Cape Town wins City Nature Challenge thanks to citizen scientists

The City of Cape Town proudly announced that Cape Town triumphed in two categories in the 2019 City Nature Challenge. Cape Town came out tops in the categories for making the most observations and recording the most species. Over 150 cities worldwide competed to see who could make the most observations of nature and find the most species. And, crucially, engage the most people. Read more below:

Cape Town has won the most recorded observations and most recorded species categories of the 2019 City Nature Challenge.

What Capetonian citizen scientists achieved

Together, Cape Town participants were able to record an impressive 53 775 observations and 4 587 species across the city. Runners up in the recorded observations category were both in the Americas. La Paz, Bolivia, achieved 46 931 observations and San Diego, USA, 38 241 observations. And, in the recorded species category runners up were Hong Kong (3 596 species) and Houston, USA (3 367 species).

Capetonians really went out and showed the world what incredible biodiversity our city has to offer. Cape Town certainly rose to the challenge, considering there were over 150 cities competing. Moreover, we are entering autumn while many contesting cities are in the throes of spring. I want to thank every resident and visitor who spent time to explore our pristine natural environment. And, for capturing the beauty and life they encountered. Certainly, we’re extremely proud to be hosting a globally recognised and important biodiversity,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

Thank you Cape Town! And very well done for putting our city in a top spot on the international biodiversity map. This challenge has reminded many of our residents how privileged we are to call this beautiful region of the world our home. The City is proud of its more than 20 nature reserves across the metro. Importantly, I urge residents to explore these nature conservation areas, embrace the natural beauty we have on our doorsteps but often overlook, and to be custodians of our unique environment,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

What Capetonian citizen scientists did

The competition took place between 26 April and 29 April 2019. Capetonians took part in two ways. Firstly, by exploring the City’s nature reserves and natural open spaces. Secondly, by recording all of the local plant and animal species that they spotted over the four days. So, participants downloaded the app and shared their observations by uploading all of their findings on the app.

The City coordinated numerous activities during the course of the challenge, among which tours of the reserves with local experts. Consequently, reserves were open to those interested in recording their observations of plant and animal life over the four days.

Get to know Cape Town’s nature reserves

For information about the City’s reserves and details about their location, facilities and attractions, please visit