Seal Point, Cape St Francis © Chris Scott

Some three beaches in the Kouga region have been awarded world-class status and the right to wave their Blue Flag Status.
Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay once again got the nod from the adjudicators to fly the blue flag, as well as Cape St Francis Beach. Marina Martinique (a private beach) also received Blue Flag Status. Blue Flag Status is awarded for excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness, and environmental standards.

South Africa’s pristine coastal destinations

As warmer weather and swim season approaches, WESSA celebrates South Africa’s pristine coastal destinations with the coveted Blue Flag and Green Coast status awards today (Friday), solidifying its position as a premier coastal destination.
SA’s top 48 beaches, flanked by six picturesque coastal spots known for their breathtaking natural beauty, are proudly boasting their eco-labels, demonstrating continued commitment to sustainable tourism.

George Municipality

A further four marinas and six tourism boats have been acknowledged at this season’s event at Salinas in Wilderness, hosted by George Municipality – the perfect backdrop for the distinguished gathering who applauded the outstanding contributions made towards sustainable coastal management. The awards also allow for potential Blue Flag sites to participate in a pilot programme, where 23 pilot sites were recognised this year for their efforts in meeting the minimum requirements for Blue Flag status.
Today’s ceremony showcased exceptional initiatives and projects highlighting innovative approaches to sustainable practices, conservation, education, and community involvement. By shining a spotlight on these achievements, the event inspired and encouraged others to embrace sustainable coastal management principles.
The Blue Flag programme has been locally managed by WESSA since 2001 in partnership with the global Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and participating coastal municipalities.
“We are thrilled to host and support WESSA’s Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards 2023/2024,” said George Municipal Mayor Leon van Wyk. “This event not only recognises the exceptional efforts of coastal communities but also serves as a platform to share best practices and foster collaboration in our collective mission to safeguard our precious coastal ecosystems.”

Sustainable Tourism

The awards serve as a benchmark for sustainable tourism where qualifying criteria for Blue Flag and Green Coast status involve a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria which must be met and maintained. By meeting these rigorous standards in water quality, environmental management, safety, and education, Blue Flag beaches, green coastlines and marinas inspire visitors to become responsible global citizens.
Local shark cage diving operator Samantha Hansen, of White Shark Diving Company in Van Dyk’s Bay in Gansbaai, was ecstatic after being awarded Blue Flag status for the first time.

Overwhelmingly Emotional

“This has been an overwhelmingly emotional moment for us, and I can’t help but express how overjoyed I felt. The recognition of our efforts with such a prestigious award was beyond our expectations, and it filled me with a deep sense of accomplishment and gratitude,” said Hansen, whose company provides shark cage diving and bespoke eco-tours.
“We are truly honoured, excited and committed to continue maintaining the high standards that the Blue Flag represents.”
WESSA CEO Helena Atkinson acknowledged and commended the exceptional efforts made by local authorities, communities and volunteers in achieving excellent world-class standards this season.

Great Dedication and Effort

“It takes great dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set out for this prestigious award, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the deserving sites that have achieved the eco-labels,” she said, adding that achieving Blue Flag or Green Coast eco-label was not just a status symbol but an indication of collective effort, commitment and compliance.
“By providing ongoing education programmes and training, we are able to provide citizens the key information about beach quality management at Blue Flag or Green Coast sites. It is also a way to recognise the hard work done by municipalities in providing safe, natural spaces and preserving our natural resources for future generations,” she said.
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