Protected Areas Database

On this page you will find access to the following:

  • South Africa Protected Areas Database: Latest dataset for download
  • Register of Protected Areas Map Service
  • SAPAD Crowdsourcing / Collaboration Tool


South African Protected and Conservation Areas Database

The South African Protected Areas Database (SAPAD) and the South African Conservation Areas Database (SACAD) are GIS inventories of all protected and conservation areas in South Africa. The database includes data on privately owned protected and conservation areas.

The SAPAD and SACAD is maintained and updated on a regular basis and the latest data is released on a QUARTERLY BASIS. The Protected and Coservation Areas data is packaged in a Zip file containing data in a shapefile format, metadata and definitions document.

The data will be available for non-commercial use by downloading from this portal. Please review the Terms and Conditions for use.

Please note: You will be asked to Register once and thereafter to sign in with your Username and Password, before the data could be downloaded.

The 2017, FIRST QUARTER data release, is now available from the download menu.


Register of Protected Areas (PAR)

Protected Areas Register Interactive Map

According to the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of 2003), The Minister must maintain a register called the Register of Protected Areas. The Register must:

  • contain a list of all protected areas;
  • indicate the kind of protected area in each case; and
  • contain any other information determined by the Minister.

In 2012 a multi-user spatial database on protected areas was developed. A Register of Protected Areas was therefore developed for reporting and mapping purposes of protected areas that were included into this database.

All legally declared protected areas can be searched and viewed through the use of the Protected Areas Register (PAR) Interactive Map.

The database is called the Protected and Conservation Areas database (PACA) and comprises of all data required for the Register of Protected Areas as well as data on conservation areas (areas responsibly managed for biodiversity conservation but not legally declared as protected areas).

This map service shows the various types of protected areas and conservation areas in South Africa. Users can generate reports and statistics by following the PAR Interactive Map link above.


Protected Areas Database Revision Tool

Crowdsourcing application interactive map

Registered users can comment on, or upload information that allows us to improve the database.  As a registered user, you will be able to:

Crowdsourcing application interactive map
  • View the data in a map and list format
  • Search the database
  • Select and open a protected area record and view the details of that area
  • Edit reserve details via a simple on-screen dialogue and submit the edited version to the Department
  • Upload supporting documentation and GIS data
  • Add a new reserve to the database
  • Keep track of your submissions

The database distinguishes between various types and sub-types of protected areas and conservation areas.

Protected area types include:

  • National Parks
  • Nature Reserves
  • Special Nature Reserves
  • Mountain Catchment Areas
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Protected Environments
  • Forest Nature Reserves
  • Forest Wilderness Areas
  • Specially Protected Forest Areas
  • Marine Protected Areas

Conservation areas types include:

  • Biosphere Reserves
  • Conservancies
  • Botanical Gardens

The database is created by the Department of Environmental Affairs.