Table Mountain has been elected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the first tally of global votes (along with the Amazon jungle, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Iguaçu Falls on Brazil-Argentina border, Jeju Island in South Korea, Komodo in Indonesia, Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines). Not that I ever thought of the mountain as anything less than a wonder of nature, but it’s nice to know there are many out there, from all over the world, who feel the same.
The results are provisional and all votes will now be validated and independently verified. Once this process is completed (early 2012), the New7Wonders campaign will work with the confirmed winners to organise the inauguration events. It may happen that one or more of the provisional winners announced on the 11 November drop out from the list during the validation process. Chances of Table Mountain dropping out? Around 1%, according to an informed source. “It’s pretty much confirmed that we’ll stay in,” says the source.
The man behind the New7Wonders campaign is adventurer and filmmaker, Bernard Weber. The New 7 Wonders of Nature is the group’s second campaign. It began in 2007 when more than 440 locations were nominated in more than 220 countries through a global voting process. The top 77 choices were short-listed, and with the help of a panel of experts, further narrowed to 28 candidates and announced in July 2009, when the voting for finalists began.
Says Weber, “So many breathtakingly beautiful, natural places are still quite unknown to many, from waterfalls to fjords, rainforests to mountain peaks, freshwater lakes to volcanoes. We are discovering together the incredible beauty and variety of our planet.”
In a statement announcing the provisional results, Weber says: “When the New 7 Wonders of Nature are confirmed they will join the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World in becoming part of global memory for humankind forever.”
The movement began when Weber had an idea to revive the Seven Wonders of the World, much like Pierre de Coubertin revived another ancient Greek concept, the Olympic Games, in 1896 with the introduction of the modern Olympic Games.
The Seven Wonders of the World, selected by Philon of Byzantium in about 200 B.C., included the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Pyramids of Giza, and served as a travel guide for fellow Athenians. The key difference, noted on the N7W website, is that the New 7 Wonders of the World were not chosen by one man, but by millions of people all over the world.
Weber’s next campaign? The New 7 Wonder Cities, where we’ll have the chance of voting for our 7 favourite cities. Now how cheeky it would be if Cape Town makes it to the top 7 in that campaign.
Table Mountain’s new status as one of the 7 wonders of nature is no doubt a boon to the depressed tourism industry, as it will bring thousands of additional tourists to our shores. The downside is the increased environmental impact on the mountain. South African National Parks sure have their work cut out for them. To all trail-runners, hikers, dog-walkers, mountain-bikers and climbers on Table Mountain, let’s help where we can by respecting the mountain more than ever and picking up any litter we come across.
With its new triple status as a World natural Wonder, World Heritage Site and National Park, hiking Table Mountain is now more exciting than ever.