The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve << go back

Biosphere Reserves are regions with beautiful landscapes, a considerable abundance of fauna and flora, unique cultures, where a balance between development and the natural surroundings are promoted.   

All Biosphere Reserves have three basic functions which are to conserve the natural resources, biodiversity and landscapes of the local culture; to protect social and economic progress without damaging or depleting the natural resources; and to promote education, investigation and permanent observation related to environmental and natural resources.  

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR) was designated a Biosphere Reserve under the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MaB) of UNESCO in 2001 and stretches northward from the Diep River to the Berg River and covers approximately 378, 000 hectares of coastal lowlands and marine environment.   There are currently 6 Proclaimed and designated Biosphere Reserves (BR) in South Africa, namely the West Coast BR; Kogelberg BR; Vhembe BR; the Waterberg BR and Kruger to Canyons BR; and 507 Biosphere Reserves worldwide.

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve is one of the few in the world that was driven by the local communities living within the region, rather than a state driven initiative. The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve has many unique features, including a Proclaimed Ramsar Site of international conservation importance, the Langebaan Lagoon, which boasts the most important wetlands in South Africa; A World Heritage Site - our fynbos vegetation forming part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom; the largest fossil oyster bed in the World and the greatest diversity of 5 million year old fossils in the world.