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Garden Route awarded Blue Flag beaches, boats and marinas

Destination Garden Route - Blue Flag

Of the sixty-four Blue Flags awarded at the launch of the 2019/2020 season, 18 are awarded to beaches along the Garden Route.  Both Hessequa and Bitou were awarded 6, while Mosselbay followed close suit with 5 Blue Flag beaches. 

What is Blue Flag?

Blue Flag is an internationally recognised eco-label with almost 50 countries participating in the initiative worldwide.  The South African Blue Flag programme has been managed by WESSA since 2001 in partnership with participating municipalities.  The strict criteria are set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in Denmark, Europe and focus on the environmental management of coastlines and coastal waters to support sustainable tourism growth and development.

As said by Vincent Shacks, General Manager for Sustainable Tourism at WESSA: “Blue Flag has truly stood the test of time and today we find ourselves an extremely relevant role-player in the rejuvenated efforts to stand up for our oceans”.

Blue Flag status not only for beaches

Besides the total of 45 beaches, Blue Flag status is also awarded to nine marinas and 10 sustainable tourism boats across South Africa this year. Two boat operators on the Garden Route – one based in Knysna and one in Plettenberg Bay – were awarded Blue Flag status for their total of 5 boats for the 4th year in a row.  Thesen Islands residential area as well as its commercial Harbour Town in Knysna received Blue Flag status for the 6th consecutive year as two of the only 9 marinas country wide who were awarded the Blue Flag status.

Sites and operators with Blue Flag status along the Garden Route:


Area Site
Hessequa Witsand
Hessequa Preekstoel
Hessequa Lappiesbaai
Hessequa Jongensfontein
Hessequa Gouritzmond
Hessequa Stilbaai Wes
Mossel Bay De Bakke
Mossel Bay Hartenbos
Mossel Bay Klein Brak
Mossel Bay Santos
Mossel Bay Glentana
Knysna Brenton-on-Sea
Bitou Robberg 5
Bitou Keurboomstrand
Bitou Nature’s Valley
Bitou Lookout
Bitou The Dunes
Bitou Singing Kettle

Sustainable Boating Operators:

Knysna Ocean Odyssey – Oyster Catcher
Knysna Ocean Odyssey – Sousa
Knysna Ocean Odyssey – Odysseus
Bitou Offshore Adventures – Robberg Express
Bitou Offshore Adventures – Oceanic Express


Knysna Thesen Islands – Home Owners
Knysna Thesen Islands – Thesen Harbour Town

Blue Flag is now in its 19th year worldwide.  South Africa was the first country outside Europe to be granted Blue Flag accreditation for its beaches.  The season opens on the 1st of November 2019.