For the first time ever, Cape Town is representing Africa in the City Nature Challenge - an international competition between 150 cities to showcase their fauna and flora by recording observations of all living things, using the popular citizen science app iNaturalist.

Join us for a V&A Waterfront bioblitz on Saturday 27 April 2019 from 09h00 to 12h00 - we'll be stationed at nine spots around the Waterfront precinct to help you find and ID some local fauna and flora.

The Mother City will be competing against reigning champion San Francisco in the City Nature Challenge 2019. Overall 17 000 people observed more than 18 000 species from almost half a million observations in 2018 - imagine how high those numbers are going to be now that the incredible biodiversity of Cape Town is being added! The City Nature Challenge has been organised by the Natural History Museum of LA, the California Academy of Sciences and iNaturalist, and locally the competition is being coordinated by SANBI.

Join us in the V&A Waterfront on 27 April

We're inviting Capetonians to join us for a V&A Waterfront bioblitz on Saturday 27 April 2019 from 09h00 to 12h00 - searching for and recording as many natural species in this urban habitat in as short a time as possible. Our Aquarium team will be stationed at a few of the V&A Waterfront's hidden gems - biodiversity hotspots that we know and love - and would love for you all to meet us to explore the Waterfront and find as many species as possible for the City Nature Challenge. 

Sea birds, seals, fish, insects, sea plants, jellies, trees and even the occasional dolphin - there is a lot of life hiding right here in the heart of our City.

Get the app

To join the fun simply install the iNaturalist app on your smartphone. Then sign up to iNaturalist. Do that now! Don't wait until the 27th - get some practice using the app today. The data collected by this app is useful for natural scientists, it's a much bigger adventure than just the City Nature Challenge!

How to take part

With your phone's GPS turned on and camera app at the ready, simply roam around the area and snap photos of any plant, animal, fungus, insect, spoor, scat, etc. that you find. Upload your pic on the iNaturalist app (it's easy) and identify it as best as you can - but if you can't it doesn't matter, the community will assist. If you don't have data on your phone, or would prefer to use a DSLR camera, that's not an issue - you can upload your photos on the iNaturalist desktop website from your home computer.

A few City Nature Challenge rules:

  • No humans or domestic animals (dogs, cats, pet fish, cows, sheep) please. If in doubt, take a photo anyway. Feral animals (i.e. rats, stray cats, pigeons) are fine.
  • Please zoom in as much as possible. If the subject of your photo can't be seen clearly, it doesn't count.
  • Only take photos of one species at a time. Don't take a photo of a whole group of different plants and animals if possible, rather photograph each species individually.
  • If you are at one venue, e.g. the Aquarium's seal platform, and see many examples of a species there, please include them all as only one observation. If you see the same species again in a different place, it can be a new observation.
  • Only observations within the Cape Town city limits will count, and only from midnight 26 April to midnight 29 April.

Beyond the V&A Waterfront

If you can't join us in the V&A Waterfront, or would like to to do even more to help Cape Town win this challenge, take a look at the community hub on the iNaturalist project to see the other exciting events and viewing areas scattered around Cape Town between 26 and 29 April 2019.Sea you there!

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