Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve

Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve

Bosque Público/Area NaturalEducación AmbientalHábitat de AnfibiosPlantas/Bosques NativosHumedalFlores EstacionalesObservación de Aves/Vida Silvestre

Descripción

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This 1 750 hectare reserve consists of two vegetation types including the endangered Cape Flats dune strandveld and the critically endangered Atlantis sand fynbos. Generally both these vegetation types are poorly conserved.

Underground is a natural aquifer, from which water is extracted and converted into potable (drinking) water for the surrounding communities of Atlantis, Mamre and Pella. Atlantis, with a significant residential population and many industries, requires a steady freshwater supply. This is met by the area’s natural coastal aquifer, recharged urban stormwater runoff and treated wastewater. Pond 7, Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve’s largest man-made water body, is a recharge pond managed by the City of Cape Town Atlantis Water Scheme. The scheme works closely with Biodiversity Management staff in the area to protect and enhance the unique biodiversity found here.

The non-vegetated mobile dunes and rocky outcrops are two outstanding features of the nature reserve. The dunes cover an area of approximately 400 hectares (of which approximately 110 hectares are outside the nature reserve boundary). Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve is part of the southern core of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, which is unique in terms of its diverse landscape, fauna and flora.

The endangered Cape Flats strandveld is the dominant vegetation that occurs throughout Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve. The critically endangered Atlantis sand fynbos occurs towards the eastern side of the area. Plants that are found in the area include dune reed (Thamnochortus spicigerus), Bokbaai vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis), strandroos (Afrilimon peregrinum) and the sand primrose, or duikerwortel (Grielum grandiflorum).
Five different species of restios also occur here, as well as the West Coast-endemic rusty sage (Salvia lanceolata).

In the nature reserve, you can see steenbok, Cape grysbok, small grey mongoose, Cape dune mole rat, caracal, and white-tailed mouse. The common clawed frog (‘platanna’) also occurs here, and if you’re lucky you may spot a snake such as the Cape cobra or boomslang.

The semi-natural wetlands support a variety of more than 50 species of birds, which feed, roost and breed there. Water birds found at the ponds include various ducks and herons, like the white-backed duck. In the strandveld, the small Karoo prinia, southern double-collared sunbird and the long-billed crombec can be found. Along the coast, various gulls, terns and a resident breeding pair of fish eagles can readily be observed. In summer, you may even spot the colourful European bee-eater

ADDRESS: Corner of West Coast Road (R27) and Dassenberg Drive (R307), near Atlantis (GPS coordinates: -33.628425 S, 18.4417116 E)

OPENING HOURS: By prior arrangement only

ENTRANCE FEE: None (By prior arrangement only)

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Minibus taxi

ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Guided walks are available upon request.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Programmes and presentations available upon, booking essential

Tel 021 444 7687; Fax 086 628 4872

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This is land belonging to the Johannes Family

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This is land belonging to the Johannes Family

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