The countdown has begun as preparations for the 2023 City Nature Challenge taking place on the long weekend of 28 April – 1 May get underway. All Capetonians are called to download the iNaturalist app and celebrate this city’s incredible biodiversity as participants of the annual bioblitz global challenge.
This year Cape Town is up against 500 cities and regions in 38 countries around the world all aiming to achieve “Most Observations” and “Most Species” top spots. Get ready to better Cape Town’s 2022 second place result as you discover, photograph and upload as many fauna and flora finds as you can in your local nature reserve, your back garden, or the neighbourhood park. Yes, even the weeds growing in the cracks of your pavement are an important part of Cape Town’s biodiversity!
“Grab your phone, your camera, and your keen eye and get involved in this fun for the whole community nature appreciation challenge” said Devon Bowen, Brand Manager at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Two Oceans Aquarium Marine Wildlife Walk
Looking for inspiration to kick start your own bioblitz? Look no further than the Two Oceans Aquarium Marine Wildlife Walk at the V&A Waterfront.
The diverse wildlife that call the V&A Waterfront home largely goes unnoticed by the many people who visit the Waterfront precinct that surrounds the Aquarium. However, the unveiling of the Marine Wildlife Walk, featuring a variety of our wild neighbours at eight look-out points around the Waterfront precinct brings the urban marine wildlife into view.
Take the City Nature Challenge as a chance to explore the spaces of intersection between the human and wildlife inhabitants of the Waterfront. Look out for the easily identifiable cut-out animal silhouette signs scattered around the precinct. Featuring some of the wild marine animals that frequent the area, the signs can be found in strategic viewing spots along the route. Remember to look around to see if you can spot other wildlife.
This is the perfect opportunity to identify, photograph and upload urban wildlife such as Cape fur seals, sea lettuces, butterflies, and cormorants, to your pre-installed iNaturalist app.
What is the City Nature Challenge?
What started out as a small competition between the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2016, has quickly grown globally and now sees cities from around the world participating in this fun four-day inter-city event of exploration and observation. The Challenge encourages participants to explore and record as much evidence of wildlife – plants, animals, fungus, etc. – within the city borders, as possible. Observations are easily recorded through the iNaturalist smartphone app.
Who can participate?
South Africa is renowned for its incredible biodiversity, and its track record in the City Nature Challenge has certainly proven this.
For 2023, the focus will be on getting as many participants as possible to take part, encouraging participants from family groups, organisations, clubs, companies, communities – anyone who wants to get out and explore and have fun.
“The Challenge is a whole lot of fun and encourages everyone to take a closer look at the natural environment around them. They can do so either as part of a number of specially organised events, can organise their own events, or can just explore by themselves, starting in their own back yard and garden” said Helen Lockhart, Conservation and Sustainability Manager at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
It’s easy (and free) to participate! Here’s how:
Install the iNaturalist app on your smartphone or use the web version on your computer and join the Cape Town City Nature Challenge 2023 project.
It’s time to explore! Using your phone (remember to leave your GPS on to make tagging easier) or camera, take photos of as many living specimens as you can within the bounds of the Cape Town region.
You can take pictures of ANYTHING, from the bugs and plants you see in a nearby nature reserve, the weeds you see on the pavement on your way to the Aquarium, or the bird that lands in your garden.
Take as many photos as you can, even small things like fungus, spoor, and insects. Everything counts! Luckily, you don’t need to know the name of the organism, as the iNaturalist community will help with that later! Remember to upload all your photos to the iNaturalist app and you are done! You can also upload photos from your phone’s camera app or digital camera to iNaturalist official website. Make sure the date and location information are correct.
The City of Cape Town nature reserves will be open to the public free of charge from 28 April until 1 May 2023. Cape Point will be open free of charge to registered participants of City Nature Challenge events only. A list of planned activities and events that will take place during the challenge at various conservation areas across Cape Town can be found HERE and City Nature Challenge 2023: City of Cape Town.