Protected Area Notice- Zandvlei Nature Reserve Closures Adjusted Alert Level 3

Good day,

Kindly be advised that in response to the Adjusted Alert Level 3 Regulations promulgated under the National Disaster Management Act, Zandvlei Nature Reserve is closing all non-gated terrestrial and aquatic sections to the public until further notice. Park Island and the Bird Sanctuary sections shall remain open to the public under the following conditions:

–        Entry is limited to 100 people at any given time

–        Entrants will be required to sanitise their hands upon entry (this shall be provided)

–        Entrants will be required to wear a mask at all times, unless performing ‘vigorous’ exercise- please note that the only exceptions granted here will be to runners and cyclists

–        Social distancing is to be strictly adhered to at all times

–        These sections will be open between 09:00 and 16:00.

–        No organised gatherings will be permitted

Please take note of the amended opening hours above. This Notice shall be in effect until further notice and be revoked or amended based on amendments to the National Disaster Management Act Regulations, which shall be communicated at the time.

Kind regards,

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager:  Zandvlei Nature Reserve

Zandvlei Water Quality Alert

Good day,

Please be advised that following the receipt of results of microbial sampling conducted earlier in the week, we are advising users of the Zandvlei waterbody to avoid direct contact with the water due to elevated e.coli levels. We have conducted further sampling of the waterbody today as a follow-up and will make a decision of whether or not to officially close the waterbody to recreational activities accordingly.

In the meantime, please do exercise caution and avoid coming into contact with the vlei water.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will communicate the latest results once they are received tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager:  Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

Zandvlei dredging

Please be advised that the next phase of dredging activities are due to commence from tomorrow (Thursday 27/08/2020) at Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve as a follow-on to the work performed in June/July earlier this year. The goal of the operation is to remove marine sediment that has accumulated towards the mouth of the estuary, due to seawater intrusion. By removing this sediment, we hope to allow for better hydrological flow both in and out the waterbody.

Of note for residents and users of the vlei is that a large amount of sand will need to be stockpiled in certain sections along the western shoreline of the vlei, along Henley Road. Unfortunately, due to the amount of activity in the area, we will be temporarily closing the playground equipment along Henley Road- we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

From an environmental perspective, dredging operations are by their nature destructive to the benthic habitat, however great care will be taken to avoid unnecessary impacts. Certain sections of Fragmites reeds might be impacted, however Nature Reserve officials will be on site to guide machine operators in order to limit environmental damage. Sandprawn populations may be impacted over the short term but recolonisation tends to occur within 4 weeks post-disturbance. It’s important to note that the longer term impacts of the sediment removal will however be a net-positive to the ecosystem, which is one of the main motivations for the work to commence.

Many sections of the shoreline in the area have eroded quite significantly over time, therefore we shall be including some bank restoration during the operations to create softer edges that are more conducive to local biota, stabilised with natural vegetation.

Attached is a map of the intended excavation area (red), sand stockpiles (orange circles) and shorelines identified for restoration (green). If anyone has any queries regarding the above, please feel free to contact myself on the details provided below.

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager:  Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve
Biodiversity Management Branch
Environmental Management Department
Physical Address: Coniston Park, Coniston Avenue, Steenberg

Residents invited to join City Nature Challenge this weekend

The lockdown version of the City Nature Challenge will run from Friday, 24 April until Monday, 27 April 2020. Residents are encouraged to participate, because even when only the natural environment at our homes are considered, Cape Town remains one of the most biodiverse cities in the world. To take part, participants simply have to upload their findings on the iNaturalist app. Read more below:

High resolution photographs are available here:

The weather forecast for the weekend is sunny, and the City Nature Challenge is an ideal opportunity for residents to discover insects, plants, reptiles, and animals at their residences, be it in a flat, or a garden.

‘We encourage residents to have fun with the lockdown City Nature Challenge this year. It is one way of keeping busy and a healthy distraction. All that is required from participants to take part is to download the iNaturalist app and to search for and record all plants that are growing on their own and the wild organisms that live in and around their houses and properties. Keep it simple, think big or small, whether it be plants in your garden; birds that are attracted to your property or even mosquitoes; spiders, snails or weeds. The goal is to ignite some interest in nature and the environment even during lockdown when we are all requested to stay at home, and inside. Those with gardens can turn a search for bugs into a mini adventure for the kids,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

The City Nature Challenge will not be a competition this year, but rather a community building exercise during a period where most global cities are adhering to various lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19. It is an opportunity for Capetonians and the rest of the world to take part in one challenge over the same weekend as they discover their natural environments at home.

