False Bay Nature Reserve a Ramsar site!

On the 2 February 2015 the Deputy Minister of the Environment, Barbara Thompson, handed over a Ramsar certificate to the False Bay Nature Reserve.

The Ramsar convention was named after a town in Iran, where in 1971 an international convention was entered into between countries to conserve wetlands of international importance. The primary goal of the convention was to facilitate the conservation of migratory birds that travel across the globe, moving between their breeding grounds in the North and the summer grounds in the South. An example of such a bird this is a Little Stint, a small bird of only 40 grams that was rung at Rondevlei and then recovered just over 2 months later in Miskino, Southern Siberia. This is a distance of some 12 000km.

To date, 21 wetlands in South Africa have been designated with this honour, with False Bay becoming the 22nd. Other examples of Ramsar sites in the Western Cape are Verloerenvlei, Langebaan Lagoon and De Hoop Vlei.

In False Bay, our wetlands including Rondevlei, Zeekoevlei and the Strandfontein treatment ponds have all been designated and are now covered by the international convention. Each of the water bodies have differing zonings, with Rondevlei being dedicated to conservation, Zeekoevlei to recreation and Strandfontein to waste water treatment. All these differing functions are held together by the reserve management plan. Included along with these wetlands are the seasonal wetlands in the coastal dune, which are some of the last remaining examples of their type left. Numerous endangered species of fauna and flora are to be found at False Bay Nature Reserve, some found no where else.

The Ramsar designation is an additional layer of protection that “overlies” that of nature reserve and is the highest level that can be afforded to an area below that of a National Park. Otherwise put you may have to try really really (really) hard if you wanted to build for example a Toll road through it …

The process to obtain Ramsar designation began some 15 years ago and was initiated in the community by numerous residents, amongst others, Roger Godwin, Theo & Nicky Stock, Jimmy Baigrie, Richard Cammell, Dee Cranswick and Liz Day.  Our thanks go out to everyone involved.




  1. Charlene Jefferies02-03-15

    Congratulations. Well done! I feel honoured to live next to Zeekoevlei and being able to make a difference by helping to keep it clean.

  2. mea02-04-15

    Congratulations, and I hope that one day Princess Vlei can be included. Could anyone tell me where this excellent picture was taken from?

    • Dalton Gibbs02-04-15

      Hi Mea

      The picture was taken from the southern shore of Zeekoevlei, near the head quarters building and overnight education centre.

  3. Tom Schwerdtfeger02-04-15

    Congratulations to all those who played a part in this fantastic achievement ! Your tenacity is an example to us all.

  4. Trevor02-04-15

    Congratulations and thanks to the above mentioned people for their dedication,commitment and contibution in getting Zeekeoivlei the Ramsar status. It’s just unbelieveable that that housing project is built on that site.

  5. Julie Farquhar02-04-15

    Yes, well done to Dalton and all those involved for their dedication and efforts. Thank you.

  6. bev ing02-04-15

    such a beautiful area, miss it terribly loved living there with the cranswickes. Miss you all.

  7. Theo Stock02-04-15

    Hi Dalton, quite amasing that it eventually happened ???? Well done for all those who stuck it out and persisted over the years. I guess now to try sort out the muck being dumped in the dunes..

  8. Mascha & Don Ainslie02-04-15

    How fantastic! Congratulations to all those who persisted with this – GREAT effort! We feel it’s a privilege to live in such a special area.
    Thank you, Dalton

  9. Vanessa02-05-15

    An extremely exciting development, well done all tenacious vleibs!

  10. James02-05-15

    This is absolutely brilliant- many of the vleibours have worked overtime here. It is a privilege to live in the best place in Cape Town

  11. Kim Schwerdtfeger02-16-15

    Fantastic news! Wow and all those who have worked so hard for this. We are really very blessed to live here amongst such a fantastic community and such special surroundings. Unique and nowhere else like it! Well done!

  12. Davd02-23-15

    That is great news, I have sailed at Zeekeoivlei and it is an amazing place.

    We are working towards getting the Zwartkops River in the Eastern Cape recognized as a RAMSAR site.

  13. Dee02-24-15

    This is an example of what we can achieve as a team!

    We have to stay united all. We face so many challenges, but with team work and robust relationships, we have proved that change can be forged!!

    We now really need our Vlei to be dredged of all the muck & pollution.

    Do we stand together??


  14. Ferdinand Kroukamp09-19-19

    Thank you all those who played a role in making our place a RAMSAR site. The problem we have now is the Cellmast companies want to build highways throughout. Meaning obstruct the path of migrating birds.

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