50 Sights to See Before It’s Too Late…
50 Sights to See Before It’s Too Late…
How many have you seen?
1. Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo - Not only are European oil and gas companies threatening to destroy the natural habitatof the Mountain Gorillas who live here but with the growing human population the risk of poaching and fatal diseases is ever increasing. Once these creatures are extinct, this habitat will never be the same again.
2. The Dead Sea, Jordan Rift Valley - Shrinking by a metre a year, the Dead Sea is in danger of drying up completely. Since the majority of its water sources have been cut off, polluted or diverted, the sea is now 160ft from the original beach line with a depression of more than 418m below sea level. It is believed it will be gone in as little as 10 years’ time.
3. Rainforest of Sumatra, Indonesia - This 2.5 million hectare tropical rainforest is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the world, including the majestic Sumatran orangutan, and is threatened by illegal logging, poaching, building plans and climate change.
4. Chan Chan, Peru - This dusty expanse of city ruins, complete with intricate wall carvings and elements of extreme archaeological importance, is at risk of being lost forever, due to harsh weather conditions, earthquakes and looting.
5. The Maldives - Most of the Maldives tropical islands are only a meter above sea level making it the lowest country in the world. With the impact of global warming, they could disappear entirely within a hundred years; making it the third most endangered nation.
6. Taj Mahal, India - India’s main attraction may be closing its majestic doors. Heavy footfall has caused damage to the tomb’s architecture, causing authorities to consider closing the attraction. A decrease in water is affecting its wooden foundations while air pollution and tourists ruin the walls. A mainstay of bucket lists worldwide, you might want to hurry. Pollution is also gradually turning the famous white landmark a sickly yellow.
7. Kyoto, Japan - This ancient city is being thrust into the 21st century through urban expansion and development. Traditional Machiya houses, with their exquisite architecture are being demolished to make way for the future.
8. Old Jerusalem - On UNESCO’s World Heritage ‘in Danger’ list since 1982, this area of extreme religious importance is at risk due to potential political violence, mass tourism and low maintenance levels.
9. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia - This one comes as no surprise; global warming and pollution is causing severe damage to the world’s largest coral reef. The loss of the reef will damage ecosystems beyond repair. See it but save it.
10. Furtwangler Glacier, Tanzania - Africa’s tallest peak, sitting on top of Kilimanjaro, has lost 80 percent of its glacier in the past 100 years. It is predicted to be completely snow-free by 2033.
11. Venice, Italy - Sinking at an average of 2-3 millimeters a year, Venice is disappearing. Combined with a constant rise in sea water levels, the eroding stone and the aging and decaying wooden foundations, the city will be submerged sooner than expected.
12. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador - This archipelago of islands and biological marine reserve are home to a plethora of wildlife, including many endangered species. Humans threaten the delicate ecosystem, already disrupted as non-native animal and plant species have been unwittingly introduced and animals poached.
13. Alexandria, Egypt - An ancient Egyptian city that plays host to Egypt’s largest port is expected to be submerged by 2100. Beaches have already been lost in the low lying Nile delta, home to rich agricultural land and accountable for four fifths of national trade.
14. Florida Everglades, USA - America’s largest stretch of subtropical wetlands is threatened by agricultural activity and urban development, which means the survival of many endangered species and the beautiful mangroves of the area are at risk.
15. Lake Baikal, Siberia - The world’s deepest lake, and largest in existence is threatened by an increase in water temperature. Deemed safe because of its sheer size, this may not be enough as it holds 20 percent of global unfrozen freshwater reserves…
16. Tibet - With the Chinese occupants imposing travel restrictions on those wishing to visit Tibet in 2012, it’s conceivable that tourists may find it increasingly difficult to visit Lhasa in the coming years.
17. Oahu Beach, Hawaii, USA - A staggering quarter of the Oahu coastline has already been lost, and an estimated 70 percent of beaches in Hawaii are being eroded, as a direct impact of global sea level rise.
18. Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight, UK - A picturesque village severely hampered by landslides, where over half a mile of land has literally fallen over the cliffs in half a century, including a theme park.
19. Kolmanskuppe, Namibia - Now a ghost town, this small settlement in the Namib Desert in southern Namibia sprung up when diamonds were discovered in the area. When all the precious stones had been mined it was abandoned, and with no one there to sweep the streets the ever-encroaching dunes are literally swallowing the town into oblivion. There’s not much left, so hurry.
20. Jakarta, Indonesia - Indonesia’s capital city populated by 15 million inhabitants is prone to yearly flooding. Controlled by extreme nature, Jakarta is vulnerable to landslides, drought, and tropical storms which put a burden on its future.
21. Christmas Island, Australia - At the beginning of the 20th century, the Yellow Crazy Ant made its way to Christmas Island. Their super colonies spread by 10 feet every day, and destroy everything that dares live in their path.
22. Pompeii, Italy - Can ruins turn to ruins? Ever since the excavations the site has been neglected, and the ancient city is now once again turning to dust.
23. Bhutan - With its tourism industry slowly starting to open up Bhutan is beginning to appeal to the masses. Tradition and culture can hopefully withstand the foreign influence. Visit now to guarantee the purest experience.
24. Aqaba, Jordan - A popular diving site due to the artificial reef (including a submerged tank), this Red Sea site suffers from a major littering problem that might soon lower its appeal.
25. The Alps, Western Europe - The Rocky Mountains have a higher altitude than the Alps who are melting at a rate of 3% per year. Picturesque Mont Blanc, whose peak is the tallest in Europe, has already shrunk by 45cm in the past few years. It is thought that the Alps’ glaciers will disappear by 2050.
26. Jasper National Park, Canada - According to Canada’s Environment Minister Alberta’s Jasper National Park is on the brink of an ‘iconic’ new ‘Glacier Discovery Walk’, right along the Icefield Parkway. Aside from the threat to wildlife there are also fears this construction may increase the acceleration of the Athabasca Glacier, North America’s most visited glacier.
27. Machu Picchu, Peru: This ‘City of the Inca’s’, dating back to 1400, experienced a meteoric rise to fame on the backpacker route. With visitor numbers already reduced on the Inca trail thanks to fears over erosion, littering and disturbance, authorities may think again as a proposed bridge will double day trippers to this historical site.
28. The Arctic Circle - Threatened by a loss of habitat from a reduction in the volume in ice sheets, polar bears are under a real possibility of extinction, where sightings are becoming less common. Pollution and development in the Arctic Circle also play their role in this scenario that endangers one of the true predators in the animal world.
29. Kings Canyon, Australia - This epic gash in the red heart of Australia’s central desert isn’t going anywhere. However, with no safety precautions in place to stop you from walking to the edge of the sheer cliff enjoy the freedom while you can, as it’s only a matter of time before those cordons start getting stapled into the rock and a ticket office springs up.
30. Birling Gap, England -The start of the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are eroding by a metre every year, a rate that is expected to accelerate as sea levels rise.
31. Hierakonpolis, Egypt - Egypt’s oldest, freestanding mud-brick building is collapsing. Both human and natural causes are aiding its demise, as archeologists damage its structure by excess digging whilst torrential rains and wind erode its walls.
32. Tasman Glacier, New Zealand - New Zealand’s largest glacier loses on average 180 meters annually due to its low lying altitude of just 730 meters. A shocking shrink for those who want to see this natural wonder in all its glory.
33. Petra, Jordan - Natural erosion poses an obvious threat to the city but the attraction is also subject to earthquakes, looting and flash floods. Evidence of this can be seen in the Outer Siq where the weather erosion has caused a honeycombed pattern on its walls.
34. New York City, USA - New York City is not in the best location to survive the changes that global warming will bring: Increased risk of hurricanes and flooding due to local currents means it will be one of the first places to see the effects.
