Conservation Projects

Our current portfolio of conservation projects:

  1. Enhancing conservation NGO involvement in protected area expansion. BirdLife South Africa. September 2016 – November 2018.
  2. Protected Area expansion in critically endangered renosterveld in the Overberg wheat- belt.Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust. September 2016 – November 2019
  3. Green conservation corridor from Walker Bay to Cape Agulhas Grootbos Foundation. September 2016 – November 2019.
  4. Greater Kromme Stewardship Initiative: Conservation outcomes – September 2016 – November 2019
  5. Facilitating protected area expansion within the City of Cape Town. Wilderness Foundation in partnership with the City of Cape Town. September 2016 – November 2019.
  6. Integrated restoration of the Jakkals River ecosystem. Groenlandberg Conservancy. September 2016 – November 2019.
  7. CTEET Learnership project (2017 – 2019) – Cape Town Environmental Education Trust. September 2016 – September 2019.
  8. Garden Route Biosphere Reserve Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  9. Natures Valley Trust Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  10. Grootbos Foundation Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  11. Emerging Leaders SA Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  12. Cape Town Environmental Education Trust Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  13. Dassenberg Coastal Catchment Partnership Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  14. Wolseley Water Users Association Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  15. Whale Coast Conservation Small Grant Facility. October 2017 – November 2020
  16. The CAPE legacy project. SANBI. April 2018 – May 2021.
  17. Cape Leopard Trust Cederberg Leopard Project – Using environmental education to create change makers. The Cape Leopard Trust. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  18. Table Mountain’s urban fringes: toxic ecological traps or biodiversity buffer zones? The Cape Leopard Trust. 1 November 2018 – 30 June 2019.
  1. Using drone technology to supplement stewardship capacity in the Little Karoo. Fourie, de Villiers and Associates. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  2. Fynbos for the Future. The Greenpop Foundation NPC. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  3. GASPP: Grootvadersbosch Aquatic Species Protection Project. Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Trust. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  4. Educator Empowerment Programme. Knysna Basin Project. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  5. Re-assessing the biodiversity and status of marine resource use in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area. Shark Spotters. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  6. SCLI Cape Floristic Corridor Revival and Training Programme. Natural Bridge Communications. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  7. Klein Dassenberg: Securing critical conservation benefits. Wilderness Foundation Trust. 1 October 2018 – 31 March 2021.
  8. Assessment of trail use, intensity and impact in TMNP: an innovative approach to involve trail users. Wilderness Foundation Trust. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  9. Ensuring the survival of iconic Table Mountain species. Endangered Wildlife Trust. 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021.
  10. Assessing climate change adaptation corridors for Table Mountain National Park: Integrating fine-scale taxon-based vulnerability assessment with Protected Area Planning. Wilderness Foundation Trust. 1 February 2019 – 28 February 2022.
  11. Invasive alien plant clearing in the Ceres Mountain Fynbos Nature Reserve. Witzenberg Municipality. The Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) project is implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) together with its partners including the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 1 November 2018 – 31 January 2020.
  12. Breedekloof Wine and Tourism alien clearing. Breedekloof Wine and Tourism. The Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) project is implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) together with its partners including the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 1 October 2018 – 31 January 2020.

Conservation projects:

TMF manages a project portfolio of over 30 projects. Our project partners include NGOs, state organisations and private companies.


Some of our current projects and partners include:

Credit: Lana Muller

Using Environmental Education to Create Change Makers

Executant: The Cape Leopard Trust

In the Cederberg human-predator conflict is the biggest threat to leopard survival and a people-centric approach is required to educate and empower the communities that share their living space with leopards. This project aims to change mind-sets and behaviour through novel environmental education activities that encourage local people to understand and take ownership of their natural heritage. The focus is to engage directly with communities to build capacity for improved husbandry practices that will reduce livestock depredation by predators, which in turn will minimise the risk of retaliatory killings of leopards.

Credit: Les Minter

GASPP: Grootvadersbosch Aquatic Species Protection Project

Executant: Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Trust

The Grootvadersbosch Aquatic Species Protection Project (GASPP) will work with partners to protect aquatic species, with particular focus on the critically endangered Tradouw redfin. The project has two key objectives: support long term monitoring of data in the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Rivers and increase stakeholder awareness on the importance of freshwater ecosystem to sustain water for environmental, agricultural and municipal use. The project will support the implementation of important conservation actions to protect freshwater ecosystems.

