In 1955, Edith Stephens, an eccentric and farsighted botanist, donated 3,7 ha of land to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to protect a rare plant species called Isoetes capensis, a relic plant found nowhere else in the world. In 2000, the City of Cape Town added the surrounding conservation-worthy land to extend the wetland park to 39 ha, and named the park after Ms Stephens.
The vegetation type at the Edith Stephens Wetland Park is a transition from Cape Flats Dune Strandveld to Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, both of which are highly threatened. The site supports 7 Red Data plant species, and some 95 bird species have been recorded. An important heronry is located here, and 5 water bird species breed on the islands in the detention pond. The large seasonal wetland provides an important habitat for breeding waterfowl, such as Cape shoveller (Anas smithii), yellow-billed duck (Anas undulata) and African snipe (Gallinago nigipennis). There are 5 amphibians, including the easternmost population of the Endangered western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus), that start their mass-breeding in the first weeks of August. 12 reptiles and 10 mammals can be found here, including the Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) that still move along the Lotus River canal.
The wetland park works in partnership with many organisations in the surrounding communities, and is home to Cape Flats Nature and the Primary Science Programme. Public facilities include an environmental education centre, a wetland boardwalk trail, a picnic area, a medicinal garden and a bird hide.
ADDRESS: Govan Mbeki Road, Philippi (off Jakes Gerwel Drive)
OPENING HOURS: 07:30-16:00 (weekdays); bookings essential for weekends
SIZE: 39 ha
ENTRANCE FEE (2020): None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi or bus
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Picnic sites, birdwatching, Working for Wetlands nursery, urban agriculture garden, medicinal garden
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: The environmental education centre provides local residents and schools with conservation, recreational and educational opportunities, from teacher’s workshops to children’s holiday programmes
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 6480 / 021 444 6483
Source: City of Cape Town (2010) City of Cape Town nature reserves: A network of amazing biodiversity. City of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Bank name Nedbank
Account name FYNBOSLIFE
Account number 1127617079
Branch code 198765
Please email proof of payment to email@example.com
Support us with a CoralBloom fynbos floral face mask or any CoralBloom textile homeware products (tea towels, napkin sets and table runners) – designed by Dr Michelle Jooste with botanical illustrations by Ann C. Jooste and Megan L. Jooste for our collaboration range exclusive to Happy by Nature. 5% of your purchase proceeds will be donated to FynbosLIFE. View options
Would you like to create your own community or school garden? Why not start your own fundraising campaign for our Cape Flats Fynbos Nursery to grow plants for your project’s original veld type?
Register as a FynbosLIFE champion on Back a Buddy