Weekend Review: 5 Stories you might have missed

Cape Town – We won’t judge you for spending the entire weekend glued to the 2016 Rio Olympics on the TV. After all, every South African needs to know about Luvo Manyonga – the Mzansi Olympian who leapt to new life and a crown of laurels from a history of drug use

Luvo won silver at the 2016 Olympics on Saturday (or Sunday morning SA time), contributing to SA’s five silver medals at this year’s games. 

On Monday morning, SA's Wayde van Niekerk won the first gold medal for the country in the 2016 Olympics, smashing the 400m world record with a 43.03 run that broke American legend Michael Johnson's world record that had stood since 1999!

Other than the Olympic Games, there were some other goose-bump-inducing events across the globe… 

Here are five stories from the weekend you might have missed. 

World Elephant Day

On Friday afternoon, 12 August, South Africa celebrated World Elephant Day a little differently, when a small group of individuals joined the Conservation action trust to watch flames engulfe a pile of mock ivory tusks, fashioned by local wire-workers.

While the small gathering might seem insignificant, it does highlight the massive need for South Africans to be made more aware of the massive scale of destruction of these gentle giants through poaching. 

It highlights the very grim fact that there are presently fewer than half a million elephants left in Africa. 

READ MORE HERE: WATCH: #WorldElephantDay sees worldwide call to burn ivory stockpiles

Symbolic mock burn. Ivory belongs to the elephants. #WorldElephantDay

A photo posted by Traveller24_SA (@traveller24_sa) on

Thailand is recovering from a series of devastating blasts

Other than the many blasts and explosions experienced this year, for which extremist terrorist movement have claimed responsibility, officials in Thailand have hinted that the recent attacks in the country might have been due to political reasons. 

Deadly, organised blasts in the country on Thursday and Friday, 11 and 12 August, killed four people — all Thai — and wounded dozens in seven tourist destinations. 

Following the attacks, Thai and foreign terrorism experts have suggested the attacks were carried out by Muslim separatists from southern Thailand. It is widely understood that the authorities were casting suspicion upon supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who include the Red Shirts, or the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship in Thailand. 

These critics of Thailand's military government accused it on Sunday, 14 August, of taking advantage of last week's deadly bombings and arson attacks to crack down on its opponents.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Thai junta accused of exploiting bombings for political end 

The whale season has officially started in SA! 

From the biggest land mammals, to the biggest mammals on both land and in the oceans - a photo posted by Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay shows just why we love September in South Africa!

Clearly, the whales are even more excited about spring than us. 

Hermanus, famed as the best land-based hub for whale watching in the world, hosts the annual Whale Festival that attracts visitors from all walks of life. 

This year the masses will arrive for the annual Whale Festival from 30 September to 2 October. The whales, however, do not arrive only for the festival. They grace Walker Bay from as early as June through to November. It is no surprise that Hermanus has been included under the top 12 whale watching destinations in the world byWWF, as you are guaranteed to spot the giants between September and November.

CHECK OUT: PICS: Southern rights are September ready!

Spring has sprung!

The whales are ready for spring, but are you!?

Believe it or not but southern hemispherians are going into the last weeks of winter, with spring coming up! Weather for the coming week already looks drier and warmer than what we've experienced in South Africa in July.   

SEE: Weather Update: High seas ahead of mild week in SA

The milder conditions will certainly cause for the perfect conditions for watching the iconic Namaqua Daisies bloom! SANParks' Namaqua National Park says "the fields and mountains are looking very pretty with water running down everywhere".

This means that if the temperatures would rise over the next couple of days, the flowers will spread like a wildfire! 

ALSO READ: Namaqua Flowers: Recent rainfall promises blooming paradise

Get ready for spring... 

If you need a little spring inspiration, check out the Traveller24 Spring Feature – with insider guides to the freshest spots to hit this flower season. Keep your eye on our Newsletter for more travel planning, budget ideas and insider info for South Africans. 

What to read next on Traveller24

Bring on spring: 50 reasons to get excited!

5 Adventures to put the spring in your step

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