The Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

It is not often that such a large nature reserve occurs amidst an area dense in residential suburbs. Zandvlei Estuary, which borders LakesideMarina da GamaMuizenberg and Steenberg is very much under threat from pollution, encroaching urbanisation and poaching as a result.

Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve protects the only functioning estuary, wetland, river system combination on the False Bay coast. It supports a series of indigenous fish, and young marine fish that use the estuary as a nursery where they can grow in safety. 

Here you’ll find 10 threatened plants that include the critically endangered Cape Flats conebush and gonnabos. 

The Zandvlei reserve protects 198 plant species in total, three of which are found only in the City of Cape Town. The Cape clawless otter, porcupine, Cape dune mole rat and water mongoose make Zandvlei their home, whilst over 149 species of bird that include the African fish eagle and great flamingo live on the estuary. At the same time as preserving, the estuary functions as a recreational area, particularly at Lakeside where windsurfers and picknickers regularly access the reserve to sit on its banks.

Fishing is strictly monitored. Anglers are encouraged instead to ‘catch, tag and release’ fish so that the local fish population is not further threatened. There are minimum catch sizes in place and bag limits, to protect the young fish that need the chance to breed.

There is a 1.5km circular walk along which picnic tables and two bird hides have been built.

Visitors can access the reserve from Lakeside train station and off Main Road. The Environmental Education Centre, on the northern side of the reserve, is accessed from Steenberg Station or Coniston Road off Military Road in Steenberg.