Catch up on the most recent travel happenings. This week: the longest elevated cycle lane opens in China; South Africa plans to legalise the sale of rhino horn; the Cape Town Cycle Tour is cancelled for the first time; and Kenya announces a ban on plastic bags.

China opens the world’s longest elevated cycling skyway

The brand new eight-kilometre cycling skyway in Xiamen, China is officially the world’s longest. Suspended five metres above the road, the cycling path was designed by the same Danish firm that built Copenhagen’s Bicycle Snake across the harbour, Dissing + Weitling. The cycling path has been built to cater for the growing amount of locals who are returning to cycling to beat ever-growing traffic jams on the roads. – Source: lonelyplanet.com.

The new cycling skyway in Xiamen
The new cycling skyway in Xiamen. Image copyright Dissing + Weitling Architecture.

South Africa go ahead with plans to legalise rhino horn sales

The South African government are moving forward with their plans to legalise the sale of rhino horn within the country, which will include allowing people to export the products. The plans suggest sales and exports would only be allowed for personal use and would require a permit. Demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam has fuelled poaching in Africa, putting rhino populations at risk of extinction, especially in South Africa. It is believed that rhino horns – which are made from keratin, the same as human fingernails, and have no scientifically proven beneficial properties – can help cure a number of ailments. Rhino horn is currently worth more than gold or cocaine by weight. The South African government argues that their plans would decrease the value of rhino horn by making it easier to obtain, therefore reducing the pay-out for poachers. Environmental groups say the plans will lead to more demand and that the proposal is designed simply for the benefit of rhino horn owners. – Source: huffingtonpost.com.

A wild rhino in South Africa.
A wild rhino in South Africa.

The Cape Town Cycle Tour is cancelled due to wind

For the first time ever, the Cape Town Cycle Tour was cancelled due to wind that reached over 100 kilometres an hour. 35,000 cyclists were to take part in the event – the largest timed cycle race in the world – but wind speed eventually made the race too dangerous to complete. Other factors involved in the decision to call it off included a fire that has spread quickly in Hout Bay and protest action along part of the route. South African supermarket Pick n’ Pay donated all the food and water they’d supplied for the race to the Hout Bay fire victims. – Source: ewn.co.za.

Kenya bans plastic bags

The Kenyan government has announced that they will ban plastic bags from 28th August this year. The ruling means that the production and importation of plastic bags will be illegal, and all shops must use up their stocks in the next six months. The measure has been taken in response to the boom in the use of plastic bags and the impact this has had on the environment and wildlife. Kenya joins other African countries such as Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi in banning the use of plastic bags. – Source: washingtonpost.com.