1. INTRODUCTION

Zandvlei is an estuary located in the south-western corner of the Cape Flats, near Muizenberg, a small coastal town on the False Bay coastline. The reserve was started when 22 ha along the northern shore of the vlei was proclaimed the Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary in 1978. This was enlarged to 204 ha with the proclamation of the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve (the expansion of the boundaries) on 26 October 2006 in terms of Provincial Gazette 6389/27, October 2006 (PN 344/2006). The reserve lies some 20,4 km from Cape Town.The catchment for the Zandvlei estuary falls entirely within the boundaries of the City of Cape Town, and is bordered by the Muizenberg mountain, Silvermine plateau, Constantia mountain, Cecilia Ridge, Wynberg Hill and a less conspicuous watershed along the eastern boundary. It is a relatively small catchment, comprising an area of 92 km2, or 9,655 ha, and is drained by a number of rivers and streams, of which the main ones are the Little Princess Vlei stream, Westlake stream, the Keysers river, Langvlei canal and the Sand river canal/Diep river.These rivers converge on Zandvlei, with the Keysers river and Westlake stream entering it through an extensive reed bed on its north-western margin, while the Sand river canal enters the vlei west of Wildwood Island. The wetland area covers some 60 ha, while the main body of the vlei is 56 ha. In addition, the system includes a marina of 31 ha along its eastern margin, and an outlet channel of 9 ha, which links to the sea on the north-western shore of False Bay.Both the northern and lateral boundaries comprise the 100-year flood line, as shown in figure 1.

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Figure 1: The Zandvlei estuary, comprising the channel, vlei, marina and wetland, with the 1-in-100-year flood line shown

Although the catchment as a whole has a relatively low population, the eastern parts together with lower reaches of the river – including the estuary – fall within a highly urbanised environment. The 1996 census data put the population figure at 10472 for Muizenberg, Lakeside and Marina da Gama alone, while the projections from Thornton and colleagues (1995) suggest that the population for the catchment as a whole could be of the order of 100000.

There is also an increased understanding of the need to maintain the environmental health of Zandvlei in order to optimise the recreational and conservation benefits. In addition, Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve has a strong environmental education programme, which involves both students from local schools and a number of environmental clubs. Local residents are actively involved in the management of the area.

The strategic management planning process that resulted in the development of an Integrated Reserve Management Plan (IRMP) for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve began with the definition of the vision followed by the purpose of the reserve.

This purpose is then supported by desired states for the reserve. The reserve objectives contribute to realising the purpose and desired states. For each desired state, a number of management objectives are identified. These management objectives are then implemented through the identification of outputs. Objectives for each desired state are prioritised for the five-year time horizon of the plan. Time frames, deliverables, performance indicators and targets are then allocated to each objective, or a group of linked outputs contributing to the desired state.

In context, this IRMP is a dynamic document, and the detailed subsidiary plans should be updated on an annual basis or as soon as new information comes to light that may better inform decisions on responsible land management. The IRMP should be updated every five years.

1.1 Aim of the Integrated Reserve Management Plan

The aim of the IRMP is to ensure that Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve has clearly defined objectives and activities to direct the protection and sustainable use of its natural, scenic and heritage resources over a five-year period. The IRMP thus provides the medium-term operational framework for the prioritised allocation of resources and capacity in the management, use and development of the reserve. The IRMP intends to add value and continuity by clearly stating:

  • management objectives,
  • scheduling action, and
  • providing management guidelines.

The planning process for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve takes place against the backdrop of (i) the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) (Anon 2010); (ii) the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Metropolitan Environmental Policy (IMEP) (Anon 20031); (iii) the biodiversity strategy (Anon 20032) and Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (LBSAP) (Anon 20091), and (iv) the bioregion (Cape Action for People and the Environment, or C.A.P.E).

The major elements of the IRMP are this document (overall strategy, vision and context); the detailed subsidiary plans (as required), and the annual plan of operations (APO). The IRMP for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve is supported by a State of Biodiversity report, operational guidelines as well as a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure ongoing implementation and review of the protected-area management activities (figure 2).