Credit: Knysna Basin Project

Educator Empowerment Programme

Executant: Knysna Basin Project

We believe in the ability of great teachers to change lives and through the Educator Empowerment Programme we will provide life sciences training to high and primary school teachers in Knysna. This programme will provide them with the knowledge, confidence and resources to inspire their learners. This is a collaboration between the Knysna Basin Project, Environmental Learning and Teaching, Fundisa for Change and Rhodes University.

Credit: Atlantic Edge Films

Re-assessing the status of biodiversity, exploited marine species and resource use in the Table Mountain National Park marine protected area

Executant: Shark Spotters

The Table Mountain National Park marine protected area (TMNP-MPA) was established in 2004 to protect marine biodiversity and exploited species. However, it is not known if the MPA is fulfilling its goals of safe-guarding the sustainable use of marine resources. SANParks will conduct dive surveys, use baited remote underwater video cameras (BRUVs) and drones to assess the status of biodiversity, exploited marine species and resource use, to determine the extent to which the TMNP-MPA meets its objectives. This information is essential for enabling adaptive management,improving planning, justifying additional or different resource allocations and promoting accountability with regard to management effort and outcomes. Only by assessing how well the MPA is doing can it be managed effectively and contribute to the overarching goals of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of marine resources and an improved quality of life for coastal communities.

Credit: Laurel Serieys

Table Mountain͛s urban fringes: toxic ecological traps or biodiversity buffer zones?

Executant: The Cape Leopard Trust

Cities around the world are expanding rapidly and where they interface with natural areas there are increased risks to wildlife, including poisons, disease exposure and vehicle collisions. This project aims to identify potential benefits and quantify the costs of living at the urban edge for a charismatic wild cat species, the caracal or rooikat, which is the apex predator on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Caracals will be tested for the presence of a range of environmental pollutants associated with human-transformed landscapes, and together with spatial movement data this will contribute to understanding how urbanisation impacts caracal population ecology and persistence, as well as informing and promoting local biodiversity conservation.

Credit: Marienne de Villiers

Using drone technology to supplement stewardship capacity in the Little Karoo

Executant: Fourie, de Villiers and Associates

There are a large number of stewardship sites in the Little Karoo, but limited conservation personnel to provide a good extension service to them all. Biodiversity monitoring is an important part of extension but is time-consuming. This project will investigate the usefulness of a Phantom 4 Proquadcopter in filling this gap at some of the Little Karoo stewardship sites that are part of the CapeNature’s Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust Stewardship Project. Monitoring of erosion, threatened plant populations, vegetation cover and invasive alien plants will be tested.

Credit: Christina Glass

Fynbos for the Future

Executant:The Greenpop Foundation

Fynbos for the Future is a collaboration between three urban greening organisations (Greenpop, Communitree and Ingcungu) in Cape Town with the aim of expanding fynbos ecosystems and preserving the Cape’s natural heritage through urban greening and environmental education. The overarching objective of this collaboration is to develop a Fynbos Corridor Strategy that will inform and link school and community gardens in order to create urban green corridors within Cape Town. This strategy will include mapping the envisioned biodiversity corridor, planning for additional potential planting sites and creating protocols for how other greening organisations could contribute to expanding this corridor. In addition to this, the project seeks to create long-term relationships with under-greened schools/ community centres (nodes) by helping to develop modular fynbos gardens that can act as interactive outdoor classrooms where learners and community members can be equipped with skills and knowledge to become lifelong stewards of their environment.

Credit: Cobus Meiring

SCLI Cape Floristic Corridor Revival and Training Programme

Executant: Natural Bridge Communications

The project entails the establishment of a network of north/south conservation corridors along selected river systems – Groot Brak, Kaaimans, Touws, Knysna and Goukamma – in the Southern Cape. The selected corridors represent crucially important remaining natural land available for biodiversity connectivity and conservation in the Southern Cape. Through an interactive land management framework, the factors that inhibit corridor flow will be determined and landowners will be trained to develop Invasive Alien Plant Control Plans for their respective properties. The Invasive Alien Plant Control Plans include densities of invasive alien plants, age classes, species, person days to clear, methodology, prioritisation and tracking of clearing efforts.

