Green Coast

A WESSA Award developed for wild, less developed coastal areas that aim to protect species, habitats and cultural heritage

The South African coastline represents a unique part of our country’s diverse heritage. It is a space that should be accessible for all of our citizens and a space that we all should be immensely proud of. Green Coast aims to provide the platform for this by improving access, awareness and pride in sensitive coastal spaces around our country. The responsibility of managing these sites does not sit with local government alone, but with every citizen that inevitably relies on this resource.


The Green Coast award is an excellent opportunity for local citizens to act and become involved in efforts to improve and protect our incredible coastline. The objectives of Green Coast are two-fold. Firstly, it aims to provide a system for sustainable management of sensitive coastal spaces and secondly, to engage local citizens to become involved in management of these unique sites.


The Green Coast award has been developed to recognise those coastal sites which are managed according to standardised criteria and able to maintain a consistent improvement of conditions at the site. Green Coast sites aim to protect one of three main coastal themes namely; sensitive habitats, species and cultural heritage. The Green Coast award allows local municipalities to sustainably manage those coastal sites outside of traditionally developed swimming beaches. A Green Coast site is not just another stretch of protected coastline but rather a platform for collaboration, innovation and local public participation. As a 90-year-old organisation with strong roots in membership structures, WESSA aims to use this platform to re-invigorate public participation along the coastline. Where possible, all Green Coast sites should aim to include a resident’s association or public group who are able to mobilise active citizens to participate in the management of the site.


The Green Coast criteria include aspects of basic ecological monitoring which allow for the setup of exciting new citizen science initiatives. The Green Coast sites with their unique habitat, species and cultural heritage also provide ideal locations for outdoor learning and exemplary environmental education activities.

How to apply for the Green Coast awards


The WESSA Green Coast award requires an annual application to be submitted.


Upon application, the site will go through an initial assessment to see whether they meet the criteria. This assessment is conducted by the National Operator (WESSA). Once all the required documents and online application has been received, the application is sent the national jury. The national jury is a group of external experts who will then decide whether the site passes or fails based on their application and site assessment.


There is no set application date as the applicant may apply throughout the year.
Please note that there is an annual application fee that will need to be paid before the site is awarded.


Please select the button below to take you to the online application form.

Please select the buttons below to take you to the manual, criteria and template documents.