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Figure 2: Elements of the IRMP

The IRMP for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve forms part of a tiered series of policies, legislation and related planning documents at the sector, institutional, agency and local levels (see figure 3).

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Figure 3: Legal and planning framework for the IRMP

Where possible, emphasis has been placed on the following:

  • Assigning responsibility for management interventions
  • Scheduling said management interventions
  • Quantifying management costs

This approach is specifically intended to create a mechanism whereby management intervention can be monitored and audited on an annual basis.

The drafting of this IRMP has been guided by a small interdisciplinary Reserve Planning Committee (RPC) comprising the branch manager, the regional manager, the area manager, various specialists, and other interested and affected persons. Repeated drafts of the IRMP were presented to, and discussed by, the RPC before broader circulation for public participation.

Pre-engagement workshops were held with community partners from September to November 2010 with two public meetings to showcase the objectives. This afforded key community partners an opportunity to provide their input at an early stage. Where practical, the ideas and outputs from the workshops have been incorporated into the IRMP.

1.2 Location and extent

Zandvlei is located in the south-western corner of the Cape Flats, near Muizenberg, a small coastal town on the False Bay coastline (map 1 and 2). The reserve was started with the proclamation of Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary of 22ha along the northern shore of the vlei in 1978. This was enlarged to 204ha with the proclamation of the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve (the expansion of the boundaries) on 26 October 2006 in terms of Provincial Gazette 6389/27, October 2006 (PN 344/2006). The reserve lies some 20,4km from Cape Town.

The centre of the reserve lies at the following grid coordinates:

34 05 28.43 S, 18 28 08.28 E

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Map 1: Reserve location in Cape Town

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Map 2: Reserve boundaries

DESCRIPTION OF LANDHOLDINGS AND OWNERSHIP

2.1 Property details and title deed information

The property comprising Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve is owned by the City of Cape Town.

Table 1: Erf numbers for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

Reserve Category Ownership Erf number Hectares
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-85352 131,94948470800
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-124684 2,26811400008
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-123602 0,77991227007
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 0,04014018738
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 0,05624808712
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 0,01788562323
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-156599 0,07769097414
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-85351 24,35781984680
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-0000-27 0,53410778664
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83070 0,60057457822
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-111669 1,14476785416
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83068 4,03632551592
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83066 3,70717940494
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83067 0,13527593306
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84811-2 3,29365394254
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84816 0,97634046867
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84811-1 1,71007232452
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84817 0,54171905756
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84818 0,53078945775
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-84819 0,56170503776
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83049-1 4,02698997203
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83061 0,64063212232
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83054 0,12883326989
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83049-2 0,47439994492
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83045 1,08511694577
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93541 3,30010013179
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93602 0,55322411663
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93404 2,67788510857
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93391 0,63557547974
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-94080 1,15826248261
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93873 1,07301916461
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-112587 1,05022306626
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93942 1,64418467140
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93688 0,81375582485
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-112586 0,37084738644
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-83078 0,57181901054
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-145079 1,57073262854
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-87402-1 1,86839106885
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-93527 0,52924248633
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-94078 2,90715459829
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-85350 0,99103887641
Zandvlei Nature Reserve Protected City of Cape Town 00-145080 1,81067057901
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86195 0,07539308615
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86205 0,07192112978
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86232 0,07104709953
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86222 0,06478426998
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86215 0,06390078640
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86207 0,06610144313
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86240 0,07606138438
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86261 0,06016920979
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86241 0,07254386524
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86220 0,08431195110
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86213 0,07540335810
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86202 0,07133172398
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86194 0,07796841560
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86243 0,06699457936
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86218 0,06237416527
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86219 0,06562031301
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86197 0,06912211613
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86209 0,08943891252
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86196 0,06631180587
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86242 0,07324995910
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86201 0,09734212455
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86223 0,06628233646
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86199 0,07148997017
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86206 0,08012773748
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86221 0,06883094890
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86260 0,03567221694
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86204 0,06939486289
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86203 0,06200782732
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86216 0,07086942899
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86198 0,06267097618
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86214 0,06894626527
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86200 0,07308485806
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86259 0,01755627353
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86233 0,08144577338
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86208 0,07713110225
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86217 0,06320731181
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town CA920-0-2 0,87238117392
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86210 0,10176707026
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86224 0,07269399218
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86212 0,08659454864
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-86211 0,11325758695
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-167864 0,87255885090
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMNA City of Cape Town 00-166091 0,08490512534
Zandvlei Nature Reserve CMA City of Cape Town 00-82622 5,60485400838

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Map 3: Reserve erven

Appendix 1 indicates the Surveyor-General diagrams for the various portions of property.

