Namaqua National Park MPA

"Forests and Flowers"

Namaqualand, Northern Cape


This coastal wilderness supports a garden of sealife that includes giant kelp forests and deep mussel beds, home to our precious and overexploited west coast rock lobster.

This 500 km2 MPA provides the first protection to habitats in the Namaqua bioregion, including several critically endangered coastal ecosystem types. The area is a nursery area for Cape hakes, one of our most valuable fisheries resources. Proclaimed in 2019, the MPA to boost tourism to this remote area. The groundbreaking ecological research and detailed ecosystem mapping and monitoring that has taken place here since 1976 means that it provides an important baseline from which to understand change and human impacts. Harvesting, mining, climate change and the introduction of alien species (such as European mussels and barnacles) along the west coast means that it has and will continue to change rapidly. Protectibg this coastline is part of South Africa’s climate adaptation strategy.



  • First protection for Namaqua ocean ecosystem types and a priority estuary

  • Protects hake nursery habitat

  • Supports recovery of west coast rock lobster

  • Important ecotourism area