31 October 2011

New Blue Flag beaches in South Africa 2011/2012

South Africa’s collection of Blue Flag beaches has grown to 27, with the announcement that 4 new beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for the 2011/2012 season.

Lappiesbaai Blue Flag beach in the Western Cape

We expected all 27 applications to be successful, as these beaches have been working very hard over many years to maintain this high standard. - Ted Knott, national coastal project manager, Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.

South Africa has added 4 beaches to its Blue Flag collection. The country will have a total of 27 Blue Flag beaches for the new season, which starts on 1 November 2011. 
The names of the 17 Western Cape, 6 KwaZulu-Natal and 4 Eastern Cape beaches were announced at South Africa’s Blue Flag Beach, 2011/2012 season launch at Kenton-on-Sea, on Tuesday 25 October.
South Africa's Blue Flag programme recognises beaches and marinas for excelling in safety and cleanliness and, for maintaining environmental standards. This international standard gives local and foreign visitors the knowledge that the beaches are clean, environmentally sound and safe.
In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and participating local municipalities.
Joyce Mabudafhasi, deputy minister of Environmental Affairs, says she is encouraged by the increasing number of municipalities participating in the Blue Flag programme and hopes all coastal municipalities will join it. 'Municipalities with Blue Flag beaches enjoy the benefits of drawing tourists and this boosts their economy,' she says.
South Africa's Blue Flag beaches in the Western Cape are: Bikini, Camps Bay, Clifton Fourth, Grotto, Hartenbos, Hawston, Keurboomstrand (provisional), Kleinmond, Lappiesbaai, Llandudno (provisional), Mnandi, Muizenberg, Robberg 5, Santos, Silwerstroomstrand (provisional), Strandfontein and Witsand.
KwaZulu-Natal's Blue Flag beaches are: Lucien, Marina, Margate, Ramsgate, Trafalgar and Umzumbe.
The Eastern Cape's Blue Flag beaches are: Dolphin, Humewood, Kariega and Kellys.
Silwerstroomstrand, Llandudno and Keurboomstrand beaches still need to complete steps such as ablution upgrading and putting up educational signage before receiving full status. 
The Blue Flag programme is currently run in over 42 countries globally and interest in the programme continues to grow. There are now almost 4 000 Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world.
South Africa’s currently has 4 Blue Flag pilot marinas. The country’s first Blue Flag pilot whale watching boat, Whale Whisperer, will apply for full Blue Flag status next year.