2.2 Landscape perspective

The reserve falls within the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The CFR is the smallest yet richest of the world’s six floral regions, and the only one to be found entirely within one country. This rich biodiversity is under serious threat for a variety of reasons, including conversion of natural habitat to permanent agricultural area, inappropriate fire management, rapid and insensitive development, overexploitation of water resources, and infestation by alien species. The region has been identified as one of the world’s ‘hottest’ biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000).

In response to this challenge, a process of extensive consultation involving various interested parties, including local government and non-governmental organisations, resulted in the establishment of a strategic plan (CAPE Project Team 2000) referred to as the Cape Action Plan for the Environment, which identified the key threats and root causes of biodiversity losses that need to be addressed in order to conserve the floral region. This resulted in a spatial plan identifying areas that need to be conserved and a series of broad programme activities that need to take place over a 20-year period. Based on the situation assessment and analysis of threats, three overarching, mutually complementing and reinforcing themes were developed:

  • To establish an effective reserve network, enhance off-reserve conservation, and support bioregional planning
  • To strengthen and enhance institutions, policies, laws, cooperative governance and community participation
  • To develop methods to ensure sustainable yields, promote compliance with laws, integrate biodiversity concerns with catchment management, and promote sustainable eco-tourism

The Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E) partnership was formed and works together to implement the C.A.P.E vision and plan by strengthening institutions, supporting conservation efforts, enhancing education, developing tourism benefits, and involving people in conservation. The City of Cape Town was one of the 19 founding signatories of the C.A.P.E memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve is a key node of the City of Cape Town’s biodiversity network.

Future linkages with False Bay Nature Reserve to the east and Table Mountain National Park to the west are a priority for the City of Cape Town, as these form part of the biodiversity network that joins larger protected areas and nature reserves with corridors to provide for the movement of species.

2.3 Physical environment

2.3.1 Climate

The South-western Cape, where Zandvlei is situated, has what is described as a Mediterranean climate, characterised by cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The reserve lies a few metres above sea level, with the water body of the vlei being kept between 0,6and 0,7 metres above sea level during the winter months and 0,8 during summer. The average rainfall, as measured at Muizenberg, is 529 mm per year. The south-easterly wind prevails during summer, with north-westerly and westerly winds during the winter months.

Table 2.1: Average monthly rainfall as measured at Muizenberg weather station (World Weather Online 2011)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
9mm 15mm 15mm 63mm 64mm 79mm 94mm 68mm 44mm 37mm 24mm 17mm

Table 2.2: Actual monthly rainfall measured at Park Island Zandvlei 2005 to 2011

Month 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Jan 26 1 3.5 13 2.5 0.5 7
Feb 4.5 13.5 24.5 16 6 7 1.5
Mar 7 8 22.5 5.5 1 9.5 10.5
April 171 34.5 58.5 13.5 34.5 20.5 28
May 83.5 139 111 91.5 101 181 85
June 126 76.5 182 125 132 111 117
July 59 111 158 224 140 55 31
Aug 139 86.5 145 123 119 38.5 68
Sept 46 27 39 179 65.5 26.5 42
Oct 22.5 23 28 22 43 32.5 22.5
Nov 22.5 27 55 57.5 103 31  
Dec 2 25 15.5 16.5 8 18.5
Total 710 572 843 888 756 533

2.3.2 Geology, geomorphology, soils and land types

Zandvlei is largely covered by sand of marine origin. The surrounding landscape is underpinned by granite rocks of the Cape granite group. Above the granites are sandstone cliffs of the neighbouring Muizenberg mountain that consist of rocks from the Peninsula formation of the Table Mountain sandstones. These sandstones can be described as coarse-grained quarzitic sandstones of the Silurian age (based on fossils elsewhere), and are probably about 400 million years old.

