Zandvlei Trust

Langevlei Wetland/Canal Development

The upgrade of the Langevlei Canal is a process to reverse the canalisation of sections of the rivers, in the Cape Metrople area.
The SPA (South Peninsula Administration) is implementing the process. The local residents of Coniston Park, Retreat and surrounding areas participated in the planning phase and will be part of a Liasion Committee. They will monitor the progress/development in its differrent phases. Zandvlei Trust are represented on this Committee.
One of the objectives of the Wetland will be to remove silt from the canal water before it enters Zandvlei. It will slow down the flow of water into Zandvlei and help prevent potential flooding.
Another objective is to try and restore a natural area, to the barren and under utilised floodplain. Pathways with lighting are to be installed.

The begining of the earth works during August 2001.
The earth mover is on an island in the future pond, situated in the triangle formed by the Sand River and Langevlei River canals, before their confluence in the distance.

This picture shows a flooded pond with a section of the canal wall broken away. The reinforcing steel is protuding from the water.

The frontend loader busy in the pouring rain on 22/08/2001.

This picture shows the Langevlei canal on the right of the future Wetland.

The litter trap in the Langevlei canal. This trap is to be moved North of its present position.

The 2 pedestrians are adults, about 1,8 meters tall. This picture is to try and illustrate the scale of soil  being moved to create the Wetland.

The Langevlei Environmental Liasion Committee consists of the SPA officials, the Contractors, local resident interest groups, who meet to monitor the progress on the Site. This picture is from the 31/08/2001 meeting. All is progressing very well considering the record rainfall in the area this last month.

Here is the confluence of the Langevlei (left) and Sand (right) canals. The litter trap in the Langevlei canal is on the left. This view is looking North. The Wetland development is in the middle of the triangle, in the centre of the photogragh.

Fence poles are being planted to hopefully keep people and animals off the plants until they are established. Irrigation piping has been installed to water the plants in the Summer season. The fence will then be taken away once the plants can sustain themselves.

A better turn out for the 3rd Langevlei Environmental Liason Committee meeting, with 3 local Councillors in attendance, SPA officials, Contractors and local interested parties. It is hoped to have most of the vegetation planted by the middle of October 2001. An opening ceremony is planned for November 2001.

These Greater Stripe Swallows are collecting mud to build their nests nearby. This may suggest that the  birds  believe the new Wetland is viable and will support their new hatchlings. On the 22/10/2001 many  insects were evident in and around the waters edge, 8 weeks after the new river course was dug. This is an excellent example of the potential to reclaim land for Conservation. Cape Wagtail, Cape Canary, Whitethroated Swallow, Brownthroated Martin were feeding in the fenced off area.

This shows the plant growth on the 22/10/2001. This is about 3 weeks growth after planting. Note the Buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) blocks to the right of the picture. This is an indigenous grass and a recommended ground cover for gardens. It is hardy and does not require excessive watering like other non–indigenous grasses used to make a lawn covering.

In this picture taken on the 22/10/2001,  the water surface is disturbed by fish fingerlings (species unknown). They are making their way into the new Wetland across the southern end of the broken down canal wall. This is another encouraging sign that there is food and shelter for fish to live in the Wetland.   

The people in this group made up the 4th Liason Committee Meeting on 07/11/2001. The meeting established that all is on track, with only the organisation for the 'Hand over' day still to be completed. This will take place on the 24th November 2001 at 10h00.  There is going to be a tree and shrub planting by the local school children. Part of this plan is to have the community take ownership of the Wetland area. The electric lighting to light the pathways will be completed by the middle of November.  A CMC Catchment Management spokesman and the local Councillor Demetri Qually will speak at the opening ceremony.

The gathering at the launch of the Wetlands on 24/11/2001. We had lovely sunny day with a cool south easterly wind blowing to keep the temperature bearable.

These are some of the children with their parents and teachers who came to the inauguration.

Julia Wood (SPA) explained the background of the project. Randall Adriaans (CMC Catchment Management)  described the importance of the Wetland.

Councillor Qually planting the first tree. The children are watching so they can plant their trees correctly.

These children from Floreat Primary School enthusiastically planting their tree.

Carefully putting the compost around the roots.

Mark Obree (CMC Catchment Management) was there keeping an eye on proceedings after his speech about the history of the canalisation of the rivers on the Cape Flats in th 1960's.

We all went to the Zandvlei Nature Reserve Environmental Centre for tea, after the thirsty work of planting the trees. 

An enjoyable morning was had by all who came along.

On the 7/12/2001 at about 10h00 within a 1/4 hour, the following birds were observed in the fenced off area; Cape Wagtail, a pair of Threebanded Plovers, a pair of Sacred Ibis, a Spoonbill, a Little Egret and a pair of Eygptian Geese. Plenty of insect life is evident at the waters edge. Dragonflies are in abundance. Orangethroated Longclaw, Redcapped Lark, Crowned Plover can be easily seen in the short grass around the Wetland.


The first Langevlei Environmental Liason Committee meeting, of 2002. The wetland is looking good the plants are growing very well and there is little left to do for the contractors. Money left in the budget was discussed and possibly how to spend it, to the best advantage of the area.
There appears to be a resident pair of Cape Wagtails, a pair of Threebanded Plovers have established a teritory. A Spoonbill with Little Egrets are seen regularly and the Glossy Ibis continue to visit the wetland.
Now the work has to start for the local residents to take ownership and utilise the area. 

On the 1st May 2002 these enthusiastic bird watchers (twitchers) were in attendance at the Langevlei Wetlands. They were here to see the Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) which is a first record sighting in Africa! So the experts say. The person in the dark jacket in the foreground flew down from Johannesburg to see this rare sighting.
Cifford Dorse (Zandvlei Nature Reserve  – Manager) first sighted the bird on the 23/04/2002.

The Langevlei Environmental Liasion Committee held its 6th meeting indoors, as it was pouring with rain on the 26/06/2002. The meeting was to finalise the spending of the balance of budget for Phase One of the project. 

All agreed that the project has been a very successful exercise to redress some previous mistakes from the past. This was the final meeting  of the Phase One development and the promising news is that this project could progress to a Phase Three stage, budget constraints will determine the extent of Phase Two, later in the year.
If one reviews the progress of less than 1 year, this is a remarkable success story made possible by the foresight of the Environmental and Engineering departments of the South Peninsula Administration, Catchment Management and all the Contractors and sub–Contractors to this project.
Zandvlei Trust would like to thank all the individuals who participated and had a role in this project.

This is what part of the wetlands looks like on the 6th July 2002!!! Compare this picture with the picture above dated 22/10/2001 after 3 weeks growth. Quite remarkable.

The new notice board with concrete pillars.

On the 13/09/2002 there were 3 weavers nests in the reeds. This is a little over a year since the project started.

The Cancer bushes (Sutherlandia frutescens) are magnificent in bloom in September 2002.


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