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In 1992 South Africa co-signed the Convention on Biological Diversity aimed at the prevention of the extinction of species through loss of habitat, hunting and development. Yet, the report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002 lamented that, amongst other problems, the loss of biodiversity continues.

In an urban environment nature is replaced by a built or man-made environment dominated by human occupation. A natural environment would then be the opposite, namely one where nature dominates and human activity is subjugated to or at least mindful of its impact on nature. This latter environment is the domain of ecotourism. In order to understand the natural environment as a tourist resource, one should keep in mind specific tourism attributes such as watercourses and ridges, which run through the continuum from urban man-made environments to wilderness areas. Northcliff Ridge is an example of such a natural attribute set in an urban environment.