As the anticipation of warmer weather and the swim season builds, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) proudly celebrates the country’s pristine coastal destinations through the presentation of the coveted Blue Flag and Green Coast status awards.
A total of 48 of South Africa’s top beaches, complemented by six picturesque coastal spots renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty, are now proudly displaying their eco labels. These labels serve as a testament to the continued dedication to sustainable tourism practices by these coastal destinations.
Moreover, this year’s event, held at Salinas in Wilderness and hosted by the George Municipality, recognized four marinas and six tourism boats for their outstanding contributions to sustainable coastal management. This acknowledgment demonstrates the holistic approach taken to safeguarding South Africa’s precious coastal ecosystems.
The Blue Flag program, locally managed by WESSA in partnership with the global Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and participating coastal municipalities since 2001, is a cornerstone of these efforts. The program not only celebrates outstanding coastal communities but also fosters collaboration and the sharing of best practices.
Qualifying for Blue Flag and Green Coast status involves meeting a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria. These standards encompass water quality, environmental management, safety, and education, and they inspire visitors to become responsible global citizens.
One particularly elated recipient of Blue Flag status was Samantha Hansen, a local shark cage diving operator based in Van Dyk’s Bay, Gansbaai. She expressed her joy and gratitude, emphasizing the recognition of her company’s efforts as a prestigious honour that they are committed to maintaining.
Beyond these awards, the Western Cape offers a treasure trove of 35 beautiful beaches, each with its unique charm and natural beauty. From the tranquil shores of Silwerstroomstrand to the world-renowned Clifton 4th and Camps Bay, and the secluded allure of Llandudno, the City of Cape Town provides a diverse range of coastal experiences. Muizenberg’s iconic colourful huts, the laid-back atmosphere of Bikini Beach, and the scenic appeal of Melkbosstrand invite exploration. Family-friendly Fish Hoek and the picturesque Overstrand region, with Kleinmond, Hawston, Grotto, and Castle Beach, offer varied coastal experiences.
Moving eastward, Cape Agulhas introduces Struisbaai, followed by the pristine beaches of Witsand, Preekstoel, Lappiesbaai, Jongensfontein, Gouritzmond, and Stilbaai Wes in the Hessequa area. Mossel Bay boasts De Bakke, Hartenbos, Klein Brak, Santos, and Glentana, while Wilderness, Herold’s Bay, and Victoria Bay each have their own unique coastal charm. Further east, presents Brenton On Sea and Buffalo Bay, while Bitou showcases Robberg 5, The Waves, Nature’s Valley, Lookout, The Dunes, and Singing Kettle beaches.