Cederberg Scott Ramsay 172
Stakeholder engagement and access

For CapeNature, managing the Western Cape’s nature reserves effectively goes hand in hand with investing in, and nurturing relationships with, the communities living in the different landscapes where it operates.

This means developing partnerships, empowering local people to manage their own natural resources sustainably, creating jobs, and providing training with a focus on improving the well-being of communities adjacent to reserves.

CapeNature believes its nature reserves are for the enjoyment of all – not only visitors, but also local communities. It therefore, with the necessary permissions in place, permits the harvesting of natural resources such as plants to the benefit of local communities, and the use of protected areas for cultural, spiritual and traditional practices.

This approach ensures that CapeNature and communities are partners in building the economy and contributing to the well-being of people in the Western Cape and South Africa.

Image related to website content
Image related to website content

Job creation and poverty alleviation

CapeNature runs a wide variety of job creation programmes across its reserves in the Western Cape, mainly through the national government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), funded by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure through the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning.

The EPWP is a national job creation programme that aims to provide poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. EPWP beneficiaries work in various places in districts of the Western Cape.

The EPWP primary mandates are to:

  • Give unemployed people access to temporary work
  • Help unemployed people through skills programmes and work experience
  • Ensure that unemployed people receive a stipend for any work they have completed as part of the EPWP
  • Enhance EPWP participants’ chances of future employment and/or trigger their “entrepreneurial spirit”

CapeNature prides itself on changing young people’s lives through its vibrant EPWP. Communities should encourage the youth to use these opportunities to reach their full potential. Let us nurture and develop the skills of our youth.

Who qualifies to work on EPWP projects?

  • Unemployed individuals
  • Unskilled individuals
  • Women
  • Youth (16 to 35)
  • Disabled persons
  • Adult men

Want to join CapeNature through the EPWP?

Joining the programme is simple and accessible to the communities we work with, and one can be part of the programme without necessarily having a Grade 12 – those interested can approach their nearest reserve for EPWP vacancies.

As part of the recruitment, vacancies are posted on the CapeNature website as well as community noticeboards in towns that are closer to our reserves.


Figure 6 Duivenhoks
Award-winning project helps develop local contractors

CapeNature’s long-standing and successful Goukou-Duivenhoks wetlands project has created 55 jobs for people from the nearby Hessequa towns of Heidelberg and Riversdale – and won numerous South African National Biodiversity Institute awards.

Verlorenvlei saramsar
Wetlands work benefits natural resources while creating opportunities

Creating jobs while managing natural resources translates into a win for both the environment and local people. The 10-year rehabilitation project of the Verlorenvlei wetlands on the West Coast achieved this and more.

Project Inspection Waterval EPWP Team
Building better futures on the Garden Route

Job creation. Skills development. Career success stories. These are some of the great results CapeNature’s Keurbooms EPWP project has yielded for local communities

Case studies

Marhostile Doyile is one of a team of people who work tirelessly to ensure that the facilities and public areas in the Goukamma Nature Reserve on the Garden Route are beautifully maintained.

Having endured long periods of unemployment before joining CapeNature as an EPWP participant, Marhostile is thankful for his job, and enjoys his position as a machine operator. “I love operating and handling machines. I also help the general workers,” he says.

He has received on-the-job training to equip him with the necessary skills to do his job and has attended workshops on health and safety.

He explains that he used to be afraid of the sea, but has had swimming lessons courtesy of CapeNature, so is no longer nervous of the sea or rivers. Part of his job is cleaning a ferry that crosses the river. “I was also afraid of snakes, but now I am not,” he adds.

Working in tourism services in the tranquil Gamkaberg Nature Reserve is a dream job for Adam Isaacs, who enjoys interacting with visitors and takes pride in helping make them as comfortable as possible.

He says he is grateful for the opportunity to work at the reserve as an EPWP participant, in the stillness of nature. Before that he was a driver, which was “lonely work, and travelling long distances became dangerous”.

Gamkaberg has self-catering and camping accommodation. Its eco-lodges consist of safari-style tents on decks, with splash pools, a kitchen/lounge area and an ablution block. Adam’s role is to take care of the lodges, including cleaning and checking that everything works as it should.

