Intaka Island: Water sensitive and family friendly

Location: Century City, Cape Town.

Cost: R14 entrance, more for the boat ride in the canals.

I first learnt about Intaka Island on a field-trip visit. I had visited the Century City Complex many times, but was oblivious to this little piece of tranquillity’s existence. Intaka Island is a constructed wetland built in part to preserve the bird life in the area. It is a fun and educational spot for a family outing and makes for pretty pictures.

Outside the visitors centre, there are several tanks with sign boards that explain the sustainability of the centre. Their food waste goes into a biodigester in order to produce methane gas to power the centre, there are rainwater capturing tanks used for flushing the toilets, solid and liquid waste from bathrooms are treated for fertilizer and reuse. There is even a worm farm where the liquid waste of earthworms are used to keep flowers white. This part is outside the visitors’ centre before you enter the wetland and is free.

Inside the centre, there are two doors leading out that take you on a loop around the wetlands. There are four wetlands through which the partially treated water from Postdam wastewater plant flow before entering the canals. There is also a indigenous medicinal plants garden where you can learn about the traditional uses of many indigenous plants.

The introduction of partially treated water into Intaka Island under the walkway
The introduction of partially treated water into Intaka Island under the walkway

This is a great place for bird watching and there are little huts in which you can sit and watch the birds playing in the water. Sign boards are provided in the huts so you can also try identify the species. The heron species is one of the reasons that the wetland was constructed and you can see several nests in the middle of the wetland. There are tanks below these nests to catch the excrements of the birds to be used for fertilizer in the rest of Century City.

The view from one of the bird watching stations, there are benches you can sit on
The view from one of the bird watching stations, there are benches you can sit on
Bird nesting posts in the middle of the wetlands, there are several of these
Bird nesting posts in the middle of the wetlands, there are several of these

The island is a good way to spend a sunny afternoon, you might even catch a glimpse of the chameleons, the tortoises and even the mongoose 🙂 Visiting this place got me interested in Water Sensitive Urban Designs and I even went back when I had to do a project on the topic. I have not gone on a boat ride yet because the water levels were too low but I will go back soon :). I think they also provide guided tours where someone will talk about the wetland and tell entertaining stories about the bird species.

On our field-trip, someone found this little guy
On our field-trip, someone found this little guy
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