The soils at Zandvlei are characteristically alkaline, having been deposited with marine shell fragments. As a result of erosion processes, the topography of these soils is very flat, with very little elevation across the reserve. Higher points, such as Park Island, have been artificially created during the construction process of Marina da Gama.

The Boyes Drive section of the reserve lies at 52m above sea level, and, being on a mountain slope, has a different geo-morphological character to the rest of the reserve. This is the highest point of the reserve, consisting of sand and rocks derived from decomposed sandstone.

2.3.3 Hydrology and aquatic systems

The Zandvlei catchment falls entirely within the boundaries of the City of Cape Town (map 4), and is bordered by the Muizenberg mountain, Silvermine plateau, Constantia mountain, Cecilia Ridge, Wynberg Hill and a less conspicuous watershed along the eastern boundary. It is a relatively small catchment, comprising an area of 92 km2, or 9,655 ha, and is drained by a number of rivers and streams, of which the main ones are the Little Princess Vlei stream, Westlake stream, the Keysers river, Langvlei canal and the Sand river canal/Diep river.

These rivers converge on Zandvlei, with the Keysers river and Westlake stream entering it through an extensive reed bed on its north-western margin, while the Sand river canal enters the vlei east of Wildwood Island. The wetland area covers some 60 ha, while the main body of the vlei is 56 ha. In addition, the system includes a marina of 31 ha along its eastern margin, and an outlet channel of 9 ha, which links to the sea on the north-western shore of False Bay.

For purposes of the estuary management plan, the estuary is defined as the area from the estuary mouth to the upstream end of the wetlands. Both the northern and lateral boundaries comprise the 100-year flood line, as shown in figure 1.

Landuse in the catchment is highly varied, ranging from light industry to housing, agriculture, forestry and conservation. In general, the more heavily urbanised areas – including industrial and commercial areas and middle to lower-income housing – are situated in the eastern part of the catchment (42%), centring on the Diep and Sand rivers and Langvlei canal. Agricultural land, forested areas and middle to high-income housing are located in the west of the catchment (58%) along the Keysers river and Westlake stream and their tributaries. The light industrial area of Retreat, however, is adjacent to the Keysers river, a short distance upstream of where it discharges into Zandvlei. A map of the catchment, reproduced from the Sand river catchment management plan, is shown in Map 4.

Despite the modifications that have taken place, Zandvlei remains highly valued for its natural attributes and the recreational opportunities it affords. Recreational use includes various boating activities, picnicking, bird-watching, walking and a limited amount of fishing, although bait collection is not permitted. It is regarded as being of regional importance in recreational terms, and hosts a number of sports events, including an international kite-flying competition, provincial canoe championships, and various yachting events.

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Map 4: Catchments, including wetlands and rivers

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Map 5: Biodiversity network

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2.4 Biological environment

2.4.1 Vegetation

Zandvlei has two primary vegetation types, namely Cape Flats Dune Strandveld on the lowland areas, and Cape Peninsula Granite Fynbos on the higher Boyes Drive area. In the extreme north of the reserve and Westlake wetlands area, the vegetation type is in a transition area to Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. There are currently 440 identified plant species at Zandvlei, of which over 150 are alien species (see appendix 2).

Ecosystem status for these vegetation types is as follows:

  • Cape Flats Dune Strandveld – Endangered
  • Cape Peninsula Granite Fynbos – Endangered
  • Cape Flats Sand Fynbos – Endangered

Of note is that all three of the vegetation types mentioned are classified as Endangered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) national assessment, which underlines the importance of conservation areas in general on the Cape Town lowlands.

A complete description of the vegetation communities within Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve, compiled by Dr Patricia Holmes and Dr Tony Rebelo, follows below.

2.4.1.1 Cape Flats Dune Strandveld (Dune Thicket) (Rebelo etal. 2006)
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Distribution: Endemic to Cape Town; mainly coastal, altitude 0–80m, but reaching 200m in places.

