Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay beaches have once again received Blue flag status for the 2023/2024 holiday season. So have the marinas of Thesen Islands and Thesen Harbour Town.
Knysna Municipal Manager Mr Ombali Sebola said the iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable tourism boats. “Each beach is measured in four categories: Environmental Education and Awareness, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety Services. To qualify a series of criteria must be met and maintained. We have a dedicated internal programme to drive the requirements for the approval process and ensure the necessary standards are met. Blue Flag status is recognised by the public and they know what to expect when they visit the beaches.”
South Africa has participated in the Blue Flag programme, implemented by the Wildlife Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA), since 2001. Sebola said the international coastal management accreditation programme recognises beaches meeting standards of excellence in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information, as well as safety and services. “The main criteria considered to achieve and maintain Blue Flag status are universal access, clear signage, control of domestic animals, effective waste and environmental management, and education. The programme offers many benefits, including improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, capacity building of coastal municipalities and increased awareness in general.”
He thanked the different role players for their hard work. “Blue flag beaches are an important part of our tourism offering and I want to thank the WESSA team, SANParks, Brenton and Buffalo Bay residents and our Environmental team (under the leadership of Pam Booth), and the Thesen Islands Homeowners Association and Thesen Harbour Town management team for your hard work. We are working hard to get our area ready for a bumper holiday season and look forward to receiving our summer guests!”
Knysna Executive Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Chairperson, Cllr Alberto Marbi, and recently appointed Director for Planning and Development, Andiswa Dunywa attended the official award ceremony in Wilderness earlier today, October 20th.