7 of Cape Town's beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status this year, with Big Bay Beach in Blouberg attaining this prestigious status for the first time. Blue Flag status means that beaches meet 33 criteria, spread across four areas: environmental education and information; water quality; environmental management and safety and services. The Blue Flag programme is a voluntary international campaign and award scheme that guarantees tourists that the beaches they are visiting are clean and adhere to international safety standards
Blue Flag is a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.
It is awarded to coastal destinations which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. Over the years it has acted as an incentive to many beach managers to improve the quality of the coast and their hard work has led to a revival of the coastline and beaches around the world. Only beaches that are selected by the respective municipalities are submitted for grading.
A total of 29 South African beaches have been given Blue Flag status this year, which is good news for tourism as it increases the country's desirability and reputation as a world-class destination, said Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. He added that apart from Morocco, South Africa is the only African country which implements the Blue Flag programme, reinforcing the status of our country in the International Tourism market.
Cape Town's Blue Flag beaches, all of which are in easy reach of our conveniently located affordable self catering accommodation are:
• Big Bay beach, Bloubergstrand ; known for its spectacular views of Table mountain across the bay
• Clifton Fourth Beach ; the place where beautiful people go to be seen, and to see
• Camps Bay ; popular family beach and the “in “ place to be seen
• Muizenberg ; with its shallow slope and long rolling waves, an deal beach for surfers as well as bathers
• Strandfontein Beach ; so long that it is seldom crowded, good surfing and bathing as well as angling
• Mnandi Beach ; An enclosed landscaped water park, playground, picnic sites, long sandy beaches good for walking and fishing. Mainly frequented by members of the formerly disadvantaged community
• Bikini Beach, Gordon's Bay ; this small beach nestling under the mountains is beautifully sheltered from the wind and ideal for a relaxed day in the sun
South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to have blue flag beaches, which signifies a high level of water quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety. Cape Town has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country.
Three other Western Cape beaches won Blue Flag status: Grotto Beach at Hermanus, Hawston beach, and Lappiesbaai at Stilbaai.
Durban , popular holiday destination for South Africans from up country , has lost out. The eThekwini Municipality had six beaches on the programme, but these lost their status after unacceptably high sewage-related pollution was detected at five of the city's Blue Flag beaches.
The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which has its head office in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) has been authorised to run the Blue Flag programme in South Africa.
Barefoot in the Sand is the Blog of affordable Cape Town self catering holiday accommodation www.horizoncottages.co.za for the information of visitors.