The aims of Intaka Island:

  1. Conserve rare and threatened vegetation types.
  2. Conserve a rare type of wetland habitat.
  3. Provide a habitat for birds, especially breeding water birds.
  4. Cleanse the water which is used in the network of canals at Century City.
  5. Provide Century City with a beautiful and healthy "green lung".
  6. Provide the people of Cape Town with a recreational and educational amenity.

The Western half of Intaka Island is made up of constructed wetlands which mainly serve the needs for water purification, habitat for breeding water birds, and the recreation and education of visitors. The Eastern half consists of seasonal pans and sand plain fynbos which are both rare habitat types in great need of conservation. The management approach to these two areas needs to be different in order to meet their objectives.

The Century City Property Owner’s (CCPOA) manage Intaka Island and is monitored and guided by the Intaka Island Blouvlei environmental committee. This committee is made up of representatives of the CCPOA, the environmental manager, Mr. Alan Liebenberg, and various environmental specialists which include the chairperson from CSIR, a botanist, an ornithologist, an environmental manager from the City Of Cape Town, a member from Cape Nature and a member representing a friends group. This group meets on a monthly basis and provides their expertise in the implementation of the EMP for Intaka Island.

Environmental management plan:

The setting aside of land for a nature reserve is only the first step in a conservation process. The next step is to draw up an environmental management plan (EMP), which is a working document and is regularly updated. Intaka Island had EMPs for the construction and development phases of the reserve, and now has a relatively new EMP for the operational phase. The bulk of the EMP relates to 10 explicit environmental goals which cover the aims of Intaka Island. For the full environmental management plan, click here

Water recycling:

Century City owes much of its appeal to water. The network of canals provides beautiful views and sounds, as well as opportunities for recreation and fun. The walls of the canal systems are made of rock gabions which are very porous. Therefore the water levels in the canals are controlled naturally by the water table of the surrounding area. The canal water is pumped continuously through the Intaka wetland which serves to filter it before it is pumped back into the canal system.

The irrigation water used at Century City is recycled, treated sewerage from the Potsdam municipal sewerage works and pumped 9km to Century City. In this way Century City provides an example of how water can be recycled to the benefit of both people and nature. For documentation on Intaka Island and water, click here


There are 213 species of indigenous plants (plants of Sand plain fynbos) that can be found on Intaka Island, many of which produce attractive flowers from late winter to early summer. Twenty four of these plants are on the Red Data list, that is, they are rare and threated with extinction. Intaka Island is one of the few places in Cape Town where one can still find this type of sand plain fynbos vegetation. Many of the plants cultivated on Intaka Island are suitable for Western Cape gardens. Being indigenous to the area, they tend to cope well with the sandy soil, strong winds and dry summers which are typical of the Cape.

  • For complete list of plant species, click here
  • For a list of suitable indigenous garden plants for the Western Cape, click here.
  • For documentation on 'Zonation of vegetation in the seasonal pans' click here.
  • For documentation on 'Nutrient Recycling in the seasonal pans' click here.


Intaka Island, despite its relatively small size and urban location, supports some 120 species of regular and annual occurring birds. On any visit up to 70 different species of birds can be found. The main factor that enables Intaka Island to be so rich in bird species are its seven different primary habitats that have been created. These included both wetland and dry land habitats.

A number of birds make use of the man made heronries on Intaka Island for breeding and roosting. These heronries have been recognized internationally for both their simple construction and success at attracting birds.

  • For a complete list of bird species, click here.
  • For documentation on 'The Herony constructed at Intaka' click here.
  • For documentation on 'Breeding at Heronies at Intaka' click here.
  • For documentation on 'Weyers Islands'click here.