The FBNR includes two key vegetation types: Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and Cape Flats Dune Strandveld which are, respectively, nationally critically endangered and endangered.
The FBNR is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area of South Africa. About 240 bird species are known to occur in the reserve, with at least 84 of these breeding in the reserve. A number of Palearctic migrants spend the summer in the FBNR, the southern-most extent of their migration. Of the bird species present, 14 represent 1% or more of their geographic population.
A small population of Hippopotami are also located at the site, these being the only population in Cape Town and one of only a few in the Western Cape.
In addition to being an important conservation area containing endemic and endangered vegetation types and species, the FBNR is used for various recreational and tourism activities such as fishing, bird watching, water sports, picnics and braais (barbeques), as well as educational purposes.
The area is a municipal nature reserve protected under the NEMA Protected Areas Act and excitingly has recently received Ramsar status.
Note: The False Bay Ecology Park encompasses Rondevlei and the FBNR but also includes the the Cape Flats Waste Water Treatment Works (CFWWTW) and the Coastal Park landfill site.
To visit the FBNR webpage and access additional resources click here
To learn about Cape Flats Sand Fynbos click here
To see how fire plays a role in fynbos click here.
To learn why restoration is necessary click here.
To learn the history of restoration click here.
To learn how to restore a critical ecosystem click here.
To learn about important animals involved in restoration click here.
To learn about aliens species that affect rehabilitation click here.
To learn about the challenges of fire click here.
To learn about the success of restoration click here.
All images supplied by SANParks
Due to the March 2015 fires, some Silvermine sections are currently closed to the public and will be opened incrementally subject to progress with ecological rehabilitation and infrastructure replacement. Silvermine East and West sections are now open.
See SANParks website – www.sanparks.org for updates
It is agreed that the future of the site must include a basis of sustainable environmental management, the Vlei being only one visible part of the underlying and interlinked hydrological system in the south-eastern section of the Cape Flats, which includes Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei and Zandvlei. But further than this, it is envisioned that the site must be secured in the minds of local communities as a place of natural beauty for recreation and relaxation, as well as being one of cultural heritage with deep historical connections to local pastoralists and hunter-gatherers who knew the site long before colonial times. Amenities and patterns of use in the space are already beginning to reflect these longer term goals. Events such as the Heritage Day celebration of bird-life are captured in the puppetry parade entitled “Flight of Dreams” (now into its third season) in which schools contribute their hard work and imagination in staging a procession from Grassy Park to the Vlei. The Princess also offers an environment suitable for activities such as running, orienteering or just plain walking along approximately 10km of pathways around the Vlei, while recreational braaiers stick to more sedentary activities.
The vision of these and many more uses of the precinct have saved it from the blight of a shopping mall. It is also finding its way into the foundation of a longer term set of development and management plans and is helping to grow collaboration between the citizens and the local government of the Mother City.
Written by George Davis (2015), Princess Vlei Forum
***Please note that although Princess Vlei is technically outside of the demarcated catchment, historic information suggests that it was once part of this catchment. Also it has major impacts on the water within the Zandvlei catchment and therefore is included as an integral part of the catchment. At the recent Zandvlei Catchment forum meeting (11/11/2015) the Princess Vlei was voted in as an important catchment treasure.
Entering the ocean in the suburb of Muizenberg, Zandvlei is the only functioning estuary on Cape Town’s False Bay coast. It is also one of the most important estuaries for recruitment of fish such as garrick, steenbras and two species of stumpnose.
The surrounding wetland is an important habitat for birds and has 166 species on its official list. It is also a vital habitat for amphibians and about 20 species of reptile such as the Angulate tortoise, Marsh terrapin, Mole snake and Brown water Snake. Porcupines, grysbok, Otters and Mongoose can also occasionally be spotted. The plant life is typical of Cape Flats Dune Strandveld and Cape Wetlands vegetation. Rare or interesting plants include Gadiolus angustus and Salvia Africana-letea.
The estuary was neglected in the past, and suffered from farming, urban development, dredging and the introduction of alien invasive species. The original vegetation has been partly restored through local government and volunteer efforts. There is now an Environmental Education Centre and the reserve is home to the Imperial Yacht Club and Peninsula Canoe Club. SCOUTS South Africa operate their Sea Scout base from there, conducting sailing and rowing regattas there, in addition to various training courses and the annual Kon-Tiki raft building competition. Fishing is popular, with many large garrick having been landed. A standard fishing permit is required.
As Zandvlei is surrounded by an urban environment, as it situated within a City, there are variety of impacts on the Zand estuary and management. Zandvlei is a municipal nature reserve (FBNR) protected under NEMA Protected Areas Act and has a variety of Friends and Civil society groups that play their role in management of the area.
***Please note that recently a protected areas advisory committee has been established for Zandvlei. For more on this committee please visit http://www.zandvleitrust.org.za/art-Zandvlei%20Protected%20Areas%20Advisory%20Committee.htm
Excitingly, some of the greenbelts have recently been opened for mountain biking
Die Oog is a conservation area, belonging to the City of Cape Town, and comprises four distinct but integrated, surviving bio diverse areas:
To learn more about Die Oog click here