Vegetation and landscape: Flat to slightly undulating dune field landscape, covered by tall, evergreen, hard-leaved shrubland, with abundant grasses and annual herbs in gaps. Structurally, strandveld is a tall, evergreen, hard-leaved shrubland, with abundant grasses, annual herbs and succulents in the gaps. Examples of prominent shrub species include Euclea racemosa, Metalasia muricata, Olea exasperata, Chrysanthemoides monilifera and Roepera flexuosum. Strandveld has few endemic species compared to fynbos. All of this vegetation type occurs within the City of Cape Town area, and 56% is transformed.

Geology and soil: Tertiary to recent calcareous sand of marine origin; outcrops of limestone found on the False Bay coast.

Climate: Mean annual rainfall 350mm in north, to 560mm in south

Conservation: Endangered, target 24%; 6% conserved

Cape Flats Dune Strandveld historically covered an area of 401km² within the City of Cape Town jurisdiction. Today, only 180km² of this vegetation type remains, of which 64km² is conserved under formal conservation management.

2.4.1.2 Peninsula Granite Fynbos (Rebelo et al.2006)
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Distribution: Endemic to the City of Cape Town area;lower slopes on the Cape Peninsula from Lion’s Head to Smitswinkel Bay almost completely surrounding Table Mountain, Karbonkelberg and Constantia mountain, through to the Kalk Bay mountains. South of the Fish Hoek gap, it is limited to the eastern (False Bay) side of the Peninsula from Simon’s Bay to Smitswinkel Bay, with a few small patches between Fish Hoek and Ocean View.

Altitude: 0–450 m

All of this vegetation type occurs within the Cape Town area,and 65% is transformed.

Vegetation and landscape features:Steep to gentle slopes below the sandstone mountain slopes, and undulating hills on the western edge of the Cape Flats. Medium-dense to open trees in tall, dense proteoid shrubland. A diverse type, dominated by asteraceous and proteoidfynbos, but with patches of restio and ericaceous fynbos in wetter areas. Waboomveld is extensive in the north, and heavily encroached by afrotemperate forest in places. South of Hout Bay, the dwarf form of Protea nitida is dominant, so that there are no emergent proteoids. Groves of Silver Trees (Leucadendron argenteum) occur on the wetter slopes.

Geology and soils:Deep, loamy, sandy soils, red-yellow apedal or Glenrosa and Mispah forms, derived from Cape Peninsula pluton of the Cape granite suite

Endemic taxa: Low shrubs Cliffortia carinata, Gnidia parvula, Hermannia micrantha, Leucadendron grandiflorum; succulent shrubs – Erepsia patula, Lampranthus curvifolius; herb – Polycarena silenoides; geophytic herb – Aristea pauciflora; graminoid – Willdenowia affinis.

Conservation: Endangered; target 30%; conserved in Table Mountain National Park as well as on the premises of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. However, much of the conserved fynbos has been transformed into afrotemperate forest due to fire protection policies at Orangekloof and Kirstenbosch, and a reluctance to use fire in green belts and on the urban fringe. The effective fynbos area conserved is thus much smaller. A total of 56% has been transformed, mostly in Cape Town urban areas (40%) on low-lying flat landscapes, including vineyards and pine plantations (13%). The most common alien woody species include Acacia melanoxylon, Pinus pinaster and numerous other, more localised invasive alien species, reflecting the long history of colonisation and the relatively fertile soils.

2.4.1.3 Cape Flats Sand Fynbos (Sand Plain Fynbos) (Rebelo et al.2006)
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Distribution: Largely endemic to the City of Cape Town area: Cape Flats from Blouberg and Koeberg Hills west of the Tygerberg Hills, to Lakeside and Pelican Park in the south near False Bay; from Bellville and Durbanville, to Klapmuts and Joostenberg Hill in the east, and to the south-west of the Bottelary Hills to Macassar and Firgrove in the south.

Altitude: 20–200 m.

Nearly 100% of this vegetation type occurs within the City of Cape Town area, and 85% is transformed.

Vegetation and landscape features: Moderately undulating and flat plains, with dense, moderately tall, ericoid shrubland containing scattered emergent tall shrubs. Proteoid and restioidfynbos are dominant, with asteraceous and ericaceous fynbos occurring in drier and wetter areas respectively.