35. Asian Rhinos - WWF has launched a campaign to ‘kill the trade that kills the rhino’. Over 373 have been killed this year alone in South Africa for their horns. The Asian rhinos are the latest to be added to the endangered list by the Zoological Society of London with only 100 Javan and less than 200 Sumatran
36. The Running of the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain - In the Western world, where health and safety officers seek to wrap us all up in cotton wool, at the same time warning us that cotton wool can be fatal if inhaled, it can be quite hilarious when it becomes apparent something has slipped through the net. Surely it can’t be long before someone shuts this festival down.
37. Battersea Power Station, England - The half-derelict Battersea Power Station is as iconic a sight in London as St Paul’s and the Big Ben clock tower. Although it is a listed building, and therefore protected from demolishment, the area is due to undergo serious redevelopment, so visit the monumental structure before the atmosphere changes for good.
38. Swayambhunath, Kathmandu - The Stupa which looks authoritatively over the city, and the monkeys that cause bedlam around it, make a visit to the Swayambhunath the best dawn activity in Kathmandu. The city seems quiet from up there.
39. Jerash, Jordan - The Roman ruins which sprawl across Jerash attract tourists north of Amman in numbers. With the price of entry to Petra being so high, Jerash could increase in popularity in the coming years.
40. Komodo Dragons, Indonesia - Protection efforts have improved in recent years, but the Komodo dragon, the largest species of reptile, is still listed as vulnerable. See it in the wild while you still can.
41. Ningaloo Reef, Australia - Quite why this coral reef, located on the west coast of Australia, is so unknown is a mystery, but it won’t be long before people are flocking here in their millions. Unlike the world-famous Great Barrier Reef on the east coast, Ningaloo is so close to the shoreline you can just swim out to it, rather than have to take a boat. Go now while it’s still blissfully unspoilt.
42. Rotorua, New Zealand - The Rotorua wilderness is a place to experience the true drama of nature. The land is constantly changing at Rotorua, so it’s conceivable that it may not give you the same feeling each time you visit.
43. Yellowstone National Park, USA - This famous National Park is a great place to cosy up to the American wild. However, in many Hollywood dramatisations, the volcano beneath Yellowstone’s surface erupts and causes a headache for everyone. Better off visiting before that happens.
44. Negril Beach, Jamaica - Invaded by tourists since 1970, the corrupted coral reefs now offer little protection to the damaging impacts of wave erosion, leaving Negril beach shrinking dramatically in size.
45. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - In the coming years, Rio will host the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s fair to say that it will be busier than ever on the back of these events so visit now before the crowds…
46. Avebury Stone Circle, England - Anyone who’s been to Stonehenge will have bemoaned the fact that they have to peer at the monument at a distance from behind a fence. Thankfully there is an alternative, and it’s in the same country. There is no fence separating Avebury Stone Circle – another Neolithic ‘henge’ monument – from visitors, and what’s more, it’s older than its counterpart. Enjoy the uninterrupted views while you can…
47. Shark Diving, South Africa - Human taste for shark meat means that the ocean’s predators are quickly becoming endangered. Hunted for their meat, fins – a delicacy in Asia and their cartilage for medicine, numbers are rapidly dropping. This and fears over shark diving safety mean seeing sharks in the wild could become a thing of the past. Brave souls should act now.
48. The Amazon Rainforest, South America - Covering over 2 million square miles the Amazon rainforest is home to over a third of the world’s species. An assault on the senses this complex area is under threat from deforestation with 20 percent already now destroyed. At this rate 55 percent will be gone by 2030…
49. Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia - This mountain chain has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger since 1996. Relatively unknown amongst commercial travelers Glada Baboons, Simien Foxes and Walia Ibex are now under threat in this trekker’s paradise.
50. Fiji - As if you needed any further encouragement to visit this picture postcard archipelago of islands, increased flooding has raised the alarm for the future. With rain for 24 hours a day for a whole week increasingly occurring annually, just make sure you don’t book your trip to coincide…
Ningaloo is so close to the shoreline you can swim out to it. Go now while it’s still unspoilt
By Themes (All Destinations)
- Central America
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things " - Henry Miller