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November 02, 2009

Seven Cape Town beaches get Blue Flag grading

Muizenberg Beach, photo courtesy slack12

The new season of Blue Flag South Africa was launched at Muizenberg on Thursday, October 29, with 29 South African beaches (up from last year’s 19) being awarded Blue Flag status. Seven of these beaches are in Cape Town.

According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, the Blue Flag endorsement is a thumbs up for tourism.

“International travellers have confidence in the Blue Flag indicator,” says Du Toit-Helmbold. “Having as many Blue Flag-graded beaches as we do accurately suggests that the Cape coastline is not only beautiful, but [is also] well-maintained and protected as one of our greatest resources.”

Blue Flag is an international award given annually to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management.

The Blue Flag programme is currently run in more than 40 countries and interest in the programme continues to grow. There are more than 4 000 Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world.

In South Africa, the programme is run by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, in partnership with local authorities.

Blue Flag helps to contribute to the aims of the White Paper on Sustainable Coastal Development.

Says Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk: “It is critical that we offer both domestic and international visitors clean, safe and well-managed beaches. The main catalyst for the increase in the number of Blue Flag beaches has been the opportunities that have arisen as a result of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Municipalities participating in the programme have seen the benefits of having Blue Flag beaches and wish to be in a position to offer and promote their Blue Flag beaches to 2010 visitors and those who plan to return to South Africa in the future.”

Local authorities report a number of spin-offs from being awarded Blue Flag status, including an increase in visitors, improved behaviour on the part of beach-goers and higher property prices for homes near Blue Flag beaches – and visitors who get to enjoy well cared-for and managed beaches.

Cape Town’s Blue Flag beaches

Camps Bay, photo courtesy Ian Junor

Big Bay, Bloubergstrand (new)
Clifton Fourth Beach
Camps Bay
Muizenberg
Strandfontein Beach
Mnandi Beach
Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Bay

Rest of South Africa’s Blue Flag beaches

Yzerfontein Main Beach, Yzerfontein (new)
MacDougall’s Bay, Port Nolloth (new)       
Kleinmond Beach, near Hermanus (back in the programme)
Hawston Beach, near Hermanus
Grotto Beach, Hermanus
Lappiesbaai, Stilbaai
Santos Beach, Mossel Bay (new)
Hartenbos Beach, Mossel Bay (new)
Robberg 5 Beach, Plettenberg Bay (new)
Dolphin Beach, Jeffrey’s Bay
Humewood Beach, Port Elizabeth
Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth
Wells Estate Beach, north of Port Elizabeth
Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred
Kariega Main Beach, Kenton-on-Sea (new)
Boknes Beach, Kenton-On-Sea (new)
Gonubie Beach, East London (back in the programme)
Trafalgar Beach, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast (new)
Marina Beach, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast
Ramsgate Beach, near Margate
Margate Beach, Margate
Alkantstrand, Richards Bay (new)

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