South Africans and Mozambicans travelling between the two neighbouring countries no longer require an entry visa as from Monday April 18, reports Matome Sebelebele of Bua News. The long-awaited reciprocal 30-day visa waiver agreement was signed on Friday, April 15 and witnessed by President Thabo Mbeki and his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebuza during their economic bilateral meeting in Tshwane. Southern African countries that have similar arrangements with South Africa includes Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia, Mauritius, Malawi and Lesotho.
As of the first of June, all vehicles with more than 25 seats or a carrying capacity of over four tonnes will be restricted to driving on the tar roads in the Kruger National Park. The only exception to this is on viewing loops adjacent to tar roads that are less than 200m long, where the driver can see both the beginning and the end of the loop. An example of this is at Sunset Dam.
There are several reasons for this ruling, but the main purpose is to return wilderness qualities to more areas of the park and reduce human impacts. By prohibiting buses from travelling on gravel roads, the roads can be made narrower and require less maintenance.
Guests will also no longer meet buses on the dirt roads, improving their viewing experience. However, the park has said that it is contemplating promoting open safari vehicles on gravel roads for a wilderness experience. The rules were implemented in 1999, but have now been reviewed in terms of the biodiversity and environmental management acts.
Two papers have just been published in the journal Science revealing how dam building has affected the flow of the world's major rivers. The flow of over half of these has been significantly altered, with a corresponding effect on silt loads. The one study assessed 292 river systems, and for the first time considered rivers in the southern hemisphere.
Four of the ten largest river systems have been strongly affected, while the remaining six are moderately affected. The authors pointed out that extinction of freshwater fish could be linked to the dams disrupting their migrations, and that downstream of dams wetlands dry out and the soil becomes increasingly infertile.
Large dams are being planned or under construction on another 46 major river systems, mostly in developing countries. The second study took a close look at what dams do to the silt load in a river. They found that some dams cause some rivers to deposit more silt into the ocean, while others deposit less.