The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR) shares a border to the south with the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and is in close proximity to the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve to the west. This region of immense beauty slopes across elevations from 20 m to 1 860 m above sea level. A wonderful diversity is included, from the high Cape Fold Mountains, to deep river valleys, rolling hills, commercial forests, world-renowned wineries, small agricultural settlements and beautiful historical towns. The CWBR is the source of seven rivers, all of which are very important sources of water and provide a keystone ecosystem service for several towns, agriculture, and industry, as well as ensuring the survival of biodiversity. The Hottentots Holland and Limietberg Nature Reserves, primary core areas of the CWBR, also form part of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO in 2004.
Four main focus areas have been identified for the CWBR; namely education, preservation of river systems, awareness of the Biosphere Reserve, and development of partnerships. The CWBR is implementing a tour guide-training course in conjunction with the Field Guide Association of South Africa (FGASA). All the students are offered secured jobs with top-end hospitality groups and trans-African tour operators. Many of them are the sole providers of income for their families. The CWBR Outdoor Education Programme is facilitating youth overnight hikes (ranging from 2 to 5 days), conservation awareness programmes at the Sustainable Living Centre at Jan Marais Nature Reserve, and a school food garden programme. In 2018, the CWBR built an Early Childhood Development School where children are taught in their home languages. At present the CWBR is involved with researching the use of centrifugal toilets to reduce sewerage seepage from informal settlements and prevent sewerage from reaching watercourses. This project has the potential to create micro-businesses in informal settlements.
UNESCO Designation: 2007
Management Entity: Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve Non-profit Company
Total Area: 322 032 ha
Core Zone: 99 459 ha
Buffer Zone: 133 844 ha
Transition Zone: 88 729 ha