It's almost time for the beach, and what better way to kick off that keDezemba feeling than with the announcement of this season's Blue Flag beaches.
The Blue Flag programme is a collaboration with 47 other countries around the world that help maintain high standards for coastal areas and has been in South Africa for 19 years.
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At the launch, general manager of sustainable tourism at Wessa Vincent Shacks noted that one of the biggest threats to beaches is plastic pollution, an issue that plagues oceans around the world.
However, he urges everyone to help with this crisis.
"What are you as the individual doing to be responsible for your own Blue Flag Site?"
In total 45 of South Africa's beautiful beaches received full status, alongside ten sustainable tourism boats and nine marinas. President Cyril Rampahosa has set targets to have 100 Blue Flag beaches by 2030.
Ten of Cape Town's beaches got the blue tick, including the V&A Waterfront for the second year in a row. For Marian Nieuwoudt - mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment for the city - our beaches form an important part of our country's identity.
"It's not a commodity you can sell, you can benefit from it but it's not yours to exploit," sais Nieuwoudt at the launch, adding that they aim to get all of Cape Town's beaches to Blue Flag level. Seaforth Beach in Simon's Town didn't receive status like last year, but there are plans to get on the list again for next season.
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The Western Cape is dominating with 33 Blue Flag beaches, followed by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal each with six beaches. Coastal province Northern Cape has no Blue Flag beaches.
Newcomers this year include Castle Beach in Overstrand, Jongensfontein and Stilbaai Wes in Hessequa and Glentana in Mossel Bay. The two beaches that were the first to receive the status in South Africa stayed strong yet again for their 19th year - Grotto Beach in Overstrand and Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth.
Hessequa Municipality became the first district to have all their beaches certified with Blue Flag status.
Currently 35 pilot beaches waiting in the wings to receive their full status, but they are still busing with upgrades and refurbishments to adhere to the strict criteria. The Ethekwini Municipality has 11 pilot sites which could give Cape Town a run for its money.
On the marina side, the following received Blue Flag status beside Cape Town's waterfront - False Bay Yacht Club, Thesen Island, The Water Club, Yachtsport SA, Harbour Island, St Francis Canals and Royal Alfred. Tourism operators whose boats were awarded the Blue Flag include Offshore Adventures, Dyer Island Cruises, Marine Dynamics, Ocean Odyssey, Great White Shark Tours and White Shark Ventures.
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See the full list of Blue Flag beaches below.
City of Cape Town
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Nelson Mandela Bay Metro
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