Category: Blue Flag

Wilderness beach awarded “Pilot Blue Flag” certification

The Garden Routers, more specifically residents of the George municipal area, can be proud of their beach in Wilderness after the beach was awarded a certificate as “Pilot Blue Flag Beach” for this year 2018/2019. Executive Mayor of George, Cllr Melvin Naik, proudly hoisted the Wilderness Pilot Blue Flag on 3 December 2018, during an official ceremony in celebration of this prestigious symbol of quality.

GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services, Cllr Khayalethu Lose (left), and Executive Mayor of George, Cllr Melvin Naik (right), after the flag has been hoisted.

“Blue Flag’ recognition is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known international eco-label and gives local and foreign visitors the assurance that beaches are clean, environmentally sound and adhere to international safety, as well as other tourism standards. The voluntary eco-label is given to beaches that meet strict criteria, spanning four aspects of coastal management:

  • water quality;
  • environmental education and information;
  • environmental management; and
  • safety and services.

Furthermore it includes excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking, facilities for the disabled as well as sparkling ablution facilities. A “Blue Flag” status will ensure that the Wilderness beach achieves effective coastal management and improved service delivery through tourism-generated job creation, education and development opportunities.

Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services at GRDM, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, addressed all stakeholders soon after the “Pilot Blue Flag” was hoisted.

In his keynote address Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services at Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, said:  “One of the ways in which we are working hard to improve the overall quality of our beaches, is by achieving the standards required for the “Blue Flag” eco-label. Striving to achieve this status will also provides us with an added incentive for the safeguarding of the environment of our beaches and for the safety of all those who make use of them.” Cllr Lose continued by saying that he is confident that the beach can achieve the full Blue Flag status, however, “all relevant organisations and officials must work together to make a success of it.  This would require commitment to the environmental sustainability and to further raise the quality of services at the Wilderness beach”.

Mr Clive Africa, Executive Manager for Community Services at GRDM, extended a word of appreciation to all stakeholders who contributed to this achievement and that he looks forward to the continued support from all parties to ensure that the next level as full “Blue Flag” status for the beach, is accomplished.

From left are: Mr Johan Compion (GRDM), Ms Nina Viljoen (GRDM), Mr Clive Africa (GRDM), Cllr Khayalethu Lose (GRDM), Executive Mayor Melvin Naik (George Municipality), Deputy Mayor Charlotte Clarke (George Municipality), Mr Neels Barnard (George Municipality), Mr Walter Hendrikz (George Municipality), Mr Radie Loubser (George Municipality) and Mr Jonathan Britton (SANParks).

Wilderness beach was awarded the full “Blue Flag” status during the 2016/17 season, and with the commitment and true dedication of all the stakeholders, including the Garden Route District Municipality, George Municipality, the South African National Parks (SANParks), the Salinas Restaurant, and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), as well as members of the  community and visiting tourists, it is possible for the beach to again achieve full “Blue Flag” status for the coming season.

What does a Pilot Blue Flag Beach certification mean?

A pilot Blue Flag beach status is proof to the World Tourism Organisation that the beach is striving towards the highest quality of service, and if achieved, the beach will be awarded full “Blue Flag” status for the next 2019/20 season. Some of the strict standards to comply with is the water quality of the swimming area, which is monitored by the Garden Route District Municipality’s environmental health practitioners. All the authorities and stakeholders are committed to stand together to ensure that the strict Blue Flag standards are achieved in order to once again have a full “Blue Flag” status beach next year.

Prestigious Wilderness Blue Flag Once Again to Fly during the 2018/19 Blue Flag Season 

Prestigious Wilderness Blue Flag Once Again to Fly during the 2018/19 Blue Flag Season 

The Garden Route District Municipality is proud to announce that the Wilderness Blue Flag beach has been awarded Pilot Status and will be flying its flag once again during the 2018/19 Blue Flag season. The Garden Route District Municipality, George Municipality and the South African National Parks (SANParks) are committed to the Blue Flag programme, and have put resources together to work towards the goal of achieving compliance of the Wilderness beach with the strict WESSA Blue Flag criteria, and together ensured the successful Pilot status achieved by the beach.

The official Wilderness season period will be running from the 1st of December 2018 to the 31st of January 2019. 

For the coming Blue Flag season, a total of 66 Blue Flags were awarded by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) nationally, consisting of 46 beaches, eight marinas and 12 sustainable tourism boats. Within the Garden Route District, the beaches that were awarded Blue Flag status were the Natures Valley, Singing Kettle, the Waves, the Dunes, the Lookout beach, Robberg 5 (Bitou area), Buffalo Bay, Brenton on Sea (Knysna area), De Bakke, Little Brak, Hartenbos, Santos (Mossel Bay area), and the Lappiesbaai,  Preekstoel, Gouritsmond and Witsand (Hessequa area) beaches, as well as the Wilderness (George), Glentana (Mossel Bay), Jongensfontein and Still Bay west (Hessequa) beaches which were awarded Pilot Blue flag status.

During the coming 2018/19 season, the Wilderness beach will be in full compliance with the Blue Flag criteria by ensuring high standards of water quality monitoring, public safety and lifeguard services, and well maintained coastal amenities, amongst others. The Blue Flag recognition is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known international eco-label and gives local and foreign visitors the knowledge that these beaches are clean, environmentally sound, and adhering to international safety and other tourist standards.

The voluntary Blue Flag eco-label is given to beaches that meet 33 main criteria which is spanning four aspects of coastal management, such as water quality; environmental education and information, environmental management as well as safety and services. The Garden Route District Municipality is continuously striving to provide top quality services to its community and is proud to assure a world class Wilderness beach. Through its commitment to the Blue Flag programme, the Municipality demonstrates a clear coastal vision to conserve our coastal resources and heritage.