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Cape West Coast Trails The Cape West Coast Biosphere are launching
5 new exciting trails! The aim of the Cape West Coast Trails is to improve the well-being of communities living within the Biosphere Reserve boundary. Guides, caterers, drivers as well as accommodation and meals in restaurants have been sourced in these communities.
Become a Member Our membership portal is a global first in Biosphere Sustainability; your membership underwrites your intent and support to the success of our Biodiversity Projects, our Region and the maintenance of an ecological balance for future sustainability, for all.

We provide specific membership categories that facilitate public, institutional and commercial membership.

Welcome to the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve

From 2000, the West Coast stretching from the Milnerton Diep River in the South to the Berg River in the North became a Biosphere Reserve; this new status requires us that live here and those that visit to participate actively in the process to reach the objectives that all Biosphere Reserves must fulfill.

Research: Partners in Conservation

Cape Town Research & Conservation Initiative

There is a great need for conservation action on the West Coast. The West Coast is faced with serious development pressure threatening the unique remaining biodiversity. The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve has signed an MOU with the CTRCI (Cape Town Research and Conservation Initiative).

The CTRCI enrol volunteers from abroad to gain experience in conservation and research in South Africa (baseline data collection, research assistance, assistance with conservation projects, beach clean-ups and more). They have been working in Madagascar for some time and they have now started a Cape Town Office.

They will house approximately 30 volunteers on an ongoing basis.

The West Coast Biosphere is their area of focus and the volunteers can expect to be involved in an array of exciting priority conservation and research projects focused on sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. The CTRCI will be the first volunteer program of their kind that includes sustainable development projects and not only the wildlife side of things as per the norm.

The database as well as all research originating from this collaboration will be freely available to civil society and all partners in conservation and research. This is a great vehicle for addressing important research questions and conservation issues on the West Coast that can only grow from strength to strength. Volunteers will be working at the forefront of real world conservation issues making invaluable contributions to responsible conservation management on the West Coast.

Please visit the CTRCI Website for more information

Conservation Stewardship

Conservation Stewardship


It has been estimated that approximately 80% of scarce and threatened natural habitat in South Africa is located on land that is not formally protected. Cape Nature realised that in order to ensure that conservation targets for threatened habitats are met, they cannot only rely on the proclamation of state-owned protected areas and thereby the Conservation Stewardship Programme was initiated.

The Conservation Stewardship Programme aims to create partnerships between landowners and CapeNature to ensure that the security and appropriate management of endangered ecosystems is achieved ¹. Cape Nature has designated extension officers specifically for the purpose of brokering contracts with landowners. The extension officer's role however encompasses more than purely signing of contracts, as the programme aims to broadly enhance relationships between landowners and conservation agencies and to increase awareness regarding environmental issues and management of land in a sustainable manner.

Role of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve has placed itself in a unique situation where a civil society based organisation is facilitating stewardship contracts on behalf of CapeNature. The Biosphere Reserve is located in area which contains habitats of global significance.

The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is one of the listed global bio diversity hotspots according to Conservation International. Within the CFR, the lowland habitats are much more threatened than the mountain habitats due their suitability for agriculture and urbanization. The lowland habitats of the CFR have been reduced to small fragments throughout their range. A significant proportion of the lowland CFR habitats are located on the West Coast. Only a small proportion of the habitats are formally protected. Therefore Stewardship will play a vital role in the conservation of these habitat fragments.

What is Stewardship?

Stewardship refers to the "wise use, management and protection of that which has been entrusted to you. Within the context of conservation, stewardship means wisely using natural resources that you have been entrusted with on your property, protecting important ecosystems, effectively managing alien invasive species and fires, and grazing or harvesting without damaging the veld."¹
The vision of Stewardship¹

The vision of the Stewardship Program is threefold:

  • To ensure that privately owned areas with high bio diversity value receive secure conservation status and are linked to a network of other conservation areas in the landscape.
  • To ensure that landowners who commit their property to a stewardship option, will enjoy tangible benefits for their conservation actions.
  • To expand bio diversity conservation by encouraging commitment to, and implementation of, good bio diversity management practice, on privately owned land, in such a way that the private landowner becomes an empowered decision maker.

CapeNature Stewardship Options

There are three options of Stewardship available. The three options vary in the level of commitment from the parties concerned. The three options are:

1Voluntary Conservation Area

2Bio diversity Agreement

3Contract Nature Reserve

For more information, please download the CapeNature flyer on Stewardship.

English Afrikaans

For each of these options, a contract is signed between the landowner and CapeNature regarding the management of the land. For options 2 and 3, a Management Plan will be compiled for the site by the CWCBR in consultation with the landowner. For option 3, the Contract Nature Reserve, the reserve will be registered as a formal protected area according to the Protected Areas Act No 57 of 2003 and will be declared in the Government Gazette. The area declared a nature reserve will have to be rezoned to Open Space III and registered as such in the Title Deed.

The option that the site is awarded will depend on the conservation value of the site. Contract Nature Reserves will only be awarded to sites that are of a significant importance in terms of the conservation value.

For all of the options the landowner/s retains full ownership of all his/her/their land

Benefits to Landowners

For Options 1, 2, and 3:
  • Basic habitat management guidelines and best practice advice
  • Farm maps can be compiled and printed
For Option 2 and 3:
  • Specific habitat management assistance such as alien plant clearing, fencing, fire & game management
  • Free Comprehensive Management Plan in consultation with the landowner (a very basic management plan can be considered for Option 1)
For Option 3
  • A municipal rates exclusion for the conserved area
  • Preferential access to government land management programs, such as Working for Water.
  • Enhanced recognition and marketing exposure


¹ CapeNature Stewardship Operational Procedures Manual


Cape West Coast Trails

About Us

What is a Biosphere

Biosphere reserves are territories with beautiful landscapes, a considerable abundance of species of fauna and flora, its own and unique culture, where harmony between development and the natural surrounding is promoted.

They are like specific areas where models of sustainable development, that seek better living conditions based on environmental principles, are tried and proven.

Partners in Conservation

Cape Town Research & Conservation Initiative

CTRCI Website