‘I see this challenge as a means of connecting with some form of nature to relieve the stress and anxiety we are all facing at the moment. It is also a time to unite and collaborate with an interesting digital community of citizen and community scientists around the world. Residents can celebrate the simplicity of nature no matter where they are during the lockdown – be it from their gardens, balconies, windows, or any area which attracts some life,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

The City has created a helpful checklist of species commonly found in gardens and suburban areas during autumn in Cape Town. This can be downloaded from the iNaturalist website.

Some of the plants, birds, insects, reptiles and mammals that can be commonly found during Cape Town’s autumn season include the:

·         Cape Honeysuckle and Bietou Bush flower;

·         Red-Eyed Dove and Southern Double-collared Sunbird

·         Cape Autumn Widow Butterfly

·         Marbled Leaf-Toed Gecko

·         Cape Rain Spider and the White Italian Snail

There are many ways to look for nature in your home and backyard – find insects by looking under rocks and logs, or create a ‘beat sheet’ by placing either a pan, sheet or box under a tree or bush to collect the flightless bugs that gather there.

In order to participate in the challenge, participants need to download the app, register and share their observations by uploading all their findings on the app. Observations can be recorded anywhere within the City of Cape Town borders. Participants also stand a chance to win some spot prizes.

Participants may record any plant, animal, fungi, slime, mould or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses) found in Cape Town and should not forget to record the location of their findings.

‘I want to remind all to please adhere to the lockdown rules, and to participate in the City Nature Challenge from their homes,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

Please find the species checklist via the following link:

The iNaturalist website also provides helpful tips on doing the challenge from home via the following links:,)

For more information, contact Eleanor Hutchings at or Tony Rebelo at or visit

Sewage spill

23 March 2020

Please be advised that a sewage spill was detected to be coming down the Langevlei Canal this morning (23/03/20) and entering the Sand river canal. The issue was traced to a pump station upstream and rectified however untreated effluent has entered the system and will soon enter the main Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve waterbody.

Bioenzymes are being applied to the effluent in the Sand river and we shall continue monitoring the spill to ascertain it’s extent and severity but in the interim, we are advising users to exercise caution and avoid the northern sections and shoreline of the Zandvlei waterbody until further notice.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please distribute the above message to your constituents and contacts for dissemination.

Kind regards,

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager: Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve


Please be advised that, as the Management Authority for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve and according to R6(e) of the Regulations for the Proper Administration of Nature Reserves (GNR 99 of 8 February 2012), we shall be CLOSING THE GATED ACCESS SECTIONS OF ZANDVLEI ESTUARY NATURE RESERVE to all members of the public until further notice, as per the direction of the City Manager. 

The closure shall apply to the Northern section of the Reserve (Bird Sanctuary), Park Island and the Zandvlei lookout (formerly known as the Rendezvous). The purpose of this closure is as a precautionary measure to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic. These areas are indicated in red on the map overleaf. 

This decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware that the above actions will cause disruptions and inconvenience to Reserve users. We are entering an unprecedented time that calls for greater awareness and teamwork. It is incumbent upon all of us to support the national effort to reduce infections. 

It is important to note that the Open Access sections of the Reserve and waterbody remain open for use by the public. 


Please be advised that due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, the President of the Republic’s pronouncement on 15 March and directives from the City Manager, we are unfortunately closing the following sections of Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve to members of the public, effective immediately, until further notice:

–          Northern section (Bird Sanctuary)

–          Park Island

–          Zandvlei Lookout (formerly known as the Rendezvous)

This decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware that the above actions will cause disruptions and inconvenience to Reserve users. We are entering an unprecedented time that calls for greater awareness and teamwork. It is incumbent upon all of us to support the national effort to reduce infections.

It is important to note that the Open Access sections of the Reserve and waterbody remain open for use by the public. Please note the official press release below and Protected Area Notice attached.

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager: Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

Biodiversity Management Branch

Environmental Management Department

Physical Address: Coniston Park, Coniston Avenue, Steenberg

Dream Zandvlei visioning exercise

Workshop held at the Zandvlei Sports Club on Thursday 7 February 2019, facilitated by Alan Cameron from Places Plus. The take home message is included here and the full notes is included as a pdf.

The requirement for security of tenure for the Zandvlei Sports Centre, to enable a pivot in how Zandvlei is managed was the single most supported idea at the visioning exercise held at the sports centre. About 22 area stakeholders attended, representing a variety of interest groups and active citizens from the area.

The visioning exercise asked individual participants to share and then prioritise their hopes, but also their fears, for the Zandvlei area so that goals could be set and risks identified. Pink and green dots showed individuals’ primary and secondary priorities while yellow and orange dots showed likely risks and those with a large potential impact.

Several themes arose from the exercise, namely:

  1. Governance
  2. Community involvement
  3. Environmental and ecological

1. Governance

The idea of having security of tenure (5 pink, 5 green) was shared as it may provide a base of operations, a consistent presence in the vlei that could generate activity and be used to host activities and raise funding. This stability would provide a base for more adequate and effective management by the city (4 green) of the whole area.

Adequate funding (2 green) for projects and improvements was seen as necessary, and tied to participants’ level of participation and energy (2 green). Research-driven policy and management would improve meaningful implementation. Using a public private partnership model to effect change was also mentioned. Crime (3 orange, 1 yellow) and traffic congestion (2 yellow) were seen as plausible risks.

2. Community involvement

Community involvement (6 green); adequate, active stewardship and a sense of ownership by user community (4 green) tie directly into the call for: an overall masterplan (2 pink, 2 green); how these communities’ impact on irrigation as well as how development and sewage influences water quality (2 pink). This community involvement would then contribute to a sense of ownership and pride in young people, which would especially be visible in how they engage with visitors. Important tasks were identified as: re-engineering of the mouth and sewage line, solutions to backyard-dwellers’ waste management, and creating paths for cycling, walking and canoeing.

The most plausible risks identified were the City losing the ability to monitor ecological quality (4 yellow) leading to severe pollution (5 yellow) and surprise at the crash of the False Bay fishing industry due to the fish-nursery properties of the Zandvlei estuary being destroyed (4 yellow).

3. Environmental/ Ecological

A functional estuary (3 pink, 4 green) with the situation under control (6 green) characterized by a plastic-free Zandvlei (4 green) and interconnected and extended water ways (3 green) with circular access routes to and from all communities (1 pink) characterize a Dream Zandvlei.

This environment is impacted most by:

  • research-inspired action (3 green),
  • a mix of habitats and beautiful urban design (2 green),
  • sewage systems that have an alternative to dump into the vlei,
  • and a nature reserve system that works to address over-supply of nutrients, invasive species and plastics.

The fish nursery is nurtured and regular patrols of wetlands prevent and clean weed encroachment.

With a broader biodiversity (2 green) and a more diverse flora and fauna (3 green), integrated sporting facilities (as well as for night-time activities), Zandvlei is well frequented and very popular with a shared sense of ownership among users.

Next steps and recommendations

  1. A meeting with the ward councilor to discuss progress and ask for advice.
  2. A meeting with community members not reached in this first meeting – contacts available through Berenice (ZENR) and Sharon McCallum (Dream Zandvlei group)
  3. Better understand the current tenure of the Zandvlei Sports Centre and investigate alternative arrangements.
  4. Look at donor funding bodies that are aimed at a broad array of interests (youth and sporting development, environmental stewardship and conservation, infrastructure upgrades (re-engineering mouth, sewer line, promenade, sports and toilet facilities).

Water quality monitoring

HELP NEEDED: Calling citizen scientists: We are working on sourcing and interpreting data to give a weekly updated ‘dashboard’ of the water quality of the vlei. We need help on generating the data and a way to embed it in an useful way on the website. Keen to help? Please get in touch: Check out other ways to get involved here.

Something along the lines of 

E.coli levels (big circle coloured red/orange/green)

link to what this means

(one or two other parameters of importance)

Bottom line: Smiley face or sad face

Short description

Salinity measurement method (pdf, 300 kB)