South Africa - a founding member

Possibly the most important factor in the conservation of South African wetlands is South Africa’s participation as a founding member of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (it was the fifth contracting party as early as 1975). To meet its Ramsar obligations and to promote the conservation of wetlands throughout southern Africa, the country implemented the South African Wetlands Conservation Programme.

There were 20 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance in South Africa during the year 2012, with a total surface area of 553,178 hectares. The uMgeni Vlei Nature Reserve was designated as a Ramsar site in March 2013, this increased the total number of Ramsar sites in South Africa to 21 with a total surface area of 554, 136 hectares.

On 2 Feb 2015 the False Bay Nature Reserve was declared a Wetland of International Importance and received Ramsar status, bringing the number of Ramsar Wetlands in South Africa to 22.

The Bot-Kleinmond Estuarine System became South Africa's 23rd Wetland of International Importance on 30 March 2017. It is located in the Western Cape province near the town of Hermanus. 

Below is the complete list of Ramsar wetlands in South Africa. Links are supplied to reports of the specific wetlands that we have already visited:

Barberspan,  North West
De Hoop Vlei,  Western Cape
De Mond,  Western Cape
False Bay Nature Reserve,  Western Cape
Kosi Bay,  KwaZulu-Natal
Lake Sibaya,  KwaZulu-Natal
Langebaan,  Western Cape
Makuleke Wetlands,  Limpopo
Natal Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Ndumo Game Reserve,  KwaZulu-Natal
Ntsikeni Nature Reserve,  KwaZulu-Natal
Orange River Mouth,  Northern Cape
Prince Edward Islands,  Western Cape
St Lucia System,  KwaZulu-Natal
uMgeni Vlei Nature Reserve,  KwaZulu-Natal
Verlorenvlei,  Western Cape
Wilderness Lakes,  Western Cape