Latest News - Blue Flag flies on SA beaches

2012/01/16

South Africa's coastline sparkles! Twenty-seven South African beaches have been awarded international Blue Flag status for 2010/11 for excelling in safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and maintenance of environmental standards.

Blue Flag BeachesBlue Flag gives local and foreign visitors the knowledge that their beaches are clean, environmentally sound and adhere to international safety and other tourist standards.

When South Africa joined the campaign in 2001 as the first country outside Europe to participate, Blue Flag began to grow into a truly international campaign.

The voluntary eco-label is given to beaches that meet 14 criteria spanning three aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, and safety and services, which include excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking and sparkling ablution facilities.

Local authorities report a number of spin-offs from being awarded Blue Flag status, including an increase in visitors, improved behaviour on the part of beach-goers, property prices rising for homes near Blue Flag beaches – and visitors enjoying a well cared-for and managed beach.

South Africa's Blue Flag beaches 2010/11

Eastern Cape

Kwazulu Natal

Northern Cape

Western Cape

The Blue Flag is awarded for one year only. Twenty-nine South African beaches were awarded Blue Flag status in 2009, 19 in 2008, 18 in 2007, 20 in 2006, 20 in 2005, 14 in 2004, eight in 2003, eight in 2002, and four in 2001.  The Blue Flag initiative was born in France in 1985, with the first coastal municipalities awarded the Blue Flag on the basis of sewage treatment and bathing water quality. The concept has since grown to include other criteria, and there are now over 3 450 Blue Flag beaches and marinas in 41 countries around the world.

Blue Flag is managed in South Africa by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and participating coastal authorities under the department's Coast Care programme. Coast Care gives financial and technical help for coastal development projects aimed mostly at poor communities, as well as offering education, training and research services.