Geology and soils: Acid, tertiary, deep, grey regic sands, usually white, often Lamotte form.

Climate: Winter-rainfall regime, with precipitation peaking from May to August; mean annual rainfall 580–980 mm (mean: 575 mm). Mists occur frequently in winter. Mean daily maximum and minimum monthly temperatures 27,1°C and 7,3°C measured in February and July respectively. Frost occurs about three days per year. This is the wettest and coolest of the West Coast sand fynbos types.

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos endemic taxa: Low shrubs – Erica margaritacea, Aspalathus variegate (probably extinct), Athanasia capitata, Cliffortia ericifolia, Erica pyramidalis, E. turgida, E. verticillata, Leucadendron levisanus, Liparia graminifolia, Serruria aemula, S. foeniculacea, S. furcellata;succulent shrub – Lampranthus stenus; geophytic herb – Ixia versicolor; graminoids – Tetraria variabilis, Trianoptiles solitaria.

Conservation: Critically endangered; target 30%; less than 1% statutorily conserved as small patches in Table Mountain National Park as well as some private conservation areas such as Plattekloof and Blaauwberg Hills. This is the most transformed of the sand fynbos types: More than 85% of the area has already been transformed by urban sprawl (Cape Town metropolitan area) and for cultivation. Hence the conservation target remains unattainable. Most remaining patches are small pockets surrounded by urban areas, for example Rondevlei, Kenilworth, Milnerton, 6 BOD, Plattekloof and Rondebosch Common. Most of these patches have been identified as ‘core conservation sites’. They are mismanaged by mowing, fire protection and alien plant invasion. Mowing eliminates serotinous and taller species, while fire protection results in a few common thicket species (e.g. Carpobrotus edulis, Chrysanthemoides monilifera) replacing the rich fynbos species. Alien woody species include Acacia saligna, A. cyclops and species of Pinus and Eucalyptus. Dumping and spread of alien grasses (both annual and Kikuyu, orPennisetum clandestinum) are also a major problem. Alien acacias result in elevated nutrient levels and a conversion to Eragrostis curvula grassland and near-annual fires. Some 94 Red List sand fynbos plant species occur on the remnants within Cape Town. The endemics include six species listed as extinct in the wild, some of which are being re-introduced from botanical gardens.

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos historically covered an area of 547 km² within the City of Cape Town area. Today, only 77 km² of this vegetation remains, of which only 5 km² is conserved or formally managed for conservation.

(See appendix 2 for complete plant list)

2.4.2 Mammals

Some 23 mammal species have been recorded at Zandvlei (see appendix 3) of which 4 are aliens or domestic species. The mammal fauna comprise species that are linked to the wetland and associated dune habitats of the Cape Flats. This includes Aonyx capensis (Cape Clawless Otter) and Atilax paludinosus (Water Mongoose) in the wetlands, and Galerella pulverulenta(Small Grey Mongoose), Genetta tigrina (Large Spotted Genet) and Raphicerus melanotis (Grysbok) on the dune flats. Of note among mammals is the presence of Felis caracal (Caracal) during 2010, which have presumably moved down the Boyes Drive area onto the reserve.

2.4.3 Birds

Some 168 bird species have been recorded at Zandvlei (see appendix 4) of which 9 are alien, and of which ten indigenous species are listed in the Red Data book. One of these, Circus ranivorus (African Marsh Harrier), is listed as a threatened species. Bird species associated with wetlands make up a large percentage of the species list. The reserve also provides habitat for migrant Palaearctic wader species, a number of which have declining populations. Of concern is the large population of Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard Duck) that have taken residence in the canals of Marina da Gama. This species interbreeds with indigenous waterfowl species such as Anas undulate (Yellow-billed Duck) creating fertile hybrids.

2.4.4 Reptiles

Twenty-four reptile species have been recorded on the reserve, none of which are presently listed as threatened (see appendix 5). One of these, (Ramphotyphlops braminus) the Flower Pot Snake is an alien species.