Credit: Jacques van der Merwe *Pienk Bobbejaantjie Babiana blanda - Critically Endangered*

Klein Dassenberg: Securing critical conservation benefits project

Executant: Wilderness Foundation Trust

The Klein Dassenberg Small Holdings Area (KDSHA) spans roughly 7 000 ha of farmland south-east of Atlantis between the N7 highway and the old Mamre road. This stretch of lowlands encompasses the southern portions of the Dassenberg Coastal Catchment Partnership (DCCP), one of the province’s key climate change adaptation corridors for biodiversity conservation. Significant effort has gone into establishing connectivity corridors through the area with at least 15 private conservation sites registered to date conserving nine Critically Endangered species on the very brink of extinction. The challenge lies in restoring the degraded Fynbos systems within these connectivity corridors to an ecologically functional state. The first step in this process is invasive alien clearing and fencing off remnants from grazing animals to allow for the unhindered passive recovery of the indigenous vegetation communities, but also active restoration efforts. Fencing and alien invasive species clearing however is a technical, time-consuming and costly activity that land owners struggle with. The availability of dependable, external funding for the initial and first follow-up clearing of these alien, woody Acacia’s is crucial to the success of this initiative. The provincial Department Agriculture: LandCare programme has consistently part-funded a roaming alien clearing team that have to date cleared over 100 ha with an additional 50 ha planned up until 2020. To achieve this target a few funding gaps in the project needs to be addressed. Items such as replacement tools, protective clothing and daily chainsaw consumables have become a constant struggle as the project scope widens to incorporate more properties. The Table Mountain Fund has consistently been able to plug the gaps on an ad hoc basis in the past, but as of 2018, have committed to a 3-year partnership between the City of Cape Town: Biodiversity Management Branch, Wilderness Foundation: Africa (project implementation agent), the Department Agriculture: LandCare programme and the various participating land owners to help expand the project influence.

Credit: Anahi Kent

Assessment of trail use, intensity and impact in TMNP: an innovative approach to involve trail users.

Executant: Wilderness Foundation Trust

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) presents some of the most spectacular landscapes of rugged mountains, ocean views and the City of Cape Town stretching all around the mountain. The many mountain trails offers an activity hub where different trail users traverse the mountain on a daily basis. The Table Mountain Fund, SANParks and Wilderness Foundation Africa have partnered on a citizen science project to determine the intensity, frequency and impacts of trail usage in the TMNP. The project aims to build relationships between all users and interest groups, while monitoring ecological impacts. The trails connect people with nature and together we hope to keep this a positive and memorable experience for all.

Invasive alien plant clearing in the Ceres Mountain Fynbos Nature Reserve.

Executant: Witzenberg Municipality

The Ceres Mountain Fynbos nature reserve (CMFNR) is a protected area for biodiversity under the jurisdiction of the Witzenberg municipality. The reserve encompasses 6985 ha of the rugged mountain terrain and is situated within the Breede river catchment between the towns of Wolseley and Ceres. The reserve is also situated within the Cape Floristic region which is the smallest and most threatened of the world’s six plant kingdoms. The main water supply source for the Ceres area is the Koekedouw dam which is also situated within the CMFNR. The catchment areas, mountain slopes and river riparian zones within the reserve is vastly infested by invasive alien plants and must be eradicated and controlled in terms of the Witzenberg municipal Invasive Alien Species Control, Monitoring and Eradication Plan (WM IASCM & CP). One of the objectives of the mentioned plan is to ensure that the CMFNR is in a maintenance phase by 2025.

Breedekloof Wine and Tourism alien clearing.

Executant: Breedekloof Wine and Tourism

The Breedekloof Wine and Tourism Alien Clearing Project aims to improve ecological conditions and increase water quantity within the H10K quaternary catchment by removing approximately 50 hectares of alien vegetation choking the river. The project aims to clear woody alien vegetation increasing water availability, stimulate and supply the focal markets sustainably, provide SME’s with the tools and experience to grow individual ventures and continue operation after the project life cycle. The main invasive species in question is Acacia mearnsii (Black Wattle), the Black Wattle is completely choking the waterway and negatively impacting the hydrology of the river and outcompeting natural fynbos species. The project will have a economic impact through the contribution of products from alien biomass (such as wood chips used as mulch) to increased agricultural yields and an increase in water availability. In terms of environmental impact, the removal of alien species will facilitate recovery of natural biodiversity in two Fynbos Vegetation Types in the Cape Floristic Region. The site comprises of Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos (least Threatened) and Boland Granite Fynbos (Threatened). The fruit and wine industries play an important employment creation role in the Upper Breede area. In the harvesting “off‐season”, however, big portions of the workforce are left despondent. The initiative will provide employment opportunities of a similar skill level throughout the year, addressing this issue, and simultaneously create affiliated small business opportunities, ensuring sustainable jobs and income streams. The target group will be unemployed, previously-disadvantaged individuals. Preference will be given to individuals in the 18‐35 age group, women, and the long term unemployed. The participants of the project will also receive adequate training from accredited training service providers, to ensure that they can exit the project with a qualification in hand.

Credit: Louis du Preez

Ensuring the Survival of Iconic Species on Table Mountain 

Executant: Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Critically Endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei) is restricted to only a few streams on the eastern and southern slopes of Table Mountain. The primary threats facing the species are reductions in steam volume, increased unreliability of water flows, erosion and siltation, loss of fynbos habitat as a result of alien vegetation and water abstraction. Through this project, the EWT will partner with all relevant local stakeholders to directly address these threats through improved habitat management to bring about a recovery of the Table Mountain Ghost Frog – a flagship for Table Mountain conservation interventions, which will benefit many other endemic species. 

Credit: Anahi Kent

Assessing climate change adaptation corridors for Table Mountain National Park: Integrating fine-scale taxon-based vulnerability assessment with Protected Area Planning

Executant: Wilderness Foundation Trust

Protected area managers have to respond to a range of pressures and threats. One of the most challenging is appropriately responding to climate change. This project seeks to apply the IUCN’s trait-based approach for assessing species’ climate change vulnerability at a scale meaningful to the protected area. This involves systematically considering species’ exposure to climate change and the biological traits or characteristics in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).The aim will be to produce a species-level climate change vulnerability layer that can be used to inform TMNP planning and steer high intensity activities away from sensitive areas. This will also enable evaluation of appropriate management actions at species level, site-scale and landscape-scale. IUCN methods will be adapted and tested at fine scales, and available global species distributions will be validated locally.

THE CAPE Legacy Project 

Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) is a partnership of government and civil society – 38 organisations strong – formed around a 20 year vision for conserving and restoring the biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region and the adjacent marine environment, while delivering significant benefits to the people of the region. With the timespan of the partnership’s founding vision nearing completion, the C.A.P.E. Legacy Project will enable a learning process for partners through a stakeholder-driven evaluation that looks back on the past in order to inform the future direction.

CTEET learnership project (2017-2019)

The Cape Town Environmental Education Trust, together with the City of Cape Town (CoCT) aims to provide learnership opportunities to individuals with limited educational opportunities from communities adjacent to the nature reserves. The learnerships not only offer much needed employment, but the participants would have a formal qualification and work-place experience and be able to take up entry level positions within nature conservation in and around Cape Town. TMF are assisting in this programme (which is in its second cycle) by providing funding for a mentor for these learners. The mentor will bridge the gap between the learner and the reserve manager. It is believed that the having a mentor in the first cycle has enabled CTEET to realise a 93.5% successful completion of the training programmes by the learners to date.

Photo: Kerry Maree

Integrated restoration of the Jakkals River Ecosystem (phase 2)

The Jakkals River ecosystem is threatened by alien dominance, debris pollution and erosion. The shape of the river has changed over time and continues to change to a vulnerable shape. Due to an integrated alien vegetation clearing programme (TMF are currently funding a project within this programme), water volumes have increased and the eroded river, cleared lands and river banks are vulnerable to flooding and further channelising of the river. In this phase, TMF will be funding the production of a Jakkals River Management Plan and a mentorship and training programme that will be implemented in order to assist stakeholders and farmers to realise the recommendations in the management plan.

Photo: Garth Mortimer

Biodiversity Stewardship Incentives

Through a generous grant from the Millennium Trust in 2011, the TMF has been supporting the CapeNature Biodiversity Stewardship Programme through the provision of incentive funding to entice private landowners to formally declare their land as Nature Reserves. Through an elaborate partnership between CapeNature, Conservation@Work and TMF, the formal protected area network of the CFR has grown considerably over the years and the programme continues to grow.

Photo: Vernon Gibbs-Halls

Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

TMF has supported the establishment of the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve by funding the Bitou Valley Foundation for the production of four key strategic documents to guide the establishment and management of the Biosphere Reserve. The final application to UNESCO to have the Garden Route recognised as a Biosphere Reserve is currently sitting with DEA and will be submitted to UNESCO for consideration by the end of September 2016.

Photo: Katherine Dunley

Greater Kromme Stewardship Initiative

TMF is supporting Conservation Outcomes with the implementation of the Greater Kromme Stewardship initiative. The primary objective of this partnership between renewable energy developers (Wind Energy Collective) and the St Francis Kromme Trust (civil society) is to secure critical biodiversity and eco-system services on private, communal and state-owned land by: establishing formal conservation and protected areas through the Biodiversity Stewardship mechanism; and providing professional support in order to ensure the effective management of under-protected biodiversity.

Photo: Jacques van der Merwe

Towards securing the Contermanskloof Core Botanical Site

The City of Cape Town, through the Wilderness Foundation would like to formally secure at least 107 ha of Critically Endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Core Botanical Site on Welbeloond Estate, Kliprug Farm, within the City of Cape Town as part of the larger, Contermanskloof cluster conservation areas. This land owner has agreed to sign the land up into perpetuity as a contract Nature Reserve if the City of Cape Town is willing to take on the management responsibility for the site and erect a boundary fence to exclude the owner’s herd of cattle from the new nature reserve. The aim of this project is to enable the erection of the boundary fence in order to incentivise the land owner to sign his property as a contract nature reserve. This is part of a larger initiative to establish a continuous chain of protected areas across the Contermanskloof hills just north of the Tygerberg hills.

Photo: Kate Black

Facilitating Protected Area Expansion within the City of Cape Town

Protected area expansion within the City of Cape Town is guided by the Biodiversity Network (BioNet), which is the fine scale conservation plan for the City of Cape Town. Currently 60% of the BioNet is conserved, with the City aiming to increase this to 65% by 2019, through various mechanisms including stewardship, acquisition, off-sets, land banking and conservation of priority State land parcels. In order to do this effectively and efficiently, funds are required for essential pre-negotiation and proclamation processes, including but not limited to, legal fees, property valuations, drawing of Surveyor-General (SG) Diagrams, Title Deed restrictions etc. This project is facilitating this Protected Area Expansion through funding the pre-negotiation and proclamation processes.

Photo: Odette Curtis

Protected Area expansion in the critically endangered renosterveld in the Overberg wheat-belt

Lowland Renosterveld is one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and is in dire straits. TMF has granted the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust funds to secure large remnants of intact Lowland Renosterveld within the Overberg wheat-belt for conservation in perpetuity. This will be achieved through the development of the Conservation Easement model which the ORCT initiated as a means for achieving crucial conservation targets which cannot be met using existing ‘stewardship’ mechanisms. It is hoped that this initiative will make significant inroads into securing significant portions of Western- and Central-Rûens Shale Renosterveld in this biodiversity-rich, severely-threatened landscape.

Photo: Sean Privett

Green conservation corridor from Walker Bay to Cape Agulhas Agulhas

TMF has funded the Grootbos Foundation’s flagship “Green Corridor” project which is focused on developing a link between the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy and Agulhas National Park; thereby preserving the critically endangered lowland fynbos of this unique region in the Overberg. It is envisaged that this Green Corridor will develop into an ecologically functional and economically viable zone within five years, providing measurable positive conservation results and tangible positive impacts for local communities in a vulnerable region of exceptional conservation value.

Closed Conservation Projects

Some of our past projects and partners include:

Photo: Jacques Marais

Langeberg Biodiversity Initiative Eco-trail Network

In 2014, TMF granted the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy funds to establish a landscape initiative. The project, which comes to an end in early 2017, aims to support the conservation of fragile ecosystems and aid sustainable livelihoods of the adjacent local communities through the creation of green jobs and ecotourism opportunities. The project entails the construction of both mountain bike and hiking trails as well as the training of field guides.

Photo: Sheraine van Wyk

The Stanford Mill Stream improvement project

The Mill Stream is degraded, polluted and suffers algal blooms in the dam. A thorough study of the system will result in an environmental improvement plan that will address these issues by providing research based recommendations. It is intended that sources of pollution in the system are identified through various assessment methods. The Overstrand Municipality have agreed to partially fund the initial implementation of the improvement plan. The project also foregrounds community conservation with the inclusion of stakeholders through engagement and monitoring processes.

Photo: Justin Sullivan Photography

Fire risk assessment of the urban-wildland interface for the West Ward of the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association

The need for urban development and the reality of urban sprawl in a fire-prone area results in a wildland-urban interface (WUI) along-which the risk of fire to assets and to human life is of real concern. With funding made available by the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS), NCC Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd – assisted by the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA) – will identify, assess, map and prioritise the wildfire risks in the CPFPA’s West Ward. Management interventions to reduce the risk in hotspot areas will be defined and all similar assessments conducted around the CPFPA WUI will be consolidated into a single database, to be made accessible to interested stakeholders. This assessment utilises similar methodology to that of the 2010 National Veldfire Risk Assessment conducted by the Council for Scientific Research (CSIR) for Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).