This 9 ha plot is located on the Cape Flats, between Strand and Gordon’s Bay. It is surrounded by low-cost housing, and contains Critically Endangered Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos. Locals sometimes refer to the reserve as a hidden treasure because of its spectacular flora.
Each spring, the reserve bursts into flower. The area contains nearly 220 plant species, many of which are rare and endangered. Plant species include lang-steelvygie (Lampranthus filicaulis), peacock moraea (Moraea villosa), blouoog-kalossie (Ixia versicolor), spider orchid (Bartholina burmanniana), thistle sugarbush (Protea scolymocephala) and chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides). The land was once home to the rare geometric tortoise (Psammabtes geometricus), which is now extinct at this site. The parrot-beaked tortoise (Homopus areolatus) and a number of insects and snakes, like mole snake (Pseudapsis cana), common slugeater (Duberiia lutrix) and spotted skaapsteker (Psammophylax rhombeatus), can however still be found in the reserve. A variety of bird species have also been observed in the area, like clapper lark (Mirafa apiata), orange-throated longclaw (Macronyx capensis), zitting cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) and white-rumped swift (Apus caffer).
WORKING IN HARMONY
The Harmony Flats Working Group (HFWG) started out as a group of volunteers from the nearby area Casablanca. The group was awarded a certificate by the Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) in appreciation for their good work in helping to manage and conserve the area. They remove litter and clear alien vegetation as well as assist with environmental education and awareness raising. The annual Arbor Week programme near the end of August reaches over 400 learners. Children find special plants, participate in a competition, and plant trees on the edges of the reserve. Cape Flats Nature and the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wild Flowers (CREW) also organise ecology courses on plant and animal interactions, and how fynbos has adapted to drought, fire and other environmental conditions. Plans for the future include a resource centre, nursery structure, a children’s park, and an upgrade of the fence and paths.
ADDRESS: 11th Avenue, Strand
OPENING HOURS: Sunrise to sunset (no controlled access)
SIZE: 9 ha
ENTRANCE FEE: None
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Taxi
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Plant monitoring, spring flowers, walking trail
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: The Harmony Flats Working Group, supported and trained by CREW and Cape Flats Nature, organises lessons and plant monitoring.
CONTACT: Tel 021 444 6930
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.