2.4.5 Amphibians

Seven amphibian species have been recorded (see appendix 6), including two species listed as threatened. Importantly, among these is a breeding population of Amietophrynus pantherinus (Western Leopard Toad). This endangered amphibian forages away from water, and, as a result, moves from the reserve into the urban environment. It breeds in deep water pools during the wet winter months of August and September, and several breeding sites have been found in the north-western corner of the reserve.

2.4.6 Invertebrates

Although no exhaustive invertebrate list is available for the site, 17 butterfly and 4 dragonfly species have been recorded (see Appendix 7).

Of note are two butterfly species, the Kedestes lenis (Unique Ranger) and Kedestes barberae bunta (Barber’s Ranger), which are both listed as endangered. The latter species is a localised endemic, occurring between Muizenberg and Strandfontein on the False Bay coastline. Having been described in the 1950s, it is now probably extinct in the Zandvlei area, and persists only at Strandfontein.

Ficopomatus enigmaticus, a species of tube worm is an important component of the wetland community due to its water-filtering capabilities. Zandvlei also supports a healthy population of Callianassa krausii (sand prawn), which also has filtering activities that contribute to good water quality.

2.4.7 Fish

Zandvlei is the last functioning estuary on the False Bay coastline, and, as such, is connected to the sea during high-tide events. Some 30 fish species occur in the vlei, with 24 indigenous species and six alien (see Appendix 8).

There is only one threatened species, namely Lithognathus lithognathus (white steenbras). Zandvlei contributes towards the protection of this species by providing valuable nursery habitat for fingerlings that are recruited from the sea into the nursery.

Lichia amia (Leervis) are often found in the estuary as adults, and angling records of up to 18.9kg of fish have been recorded.

Of possible concern in the future is the population of Galaxia zebratus (Cape Galaxia), of which the taxonomic status is in flux. Future reclassification of this group of fish may result in a localised species with threatened status.

2.5 Socio-political context

2.5.1 History

As early as the 1600s (but probably also before that), Khoi people used the Muizenberg area as a pastoral home. With the advent of the Dutch at the Cape in 1652, the Dutch East India Company established a cattle farm in the area in 1670. From 1743, the area became one of the first military outposts under the command of Sergeant Wynand Muys, and was originally named Muysenburg (Muys’ stronghold) (see http://www.capetown.dj/Regions/SouthPeninsula/Muizenberg/History.html).

The area around the reserve was also part of the Battle of Muizenberg between the Dutch and British forces in 1795. During the late 1800s, Muizenberg became a popular seaside resort for holiday makers, with a train line linking it with Cape Town and Simon’s Town. In the 1970s, the eastern shore was transformed through the creation of Marina da Gama as a residential area. As a result, banks were fixed with concrete, and excess material was used to create Park Island. Apartheid-era planning has resulted in white-dominated suburbs along the east and west banks, and coloured suburbs on the northern boundary. See Appendix 9 for historical aerial photographs of Zandvlei.

In 1978, the then Cape Town city council proclaimed 22ha of the northern shore as the Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary. On 26 October 2006, City of Cape Town, who had taken over municipal functions, enlarged the reserve with the proclamation of the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve (Provincial Gazette 6389/27, October 2006, PN 344/2006) (www.biodiversity.co.za).

2.5.2 Socio-economic context

The economic activities within the Zandvlei catchment area have an influence on the reserve. These include agriculture in the form of vineyards in the upper reaches, and limited cattle and vegetable farming in the middle section. A light industrial and commercial area is located immediately upstream from the reserve, in the lower reaches. The catchment is small, comprising 92 km2, or 9,655 ha, and is fortunate in not having a sewage treatment works discharging into it.

Middle to upper-income residential suburbs surround the vlei, with formal commercial activities taking place near the mouth. Informal trading occurs along the mouth of the vlei, with trading markets operating on Sundays.

2.6 Protected-area expansion

Zandvlei forms an important link in a conservation network connecting the Peninsula mountain chain with the False Bay coastline. The present round of proclamations incorporates most of the conservation-worthy land that can be linked to Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve. A notable exception, however, is a strip of east-west orientated land along the northern boundary. This area has high conservation value, supporting Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, which transitions into Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. The last local population of the Kedestes lenis (unique ranger) occurs on this site. A road linking the M4 and M5 has been mooted for this strip of land.

