In addition to uncovering more about the world of the big five through every word, every image and every video, visitors can also share this information with ease.
A groundbreaking newcomer has stormed onto the online tourism space: South African Tourism’s big five website is live and ready to amaze. The site, uses informative content, astonishing photographs and videos, and interactive games to bring the big five to life, offering visitors the opportunity to experience these remarkable animals as they have never been experienced before.
“The big five website was born out of the necessity for a virtual space that allows visitors to interact with the most famous members of South Africa’s animal kingdom: the lion, the elephant, the buffalo, the rhino and the leopard,” says Tara Turkington, CEO of Flow Communications. Flow is one of South Africa’s leading communications and digital agencies and the company responsible for the site. “The intention was inspire those who have never seen these beasts to come to South Africa and see them, and for those who have seen them, to come back and see them again and again.”
In addition to uncovering more about the world of the big five through every word, every image and every video, visitors can also share this information with ease. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ capabilities are fully incorporated into the site. High-resolution postcards can also be emailed to friends and relatives using the ‘Send a Postcard’ feature, and high-resolution wallpaper can be downloaded for any desktop or tablet device.
In fact, the entire website has been designed and programmed with both desktop and tablet devices in mind. “The site makes use of the latest HTML5 and CSS3 techniques in order to optimise the experience on mobile devices,” says Richard Frank, the head of Flow’s web development team. “Full-screen videos and images scale responsively according to the size of your browsing window and the quality of your Internet connection. The games on the website have been developed using HTML5 Canvas, a new approach for developing games on mobile devices that does not rely on Adobe Flash, which is not supported on some mobile devices.”
And in order to ensure that all of this information reaches your screen with the speed of a lion, the high-definition videos and images are served via a content delivery network, which has thousands of mirrored servers around the world. This means that instead of downloading the images and video from an international server, they are served from a local mirror closer to you, ensuring fast download speeds no matter where you are in the world.
“Putting together this unprecedented site involved a specialised and talented 10-person team of writers, editors, designers and web developers,” says Tara. “Together, we worked to ensure that every aspect gives you the impression of viewing the big five in the flesh – well, almost. Of course, nothing beats the real thing.”
With this in mind, the big five website has a comprehensive booking feature in place, helping visitors to plan their trip to South Africa, from flights and accommodation to big five viewing options. A detailed map provides information on the parks where the big five can be found.
At the end of the day, the big five website is a virtual tour, one demanding to be turned into a reality.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.