Google unveils virtual tours on maps

Google South Africa today announced the launch of the Mzansi Experience – Discover South Africa on Google Maps – a Google Street View collection that will provide local and international tourists with the opportunity to go on virtual tours of some of South Africa’s top natural attractions.

Using images collected by the Street View Tripod and Trekker, Google has created 360-degree imagery of some of South Africa’s most beautiful locations, and created virtual tours that enable visitors to see the sights for themselves on their phones, tablets or computers.

Elephant - Kruger National Park - Discover SA on Google Maps

Elephant – Kruger National Park – Discover SA on Google Maps

Visitors will be able to, for the first time, visit a family of elephants in the Kruger National Park, take a virtual walk on Table Mountain, admire Cape Point, or take a walk along Durban’s Golden Mile.

Says Google SA communications and public affairs head Mich Atagana: “We are launching this imagery on Google Maps as part of a campaign to showcase the beauty of South Africa as a tourist destination for local and international travellers. South Africa is home to some of the top tourist destinations in the world, home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and home to the Kruger National Park – one of Africa’s largest game reserves. This imagery seeks to showcase the beauty of the country to those who are interested in virtually traveling here, and will hopefully to inspire them to visit in person.”

Google has partnered with SANParks in collecting these iconic images.

Says Reynold Thakhuli: Acting Head of Communications – SANParks, “SANParks is proud to partner with Google Maps, making use of its technology to improve accessibility to South Africa’s natural heritage. Over the last few months, Google Maps has been collecting imagery in a number of national parks in order to bring a broad spectrum of the public closer to exciting wilderness features than they have ever been before.”

This type of 360-degree, panoramic imagery is now available in 66 countries, Atagana says. “We are excited about the many possibilities we have yet to explore, and to bring more useful and beautiful imagery to users around the globe.”

There are more than one billion monthly active users of Google Maps services. Street View imagery is available in more than 75 countries, as well as parts of the Arctic and Antarctica (including penguins).

The Discover SA on Google Maps collection includes:

  • Table Mountain National Park
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Kruger National Park
  • West Coast National Park
  • Lion’s Head
  • Signal Hill
  • Golden Mile
  • Sunset Beach
  • Clifton Beach
  • Hout Bay
  • Llandudno Beach
  • Camps Bay Beach
  • Boulder’s Beach

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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