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There is plenty of scientific research that explains why humans need nature, but South African writer and photographer Scott Ramsay believes that, at the heart of it all, we need the wilderness because it is our original home. For him, being out in the wild is essential. And, after searching for a long time, the untamed terrain of his home country guided him to a deep sense of belonging and meaning – and a love for South Africa’s natural heritage.

   The country’s national parks, nature reserves and marine protected areas are the finest symbols of this natural heritage. They give South Africans a unique identity. South Africa is the third-most biodiverse nation on Earth, after Indonesia and Brazil. The country occupies only two percent of the planet’s terrestrial surface area, yet it is home to 10 percent of the world’s plant species, seven percent of the vertebrate species and six percent of the insect species.

   Nowadays, the country’s parks are fragments of the wilderness that once existed. However, much has also been saved and nurtured back to its former glory. The goal now is to ensure that more land and ocean is given protection, and Scott feels strongly that - considering South Africa’s remarkable biodiversity - the country needs to lead the world in conservation. It is his aim to encourage this in his new coffee-table book, South Africa’s Wildest Places, of which we take a sneak peek in this week's gallery.

   So enjoy these excerpts and the descriptions, written by the author himself, about each of these wild places. We hope that it encourages you to then turn off your cellphone and step away from the TV screen; to explore South Africa’s wildest places and give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with something larger than ourselves.

   

Navigation: Click on the 'Next’ or ‘Back’ buttons above each image to see the gallery.

    

If you like what you see, you can find out more about the book and the author on the last page of this gallery. And don't hesitate to pre-order his book and explore the 30 finest national parks and nature reserves in South Africa from your living room.