A safer experience in nature for all

by CapeNature

In celebration of the fast-approaching festive season, CapeNature, the biodiversity conservation authority in the Western Cape, will implement a no alcohol and illegal substance ban at Limietberg and Assegaaibosch nature reserves’ picnic areas effective from Thursday, 1 November. This is in a bid to create a safe and trusted experience in nature for visitors of all ages.

The phenomenon of alcohol and substance abuse has dire implications to millions of South Africans as it contributes towards many ills such as crime, gangsterism, domestic violence and other forms of social problems. Sadly, some of these social ills have spilled over to certain reserve facilities and CapeNature would like to curb this kind of behavior in the great outdoors.

CapeNature CEO Dr Razeena Omar explains why this is a necessary step to take, “CapeNature is the biodiversity conservation authority for conservation in the Western Cape and with this comes a huge social responsibility. We pride ourselves in creating access for all which is trusted and safe. To continue to conserve nature for a sustainable future we have to ensure that we are proactive in striking the balance between social challenges and protecting these World Heritage Sites. This is why we are affiliated with and support numerous social organisations and work alongside the South African Police Service. CapeNature’s aim is to create a safe outlet for people from all walks of life to enjoy the wonders of nature while creating cherished memories with their loved ones.”

The leafy Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve is outside of Stellenbosch in the Jonkershoek Valley. The reserve has two hiking trails open to the public, where guests can enjoy swimming in the Eerste River. Further afield tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Mountains, near Paarl is Limietberg Nature Reserve. It offers a number of beautiful hikes through steep kloofs and Tweede Tol picnic spot surrounded by deep valleys.

Entry at the gate is a conservation fee of R50 per adult and R30 per child. Additional security and foot patrols will be rolled out at both reserves.

Dr Omar adds “Our hope is that we will have the support of our visitors to adhere to this plight against the social ills that plague our communities. We need to ensure our reserves are kept on an international standard and incident-free to attract more tourists and plough back into the local community.”

In line with the entity’s mandate to create access to a greater proportion of the population, CapeNature invites all citizens to enjoy the 24 nature reserves across the province during this festive season by keeping footprints light and respecting the guidelines implemented.

Tips when visiting a CapeNature reserve picnic area:

  • Stay on existing tracks –careless driving through the veld destroys plants and small creatures.
  • Use biodegradable cleaning materials and take refuse away with you.
  • Do not throw cigarette butts into the veld.
  • Only make fires in demarcated areas. The vegetation is extremely flammable and uncontrolled fires have a devastating impact.
  • Please respect all other visitors, plants and animals.

Published in In the media

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