From Bikini to uShaka: See SA's 45 Blue Flag beaches for the festive season

It's almost time for the beach, and what better way to kick off that keDezemba feeling than with the announcement of this season's Blue Flag beaches.

The Blue Flag programme is a collaboration with 47 other countries around the world that help maintain high standards for coastal areas and has been in South Africa for 19 years.

READ: 10 SA beaches that will make you feel like you're living on an island 

At the launch, general manager of sustainable tourism at Wessa Vincent Shacks noted that one of the biggest threats to beaches is plastic pollution, an issue that plagues oceans around the world.

However, he urges everyone to help with this crisis.

"What are you as the individual doing to be responsible for your own Blue Flag Site?"

In total 45 of South Africa's beautiful beaches received full status, alongside ten sustainable tourism boats and nine marinas. President Cyril Rampahosa has set targets to have 100 Blue Flag beaches by 2030.

Ten of Cape Town's beaches got the blue tick, including the V&A Waterfront for the second year in a row. For Marian Nieuwoudt - mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment for the city - our beaches form an important part of our country's identity. 

"It's not a commodity you can sell, you can benefit from it but it's not yours to exploit," sais Nieuwoudt at the launch, adding that they aim to get all of Cape Town's beaches to Blue Flag level. Seaforth Beach in Simon's Town didn't receive status like last year, but there are plans to get on the list again for next season.

ALSO SEE: How naked can you go on Cape Town beaches? 

The Western Cape is dominating with 33 Blue Flag beaches, followed by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal each with six beaches. Coastal province Northern Cape has no Blue Flag beaches. 

Newcomers this year include Castle Beach in Overstrand, Jongensfontein and Stilbaai Wes in Hessequa and Glentana in Mossel Bay. The two beaches that were the first to receive the status in South Africa stayed strong yet again for their 19th year - Grotto Beach in Overstrand and Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth.

Hessequa Municipality became the first district to have all their beaches certified with Blue Flag status.

Currently 35 pilot beaches waiting in the wings to receive their full status, but they are still busing with upgrades and refurbishments to adhere to the strict criteria. The Ethekwini Municipality has 11 pilot sites which could give Cape Town a run for its money.

On the marina side, the following received Blue Flag status beside Cape Town's waterfront - False Bay Yacht Club, Thesen Island, The Water Club, Yachtsport SA, Harbour Island, St Francis Canals and Royal Alfred. Tourism operators whose boats were awarded the Blue Flag include Offshore Adventures, Dyer Island Cruises, Marine Dynamics, Ocean Odyssey, Great White Shark Tours and White Shark Ventures.

SEE: Sleepy coastal towns where you can have the beach all to yourself 

See the full list of Blue Flag beaches below.

Western Cape

City of Cape Town

Silwerstroomstrand

Clifton 4th

Camps Bay

Llandudno

Muizenberg

Strandfontein

Mnandi

Bikini Beach

Melkbosstrand

Fish Hoek

READ: Cape Town beach swearing ban?! Dutch travellers be warned, you might be especially at risk 

Overstrand

Kleinmond

Hawston

Grotto

Castle Beach

Cape Agulhas

Struisbaai

WATCH: There's a new reason to travel to the Southern Most Tip of Africa  

Hessequa

Witsand

Preekstoel

Lappiesbaai

Jongensfontein

Gouritzmond

Stilbaai Wes

READ: Where to find the best of SA's secret beaches 

Mossel Bay

De Bakke

Hartenbos

Klein Brak

Santos

Glentana

Knysna

Brenton-on-Sea

WATCH: A break in Knysna 

Bitou

Robberg 5

Keurboomstrand

Nature's Valley

Lookout

The Dunes

Singing Kettle

READ: Bitou Valley Camping: Make Plett's ancient forests your backyard this summer 

Eastern Cape

Kouga

Dolphin Beach

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Kings Beach

Humewood

Hobie Beach

ALSO SEE: Quick Guide to Madiba’s Long Walk to Freedom: Discover historic heritage in Port Elizabeth  

Ndlambe

Kariega

Kelly's Beach

SEE: Why the Eastern Cape is SA's adventure treasure trove 

KwaZulu-Natal

Ray Nkonyeni

Marina

Trafalgar

Southport

Umzumbe

Hibberdene

Ethekwini

uShaka Beach

READ: Diving into the world of sharks off the KZN coast through the sense of sound 

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