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South Nature Reserves

     Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

  • The Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve protects the only functioning estuary on the False Bay coast, as well as small areas of Strandveld vegetation.A group of learners at the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve close to Muizenberg.

  • In the City’s Biodiversity Network Zandvlei is an important “stepping stone” between the Table Mountain National Park and the False Bay Ecology Park.

  • Before the residential areas around Zandvlei were developed (e.g. Lakeside, Marina da Gama, Muizenberg and Steenberg), the land around Zandvlei was used for cattle farming. Today Zandvlei is a popular recreational area for water sports and picnics.

  • Most of the natural vegetation around Zandvlei has been destroyed by farming, urban development, invasive alien plants and dredging of the vlei. Even so, 198 species of plants are found in the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve. Three of these are found only in the City of Cape Town.

  • The City of Cape Town, Working for Wetlands and volunteers from the area are slowly restoring the natural vegetation at Zandvlei. When new housing developments are planned on the Cape Flats, the reserve staff carry out “search and rescue” operations. They collect indigenous plants before the bulldozers move in, and plant them in the local nature reserves.The Cape Flats gonnabos (Passerina vulgaris subspecies paludosa) is critically endangered.

  • About 10 threatened plants survive in the nature reserve, including the Critically Endangered Cape Flats Conebush (Leucodendron levisanus) and Cape Flats Gonnabos,(Passerina vulgaris subspecies paludosa), and the Vulnerable Pienk Trewwa (Satyrium carneum).

  • Zandvlei is a very important habitat for animals:

  • At first, 22 hectares of the northern part of Zandvlei conserved as a bird sanctuary (1977). The name changed to Zandvlei Nature Reserve in 1998.

  • In October 2006, the Provincial Government increased the size of the nature reserve to 76 hectares and proclaimed it a Local Authority Nature Reserve. It is now called the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve.The critically endangered butterfly, Barber’s Ranger (Kedestes barberae bunta) has been recorded at Zandvlei.

  • Wetlands like Zandvlei are very important habitats for birds, both those that live here all year and those that migrate from Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa.

  • Estuaries are important “nursery areas” for many marine fish, e.g. White Steenbras (Lithognathus lithognatus), White Stumpnose (Rhabdosargus globiceps) and Elf (Pomatomus saltatrix). Strict fishing limits apply in Zandvlei to protect young fish so that they can grow and have a chance to breed. Many sport anglers now prefer to “catch and release” fish so that they can enjoy fishing without threatening fish populations.

  • Did you know that catching and removing big fish can threaten the survival of fish species. In the Caribbean, scientists have found that one Red Snapper 60 cm long produces the same number of eggs as 214 Red Snappers 40 cm long! If you are a sport angler, rather take small fish home to eat and put the big fish back so that that they can breed.

  • Zandvlei has an Environmental Education Centre that offers a diverse range of EE programmes.Zandvlei has an Environmental Education Centre that offers field trips for primary school learners. This centre is within walking distance of Steenberg Railway Station.

  • The Zandvlei Trust is a very active Friends Group that helps with conservation, education and awareness projects at Zandvlei.

  Rondevlei Nature Reserve
  Zeekoevlei Nature Reserve
  Cape Flats Waste Water Treatment Works
  Back to listing of South Nature Reserves