South Africa is home to a record number of 66 Blue Flag beaches, marinas and sustainable boating operations for the 2018/2019 summer season, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) has confirmed.
Wessa's Blue Flag programme spokesperson Robert Slater says there are a number of new beaches included in the listings for the new season. A marked inclusion was the ever-popular Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, which Slater says was well deserved.
"They contacted us at the beginning of the year and are full supporters of the Blue Flag programme requirements as it ties in with their objective to be more sustainable in their practices," says Slater.
The 2018/2019 announcement was held in Mossel Bay along the Eastern Cape, which now sees Santos beach back on the Blue Flags list after losing its status last year. Also back on the list is Gouritsmond along the Hessequa Local Municipality of the Garden route. Regulars like Cape Town's Clifton, Garden Route's Nature's Valley and KZN's Willard are all pristine and ready for summer, according to Blue Flag.
In total beach-lovers will have 70 Blue flag beaches to enjoy across South Africa, including both pilot and full beach listings. The Western Cape hosts the most Blue Flag marinas with seven, and Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape rounds the list off to a total of eight in SA.
Pilot beaches are "not required to comply with all Blue Flag criteria but must work towards meeting fundamental elements like water quality, environmental education and information, beach and environmental management, and safety and services within a two year period before they can acquire full status".
View the full list of 2018/19 Blue Flag Beaches, Boats and Marinas
Speaking at the SA 2018/2019 Blue Flag list announcement event, The National Department of Tourisms’, Director of Programme Planning & Implementation, Ms Patience Molokoza said, “Through programmes like the Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards that is implemented by WESSA, we can address the issue of South Africa’s youth unemployment. This programme is meant to capacitate the youth and provide skills training and development. Programmes like these would not be possible if it were not for partnerships with municipalities.
“The Blue Flag project has a number of highlights, we have managed to educate and train more than 14000 people over a period of two years and we applaud WESSA for their involvement in this programme.”
The 24 pilot beaches across, three provinces, will work with Wessa towards the longer-term goal of achieving full Blue Flag status.
The International Blue Flag programme awarded the Blue Flag to 137 sites in the Southern Hemisphere for the 2018-2019 Blue Flag season, including 96 beaches, 19 marinas and 22 boats.
The Western Cape boasts the most beaches with 37 full Blue Flag Beaches. Followed by KwaZulu-Natal, with nine full beaches and seven pilots. The Eastern Cape is very much on the map too with seven full beaches and 8 pilots.
You can also filter the map to search Blue Flag Marinas and sustainable boating areas.
As of 2018, the Blue Flag flies over 3 783 beaches, 698 marinas and 77 boats around the world. The full list of awarded sites will be published on 1 November on the International Blue Flag website. The next meeting of the International Blue Flag Jury will take place on 9 April 2019 to award beaches, marinas and boats from the Northern Hemisphere.