South Africa’s first Green Coast Status has been awarded to the City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve in recognition of their commitment to preserving the unique flora and fauna along its coastline.
The City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is at the heart of the first Green Coast Status that was awarded to a coastal site in South Africa. The nature reserve is situated in an area that includes approximately 2 000 hectares of pristine coastal landscape, and is home to critically endangered vegetation and boasts a 7 km coastline.
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), the national implementer for the Green Coast Programme, presented the first official Green Coast Status flag to the City’s Environmental Management Department (EMD) and its implementing partner, the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area, during a special ceremony in recognition of their commitment to preserving the unique flora and fauna along the reserve’s coastline.
The Green Coast Status complements the International Blue Flag programme as it allows municipalities to sustainably manage coastal sites outside of traditionally developed swimming beaches.
The Green Coast Zone will initially focus on conservation, sustainable tourism and environmental education along the 7 km of the coastline. It will thereafter be extended to include the dune field along the R27, which already has an established 4 km hiking trail.
More than 200 plant species have been identified and located in this 7 km section during extensive studies undertaken by volunteers from Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW). The Coastal Walk Flower Guide contains photographs and descriptions of the various flowers that visitors can see when walking the Coastal Dune Trail, depending on the season. The guide is for sale to the public but is available for free to schools for educational purposes.
WESSA developed the Green Coast award to recognise rural coastal sites that are managed according to standardised criteria and are able to maintain a consistent improvement of conditions at the site. Green Coast sites aim to protect at least one of three main coastal themes, namely: sensitive habitats, sensitive species and cultural heritage.
The Blaauwberg Hill at the nature reserve is one of the few viewpoints in the world from where you can see two proclaimed World Heritage Sites, namely, Table Mountain and Robben Island.
Eloise Pretorius – Senior Reporter and Anchor, Smile 90.4FM News