The dirt road linking Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina in Madagascar is framed by dozens of rare and ancient baobab trees creating a setting so beautiful and unique that it may become the country’s first official natural monument.
These giant, dry season-deciduous trees (members of the Mallow family), many of which are more than 800 years old with trunks that are over 150 feet around did not always stand alone. At one time the trees dotting the lane were part of a rich forest of the trees and other plants, but the encroachment of modern civilization and increasing populations in the area led to massive deforestation leaving the remaining baobabs to stand in relative isolation. Baobabs are incredibly useful plants, their trunks are harmlessly tapped for water during the dry season and have even been lived in, the young leaves (when reachable) are eaten as a salad vegetable when little else is available, and the nutritious sour brown pulp (tasting somewhat like tamarind) of the hard-shelled fruits is made into a pleasant summertime beverage all over Africa, and is also an ingredient in a Senegalese peanut and couscous dessert pudding called Ngalakh.
The flag of Palau was adopted on January 1, 1981, when the archipelago decided to separate from the territory of the Pacific Islands and it was proclaimed a republic under the protection of the United States. The flag is composed of a pale blue sheet and a yellow circle centered slightly toward the left side of the flag. When the flag is hung it creates an impression that the circle is located right in the center of the flag. The blue color symbolizes the Pacific Ocean that surrounds the islands and the yellow circle allegedly resembles the full moon, which is an important period for the islanders. They believe that activities such as fishing, planting, and harvesting are much more effective during this moon-phase.
The tri-colored lakes of Mount Kelimutu are special because of their natural occurring phenomenon. Due to the ever-changing colors and the varying colors amongst themselves, it is beautifully haunting. The local people here consider it as a resting place for the departed souls. They believed that Mae was a god of the afterlife and those who died will sit by the base of the lakes on their merits in life. Therefore, it is connected to the names of the lake, when translated meant one for the souls of the people, another for the spirits of young people and lastly for the spirits of soothsayers.These lakes change color dramatically and unpredictably from blue or green to red or black, making it one of the natural phenomena to be beheld by many.
The base of the flag of Nauru, the smallest independent country in the world, which has been adopted in 1976 when the country achieved independence, consists of a dark blue sheet. The sheet is crossed by a yellow stripe in its middle and below the stripe and closer to the left part of the flag a twelve-pointed white star is placed. Each chip represents one of the twelve tribes that used to inhabit the island, although two of them do not exist already. Yellow stripe symbolizes the equator and the star depicts the position of the island against the equator. The blue color of the sheet should remind the Pacific Ocean, which surrounds the island. The design of the flag was chosen through a public competition, where a draft of an Australian designer won.
In the midst of the vast, vacant Sahara desert, just outside of Ouadane, Mauritania, lies a 30-mile wide geological oddity known the Richat Structure, sometimes called the “Eye of Africa.” From space, this natural curiosity forms a distinct and unmistakable bulls-eye that once served as a geographical landmark for early astronauts as they passed over the Sahara.
Once thought to be an impact crater due to its circularity, the unusual formation is now widely believed to have been caused by the erosion of what was once a geological dome. Over time, desert weather has caused the dome to gradually shed layers, resulting in the structure’s remarkable flatness.
The flag of Madagascar was inspired by a flag of the tribe Hovo and it consists of three stripes in total. The first stripe is vertical and it is located in the pole part of the flag. The waving part of the flag is filled with two horizontal stripes - red on the top and green at the bottom. Originally, a red-white flag of dynasty Merino symbolized efforts to keep independence during the times when Europeans were colonizing Africa. White color traditionally stands for purity and chastity, red for independence and green signifies hope for better tomorrows. According to another interpretation, green represents the coastal population, white is associated with the family of Volafots and red with the family of Volamens from the 17th century.
Grüner See (Green Lake) is a lake in Styria, Austria in a village named Tragöß. The lake is surrounded by the Hochschwab Mountains and forests. The name "Green Lake" originated because of its emerald-green water. The clean and clear water comes from the snowmelt from the Karst mountains and has a temperature of 6–7 °C (43–45 °F). During winter, the lake is only 1–2 m (3–7 ft) deep and the surrounding area is used as a county park.
However, in spring, when the temperature rises and snow melts, the basin of land below the mountains fills with water. The lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 m (39 ft) from mid-May to June and is claimed to look the most beautiful at this time. In July, the water begins to recede.
The flag of Lesotho has been adopted in 2006 and it is composed of three horizontal stripes of green, white and blue colors. In the middle of the white stripe, a Basut black hat is located. The current flag has replaced the flag used by the military coup in 1987. It was composed of three fields in green, blue and white colors separated by diagonal lines. In the white box at the top left of the flag, Basut shield with a feathered spear was placed. The white color on the former flag represented peace, blue water and rain, and green prosperity. The current appearance of the flag, which has been adopted on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the independence of the country to express tolerance and peaceful orientation of Lesotho.
Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert-like nearly 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations, and cacti-studded islands. Its otherworldly expanse can be observed from central Incahuasi Island. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it harbors many pink flamingos.
The flag of Kiribati, which was adopted in 1979, is composed of six ripples in blue and white colors, yellow sun and flying frigate. All this is placed on a red sheet. Ripples are meant to symbolize the Pacific Ocean, which washes the shores of Kiribati, and the frigate bird in flight indicates domination over the ocean. The flag was adopted the year when Kiribati attained independence from Great Britain. Its appearance is based on the coat of arms, by which the islands were awarded in 1937 along with former Ellicei Islands, currently Tuvalu. Likewise Kiribati was at that time called differently - Gilbert Islands. Prior to 1979, the flag was represented by a blue British official flag and emblem of Gilbert Islands.