What is a protected environment?

A Protected Environment is an identifiable physical natural environment, be it a landscape or seascape that is formally recognised as an area with conservation potential and is declared by the provincial Member of the Executive Council that grants the Protected Environment a legally binding environmental and restrictive land use protection status.

This protection status, under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (57 of 2003), is a legal safeguard against unsustainable development in the area, while working towards the parallel objectives of economically-viable livestock production and tourism, water security, improved veld condition, and biodiversity conservation.


The Robberg Coastal Corridor Protected Environment has been identified as an area worthy of declaration as a Protected Environment in that it is essential to ecosystems and makes  significant contribution to:

  • the protection of an identified Critical Biodiversity Area representative of coastal lowland Fynbos;
  • the establishment of a conservation corridor on private land to facilitate the movement of genetic information between two protected areas;
  • linking the Garden of Eden to Addo as part of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative;
  • linking formally protected but separate areas into a coherent ecological unit enhances ecosystem functioning and improves nature-based eco- tourism opportunities.


  • The area between the Robberg Peninsula and Harkerville has been identified as a Critical Biodiversity Area by the Garden Route Initiative that is in need of protection to ensure that biodiversity and ecosystem functioning persists.
  • Consolidation of the remaining natural area between Robberg Nature Reserve in the east and the Harkerville section of the Garden Route National Park in the west, is the last available option to form a continuous corridor that will ensure that the Robberg Peninsula is not cut off from surrounding natural ecosystems.
  • Very little of the vegetation units that are found along the coast west of Robberg is currently protected in formal protected areas.
  • Unique vegetation exists in the area that is highly threatened by coastal development and mining. Several plant species are listed as threatened or endangered in the Red Data Book of plants by Raimondo et al. (2009). Several unknown (possibly undescribed) species have also been found in area.
  • It is an area with significant natural and scenic beauty
  • It is possible that the area contains important archaeological sites