.

Categories
Nature Travel

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees

The Grandidier’s Baobabs (Palmate adansonia) are giant trees indigenous to Africa, predominantly on Madagascar’s beautiful island.

Baobabs can live up to 800 to 1000 years with their unique ability to act as a water storage tank—the trees can store up to 32 gallons of water in their thick trunks. Both the animals and locals tap the trees for H20 during the dry season.

The heart of many African remedies and folklore, the iconic Baobab is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.”

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees
Photo: Beth Moon

The 80-plus foot trees have a circumference of 108 feet. They also feature on a 250-meter path called the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar’s Menabe region. The tree is famous for producing surreal white, bat-pollinated flowers as well.

“A Caliban of a tree, grizzled, distorted old goblin with the girth of a giant, the hide of a rhinoceros, twiggy fingers clutching at empty air and the disposition of a guardian angel,” once wrote the novelist Ernestine Hill about the Baobab’s immensity.

Unfortunately, baobab trees are at risk of extinction due to climate change, with more than ten thousand disappearing each year.

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Travel

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

There are two hands at the Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) on the top of Da Nang’s Ba Nang Hills in Vietnam, one to pick up the people, the other to hold the bridge together. 

Suspended nearly a mile high above sea level, the 500-foot long bridge was designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. Said one of its principal designer Vu Viet Anh, the Instagramable scene intends to look like a sparkling thread of “giant hands of Gods, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.”

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

In fact, the stone hands have been on top of the mountaintop for centuries and have aged beautifully over time.

The Golden Bridge is quite simply, the apotheosis of where nature and great architecture collide. See more about Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge in the video below. 

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge
Categories
Nature Travel

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The magnificent Dynjandi in Iceland cascades over 300 feet to give off the impression of an enormous wedding veil

The jewel of Westfjords, one of the most remote areas of the country, Dynjandi waterfall is a set of 7 cascades that span 98 feet wide at the top and 197 feet wide at its base. To get an idea of the waterfall’s scale, take a look at the human in the yellow jacket in this picture. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The Icelandic term dynjandi means thunderous or resounding.

No wonder the Dynjandi waterfall is big and beautiful, one of the most impressive gushing waterfalls on Earth, and even more majestic to see it up close. 

See more images below. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
Categories
Nature Science Travel

How Australia’s Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Lake Hillier in the Recherche Archipelago of Western Australia off the coast of Cape Arid National Park is known for its pink color.

Scientists postulate that the lake’s solid bubblegum pink color results from the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Halobacteria produce red pigments mixed with salt-tolerant Dunaliella Salina, creating a stunning strawberry milkshake color.

The chemical reactions between the salt and the microorganisms make the lake ten times saltier than the ocean nearby.

There are 29 other pink lakes in the world. But unlike other pink lakes that morph into different colors, Lake Hillier retains its pink hue all year round. It’s also safe to swim in.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

The contrast between the bright pink and dark blue ocean water is also striking when viewed above. Learn more about Australia’s pink lake below.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
Categories
Nature Travel

Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world

With a population of 51,803 people, Coron Island, located in the north of the Palawan Province, Philippines, is considered one of the world’s most beautiful islands.

With endless shades of tropical blue, beautiful white beaches, lagoons, and stunning ecological features, including shallow-water coral reefs and freshwater lakes, Coron Island does look like paradise.

On a historical note, Japan used the island as a refueling base during World War II. So there’s known to be some shipwreck-diving tours around as well.

Learn more about Coron Island below.

Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world
Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world
Coron Palawan: The most beautiful island in the world
Categories
Animals Travel

A rare look at a great horned owl swimming through a canyon

Behold this rare video of a great horned owl “swimming” (read: trying to fly) through a canyon in Lake Powell. The great horned owl is a type of force eagle-owl native to the Americas.

The young swimming owl – identifiable by the spot of nestling feathers — accidentally fell from its nest on the cliff edges during a snooze. Luckily, the owl treaded enough water to make it to shore. Surely it won’t be as careless as a grownup.

Known as the “tiger of the sky,” great horned owls excel at hunting using their keen eyesight and powerful talons. The owl can exert 28 pounds of force to split the spine of large prey. Imagine being wrapped in such an intense grip.

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Nature Travel

Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera

The tallest palm tree in the world resides in the Colombian Andes in Los Nevados National Park, amid the Cocora Valley.

Colombia’s national tree, the palma de cera or wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense), stands up to nearly 200 feet tall.

But seeing it is no easy trek — hikers have to walk through a cloud forest that extends six-miles long.

Hosting some of the planet’s most diverse wildlife and surreal landscapes, it’s no wonder that the Cocora Valley reminds people of a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Reaching up into the sky and nearly touching the clouds, the wax palms create a marvelous paradise.

Categories
Architecture & Design Travel

Mirrored ceilings at Zhongshuge bookstores, China

Zhongshuge Bookstore is a popular book chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give off a kaleidoscope effect on the interior. 

However, one of its stores in the city of Chongqing features a magical and elaborate bookcase. The location features a ceiling mirror that creates an optical illusion of intertwined staircases, a magnified room, and an infinity of books. 

Designed by architecture firm X+Living — Zhongshuge bookstores are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?

Photos: Feng Shao/Arch Daily

Categories
Nature Travel

The Devil’s Bridge in Kromlau, Germany

The Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke) is a 19th-century stone structure located in the 200-acre Rhododendron Park in Kromlau, Saxony, Germany

Legend says that not only did the devil build the bridge, but Satan himself should be the only one to cross it. 

What looks like an entrance to a fairy-tale, the arched bridge reflects a perfect circle over the water of Lake Rakotzsee.