Coreen Coetzee found employment, and a new way of life, through working for CapeNature as a gannet monitor on Bird Island, 100m off the coast of Lambert’s Bay. She has since been promoted to a supervisory position and is passionate about her job and conservation.

She was born and bred in Lambert’s Bay and worked in various jobs – from childminding and pizza-making to coordinating trips for the West Coast Route – before getting her matric at the age of 37 in 2011 and securing a five-month contract with CapeNature as a EPWP participant.

While that contract was not immediately renewed, she was delighted when a monitor position opened up again some months later and she got the opportunity to resume her work at CapeNature.

Now she has taken on more of a supervisory role at the reserve and assists with the issuing of permits for day visitors and looking after the curio shop. She also coordinates the annual National Marine Week at the island in October.

Adriaan Horn has been working as a general worker aligned to the Expanded Public Works Programme at the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo. He started off in tourism services, before joining the field team.

He explains that he started working for a contractor who was doing work in the reserve. “We did road maintenance, hiking trails, alien clearing and helped with the building of the eco-lodges."

Community access to natural resources

CapeNature provides access to nature reserves for hundreds of local community members, specifically for the sustainable harvesting of plants. This includes the harvesting of sour figs in the Walker Bay and Waenhuiskrans nature reserves, and alien wood harvesting in the Riverlands, De Hoop and Walker Bay nature reserves.

These partnerships to harvest natural resources happen with the necessary permits and agreements in place, to the mutual benefit of both parties. For the harvesting of alien vegetation, memorandums of understanding are signed by the parties involved.


Groenvlei carp 2
Alien fish harvesting benefits both conservation and communities

A CapeNature partnership with a local authority and humanitarian organisation has helped solve an ecological problem while at the same time allowing a local community to harvest a desperately needed source of food.

Buchu Leaves
Traditional plant power for communities

Some communities and traditional healers near the Western Cape’s nature reserves use specific indigenous and medicinal plants such as buchu as part of their cultural traditions and to cure different ailments.

Reserves provide access for cultural practices

It is one of CapeNature’s strategic goals to share the province’s natural resources by facilitating access to protected areas, including for cultural, spiritual and traditional purposes.

Case studies

CapeNature’s SMME Development Programme aims to empower individuals and communities to reach their full potential. Sarah Niemand is one such individual.

Hailing from the small, impoverished fishing village of Buffeljagsbaai, she grew up with a strong connection to her community’s natural surroundings. A permit from CapeNature allows her to harvest indigenous sour figs growing on the ocean dunes in a nearby protected area, from December until February.

By drawing on her heritage and through hard work, she has built up her own business, the Blinkwater Cooperative, making and selling sour fig jam using a traditional recipe passed down by her mother.

Events Calendar
Conservation Review 2024
27 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024
CapeNature Conservation Review 2024
CapeNature Conservation Review 2024
Young hikers from Hikers Network appreciating the beauty of a wetland during last years World Wetlands Day
2 Feb 2024
World Wetlands Day 2024
World Wetlands Day 2024
2 ND BATCH Access Week 2023 05
23 Sep 2023 - 29 Sep 2023
Access Week 2023
Access Week 2023

Engage with us


CapeNature offers various job opportunities at its reserves across the Western Cape. Visit our careers page here. Also, keep an eye on our community and public noticeboards.

Contact us

If you are interested in applying for an advertised position, please find the application form here.

Contact us

For access to natural resources or to apply for resource harvesting, find our online application forms here.

Contact us

CapeNature has many different avenues for stakeholder engagement through participatory forums in our four main landscapes. Below is a contact list of stakeholder engagement officers within the landscapes:

Landscape East (Garden Route and Karoo)

  • Marzanne Olieslaager: 087 087 3037

Landscape South

  • Graham Lewis: 087 087 4017 (Langeberg)
  • Phunuyzwa Xhegwana: 087 087 3842 (Overberg)

Landscape West

  • Marx-Nagan Lenin: 087 087 3008 (Cederberg)
  • Edward Adonis/Natasha Warnick: 087 087 8327 (Matzikama)
  • Noloyiso Dlamini: 087 087 4016 (Peninsula)

Landscape Central

  • Michael Lewis: 087 324 3518 (Witzenburg)
  • Lesley-Ann Williams: 087 087 8652 (Boland)