INTAKA ISLAND: Bridging the divide between conservation and development

I am glad to see that we actually have a concrete topic – bridge – this week after the abstract and similar topics of the previous 2 weeks and that is why I am going to apply its abstract meaning… (I know it’s difficult to satisfy these bloggers!!)

Intaka means bird in Xhosa. It is in the middle of a retail, business and residential development. Part of the development includes a canal which surrounds  Intaka island. I had been to the shopping centre called Canal  Walk (that figures – although you cannot walk on a canal so it is probably an oxymoron), well as mentioned I had been there a few times unaware of Intaka until I googled places where you can row. In the end we (being my family) did not go rowing but we did go on a boat trip around the island and did the short hikes available. To give some background on the conservation aspect I quote from the website  as they simply put it more eloquently and succinctly than I would:

When Century City was first developed in 1996, the entire 250ha area was covered with mainly invasive vegetation, but was also found to have an enormous heronry (a nesting area for herons and other waterbirds) on a large water body that was there.

Consequently, an environmental impact assessment recommended that a multi-purpose nature reserve be created alongside the other plans for the area. To this end, an area of constructed wetlands was created and an existing seasonal pan was retained, while plants indigenous to the area were rescued and replanted. 

The wetlands area featuring specially constructed areas for the birds and the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain. Development continues: I count 3 cranes and no I am not referring to South Africa’s national bird the Blue Crane.

Being an island there are various bridges needed for access, thus I am de-abstracting the abstract and showing you photos on the concrete topic (okay the bridges aren’t necessarily of concrete). I agree this is confusing.

This was the starting point for the leisurely boat ride around the island

Who needs Golden Gate bridge 🙂 The wired pedestrian access bridge to Crystal Towers hotel

Here I am standing on the island. In places the canal is quite wide. This building literally has a metal bridge – like construction in the middle to support the living space above it.

A few hundred meters of the walkway on the island is raised to be able to cross the marshy areas of the wetland, effectively a bridge.

But one of the birds to which Intaka (bird) Island is catering. While development is inevitable it was glad to see that an effort is made to enhance birdlife and indigenous plants in the city. Foreign tourists and Capetownians alike are normally aware of the Waterfront at Cape Town’s harbour, but I think this is a special unexplored gem.

27 thoughts on “INTAKA ISLAND: Bridging the divide between conservation and development

  1. It seems they have done a great job of mixing development and conservation here Abrie, and you’ve bridge the gap between abstract and concrete masterfully 😊. On our little Kiawah Island where I make my home we are very focused on doing the same. Our birds are so used to people they will let you get quite close before flying away which is wonderful for photographers. Nature and humans can co-exist quite beautifully when the right effort is put into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have googled Kiawah to determine where it is situated on the Chinese coast, but it turns out to be South Carolina 🙂 . Is certainly a beautiful area with an exclusive touch about it. The numbered ponds bother me though – fly me in and I will give fitting non-numeral names 🙂 )


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