3. PURPOSE, VISION/MISSION, SIGNIFICANCE/VALUE

3.1 Purpose of the protected area

Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve is located in the CFR, an area of global biodiversity significance, which contains a unique combination of habitats, ecosystems and species, many of which are either rare or endemic to the area.

Zandvlei conserves the last functioning estuary along the False Bay coastline, as well as surrounding fragments of terrestrial habitat. As such, Zandvlei plays a vital role as a fish nursery area, providing habitat for fish to mature and so replenish fish stocks in False Bay. The three vegetation types represented on the reserve are classified as threatened in terms of the national vegetation assessment.

The purposes of a protected area are described in section 17, chapter 3 of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act.

The purposes of declaring areas as protected areas are as follows:

  • To protect ecologically viable areas representative of South Africa’s biological diversity and its natural landscapes and seascapes in a system of 30 protected areas
  • To preserve the ecological integrity of those areas
  • To conserve biodiversity in those areas
  • To protect areas representative of all ecosystems, habitats and species naturally
  • To protect South Africa’s threatened or rare species
  • To protect an area that is vulnerable or ecologically sensitive
  • To assist in ensuring the sustained supply of environmental goods and services
  • To provide for the sustainable use of natural and biological resources
  • To create or augment destinations for nature-based tourism
  • To manage the interrelationship between natural environment and development

3.2 Vision and mission

3.2.1 Vision

Integrated Development Plan vision

The vision of the City of Cape Town remains as follows:

  • To be a prosperous city that creates an enabling environment for shared growth and economic development
  • To achieve effective and equitable service delivery
  • To serve the citizens of Cape Town as a well-governed and effectively run administration

To achieve this vision, the City recognises that it must:

  • actively contribute to the development of its environmental, human and social capital;
  • offer high-quality services to all who live in, do business in, or visit the city as tourists; and
  • be known for its efficient, effective and caring government.
C.A.P.E vision

We, the people of South Africa, are proud to be the custodians of our unique Cape Floral Region and share its full ecological, social and economic benefits now and in the future.

Environmental Resource Management Department vision

To ensure that sustainable and equitable development is combined with sound environmental practice for a healthy local environment that sustains people and nature, provides protection for our unique resources, and results in an enhanced quality of life for all.

City of Cape Town’s biodiversity strategy vision

To be a City that leads by example in the protection and enhancement of biodiversity; a City within which biodiversity plays an important role, and where the right of present and future generations to healthy, complete and vibrant biodiversity is entrenched; a City that actively protects its biological wealth, and prioritises long-term responsibility over short-term gains.

Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve vision

Zandvlei is a beautiful and important component of Cape Town’s natural assets. It is valued by the local community and visitors alike for recreational, educational and other uses. It is also home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and is used in a way that balances conservation with the needs of users for the benefit of present and future generations.

3.2.2 Mission

City of Cape Town’s biodiversity strategy mission
  • To manage biodiversity proactively and effectively
  • To ensure an integrated approach to biodiversity between City of Cape Town line functions and departments, and actively pursue external partnerships
  • To adopt a long-term approach to biodiversity
  • To ensure the sustainability of our rich biodiversity
  • To adopt a holistic and multifaceted approach to biodiversity
  • To continue to measure and monitor the City of Cape Town’s performance in the protection and enhancement of biodiversity
  • To continue to measure and monitor the state of biodiversity in Cape Town

3.3 Significance of property (biodiversity, heritage and social)

The reserve has been identified as an important node in the biodiversity network, not just in terms of its position and connectivity with other conservation areas, but also due to its biodiversity attributes.

The reserve is an important link between the Cape Peninsula mountain chain, which makes up Table Mountain National Park, and conservation areas along the False Bay coastline. The estuary is unique in being the only functioning estuary in False Bay, and contributes significantly to fish recruitment in the area.

All three vegetation types that are represented in the reserve are classified as endangered in SANBI’s national vegetation assessment.

The reserve also supports several species listed as threatened in terms of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data book protocols. Nine plant, one bird, one fish and two amphibian species are presently listed as threatened in one way or another.