The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) has compiled its list of Blue Flag beaches for 2021.
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its standards. The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries.
FEE’s Blue Flag criteria include standards for quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria. The Blue Flag is sought for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards.
Certificates, which FEE refers to as awards, are issued on an annual basis to beaches and marinas of FEE member countries. The awards are announced yearly on 5 June for Europe, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, and other countries in a similar geographic location, and on 1 November for the Caribbean, New Zealand, South Africa, and other countries in the southern hemisphere.
In total, 48 locations make the final cut, with a majority of the prestigious accolades going towards the Western Cape. The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal also have multiple achievements to report.
“Grotto Beach in the Overstrand Municipality and Humewood Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality received a special award to recognize their achievement of 20 consecutive years of these awards. WESSA is committed to continuing its work with local municipalities and tourism operators to grow the Blue Flag programme in South Africa.”
“The programme provides an excellent international standard for municipalities and tour operators to strive toward. Sites flying the Blue Flag are showing their commitment to conserving our fragile marine and coastal environment, raising environmental awareness and increasing sound environmental practices.”
WESSA statement on its 2021 awards
Interestingly enough, the Blue Flag awards also extend to boat tours and marinas. A further ten prizes have been dished out in these categories, with Robberg Express, Oceanic Express, Megoladon, and Megoladon II making it a clean sweep for vessels in the Western Cape – with a total of six marinas also getting the nod: