Jakkalsfontein Nature Reserve
Assists with the protection of the biodiversity corridor along the West Coast

Approximately 30 years ago Jakkalsfontein’s original developers were seeking a

weekend getaway opportunity in a wilderness environment at a convenient

distance from Cape Town. Around this time conservation groups and South African

National Parks recognised the importance of preserving the West Coast’s

strandveld and unique wetland habitats. They started assembling land around

Langebaan Lagoon. The original vision was to have a national park from the Berg

River estuary in the north to Bokpunt in the south to conserve the coastal, marine,

aquatic and terrestrial habitats. However, it soon became clear there were

insufficient public resources to acquire the land between Yzerfontein and Bokpunt.

This provided the opportunity for the private sector to acquire the farms along this

strip of the coastline as private nature reserves contributing to the overall

conservation vision. Jakkalsfontein was one of the first and arguably became the

most successful of these private nature reserves.

A thorough, “design with nature” site analysis resulted in the sensitively laid out

housing clusters behind the fore dunes along the intersection of the coastal dune

veld and Strandveld behind. A similar “design with nature” approach resulted in

the housing units’ design with their unique and distinctive roofs. This acknowledged

that the buildings would be visible in the landscape but that roof profiles in

particular, should blend with the natural contours of the dunes and wind scoured

vegetation. Incorporating this concept into the roof design has resulted in a

harmonious fusion between the built and the natural environment.

The project was approved by the provincial authorities in November 1990. Key

aspects of the approval included zoning of the plots containing the houses to

Resort Zone 2 to which permitted freehold title, with the remainder of the farm

zoned to Open Space 3 (private nature reserve). 150 units were permitted as well

as a resort centre, managers’ houses, labourers’ cottages, and an interpretive

centre. An environmental management plan (EMP) had to be prepared and a

minimum amount of funding to be spent on veld rehabilitation prescribed.

An important condition of the approval was the requirement for a Design Manual

to guide the design of the original houses and subsequent alterations and

extensions. It was intended to promote a typical West Coast character, using an

interpretation of the vernacular fisherman’s cottage and manifesting an

environmentally conscious attitude to the development. Key aims of the design

manual were to manage the profile of the roofs and the colour of the materials,

avoid “overbuilding” by minimising the footprint and height of the buildings, and

generally ensure that the buildings and their occupation had as little visual and

physical impact on the natural environment as possible.

The nature reserve has always had an active and vibrant Homeowners Association

(HoA). Issues and concerns over the years have been articulated at the Annual

General meetings (AGMs) in particular. Key themes have included: relationships

with surrounding conservation bodies, the kinds of lifestyle that the nature reserve

should facilitate and the need for a clear vision to guide the future of the nature

reserve.

At the district level, Jakkalsfontein is located in a sub-region where biodiversity

conservation is the overriding spatial management policy.

Jakkalsfontein falls within the extreme south of the West Coast District Council.

District Spatial Development Framework (DSDF) policies are general in their nature.

However, the DSDF makes it clear that Jakkalsfontein’s main spatial planning role is

in assisting with the protection of the biodiversity corridor along the West Coast.

The original vision was to have a national park from the Berg

River estuary in the north to Bokpunt in the south to conserve the coastal, marine, aquatic and terrestrial habitats

A “design with nature” approach resulted in

the housing units’ design with their unique and distinctive roofs.

The project was approved by the provincial authorities in November 1990.

An important condition of the approval was the requirement for a Design Manual to guide the design of the original houses

Key themes have included: relationships with surrounding conservation bodies, the kinds of lifestyle that the nature reserve shoud facilitate and the need for a clear vision to guide the future of the nature reserve