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Celebrating WWF SA’s 50th Anniversary

A look at 5 significant milestones over the past 5 decades

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By Gugulethu Mkhabela | July 6, 2018 | Travel Leisure

WWF South Africa has been protecting and nurturing our natural environment and most of southern Africa’s amazing sites for the past 50 years. Many of these places have become pristine, popular tourist destinations due to the substantial conservation and lobbying efforts of the organisation, and they have ensured that these places stay open for all of us to enjoy.


Here are some of the most significant ways that WWF SA has been sustaining and protecting our environment and natural resources over the past 50 years.


Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Claudio Velasque


National Natural Heritage

During the seventies and eighties, WWF SA invested in securing areas of environmental relevance. The Langebaan Lagoon was the first marine reserve, declared in 1973, and in 1985 it was named a national park – now the West Coast National Park. A year later, WWF set up the National Parks Trust to enhance South Africa’s entire network of protected areas and more than 105 000 hectares of conservation-worthy and has been secured through the National Parks Trust.


Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Hougaard Malan


Working for Water

In the mid-nineties WWF helped mobilise a national job creation initiative in areas of high-density invasive alien vegetation. This was in order to clear water-thirsty plants from the rivers and enhance natural water flow. Working for Water is now run by government with over 300 projects across all nine provinces. They have collectively trained and employed 20 000 men and women who have cleared more than a million hectares of alien plants.


Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Richard Edwards


Rhino Relocation and Protection

Since the eighties, WWF has been involved with conserving the endangered African rhino – both black and white. In 2003, before the devastating rhino horn poaching crisis, WWF established a breeding and subsequent relocation project for the critically endangered black rhino. In 2007, the first community-owned game reserve received a group of black rhinos from WWF’s breeding project. To date, 11 new groups of about twenty black rhinos have been relocated and successfully established.


Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Mark Chipps



The first funded marine research project took place in 1969 and involved the tagging of 200 000 loggerhead turtles on the east coast. In recent years, WWF SA has been driving change across the entire marine sector through fishing companies and retailers, as well as empowering consumers to make sustainable seafood choices through the red, orange or green grading system known as WWF-SASSI, the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative.


Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Martin Harvey


Table Mountain, the Cape Floral Kingdom

One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is loved by locals and tourists alike. It also forms part of the smallest plant kingdom on the planet. With over 2 000 indigenous plants, from the mighty Protea to the dainty Erica, this is the Cape Floral Kingdom. WWF has raised more than R60 million for 215 biodiversity projects since 1993 and established the Table Mountain Fund to ensure the mountain and its unique fynbos will be protected for future generations.


Condé Nast House & Garden readers are invited to join WWF’s 50th anniversary fundraising gala dinners at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday 28 July 2018 or at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Ballroom on Saturday 1 September 2018.


To book a seat (R1 500 each) visit or call Nabeelah Khan on +27 21 657 6612.


Feature Image: Courtesy of WWF SA, photo by Hougaard Malan

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