Wind nets for dunes

Nets are now being installed to catch sand at the Hout Bay Beach as part of the City of Cape Town’s second phase of the the greater Hout Bay Dune Rehabilitation Project.

Phase two of the City’s plan to address problems caused by windblown sand on Promenade Road in Hout Bay has kicked off.

Forming part of the greater Hout Bay Dune Rehabilitation Project, which kicked off in June, this phase will see the City’s coastal management branch installing wind nets to trap sand in preparation for the summer months when south-easterly wind reach gale force speed.

During the first phase of the project machinery was used to lower the beach levels on the eastern side of the beach.

Phase two, said Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, would be similar to the “brushwood rows”, historically used at Hout Bay, according to

“However, instead of brushwood hedgerows, we will now use dune nets. The dune nets will not break up or disintegrate, neither will it affect the beach. We can also remove the nets once the summer months are over and reuse it again when needed,” she said.

According to the City, the dune nets will be installed at an angle perpendicular to the predominant south easterly wind direction and parallel with Promenade Road. The nets will be in place until the end of April next year when all of the sand that has accumulated will be pushed back into the sea.

The Hout Bay Dune Rehabilitation Project already scooped gold in three different categories at the annual South African Landscapers Insitute’s (SALI) award ceremony last year.

The Hout Bay Dune Project, managed by Vula Environmental Services, a contractor appointed by the City of Cape Town’s environment department, won the country’s top award for excellence in landscaping.The project was entered into three categories, which included specialised landscaping, water wise landscaping and environmental landscaping, taking gold in all three at the SALI’s virtual event, (“Gold awards for dune project”, Sentinel News, August 14, 2020).

“The primary objective is for the nets to trap and reduce the impact of windblown sand. However, one of the added benefits is that the nets will also assist to keep the area relatively wind free for sunbathers who always need to battle the southeaster in summer,” Ms Nieuwoudt said.

Rows of nets will be open on either end so beachgoers can walk from the carpark to the beach.

Mayco member for transport and Hout Bay ward councillor, Roberto Quintas, said significant resources had been invested in trying to maintain Promenade Road during the summer months.

“The south easterly winds blow sand onto the road infrastructure faster than we can clear it. Even when we do succeed to remove the sand quick enough, we cannot return it to the beach because it has been contaminated with gravel from the road,” he explained.

To resolve this issue, the City would have to remove the sand from the area, something Mr Quintas said, would become “impractical and costly“, given Hout Bay’s location.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the dune nets will improve the situation. The impact will be monitored and we may continue with the intervention depending on the outcome,” he said.