It’s an unexpected sight on the Tugela Falls Trail in Royal Natal National Park, KwaZulu-Natal. Slowly rising from the chain ladders on the Sentinel is a round, alien ball with 15 eyes, affectionately named Gary. As it moves up another step, it becomes clear Gary is attached to a labouring human who is hauling the piece of technology up to the views at the top of the Amphitheatre. Every two seconds, Gary the Google Trekker’s 15 cameras take a shot that is stitched into a 360-degree vista: it is the "4x4" version of a Google Street View camera, a 22kg backpack of gear that over the course of 12 months has recorded 170 trails and hikes in all 19 South African national parks, 17 reserves and six Unesco sites. Anyone on the planet with an internet connection can now "walk" these routes usually seen only by hikers. Viewers can be transported to Mkuze’s fig forest or the rugged Klipspringer trail in Augrabies National Park. They can even jump the queue to get onto the multiday Otter Trail...

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