City sees busiest beach day in three years

An aerial photograph of Fish Hoek Beach on Saturday January 8.

The City of Cape Town has recorded Saturday January 8 as the busiest beach day in three years.

Thousands of people flocked to beaches and public pools to escape the heat and to “enjoy a festive season encore”, said mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

In the far south, according to community WhatsApp groups, traffic was gridlocked by 10am, with Boyes Drive being backed up from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek main roads. Simon’s Town Road to Glencairn was also heavily congested, and traffic was slow on Glencairn Expressway all the way to Ou Kaapseweg.

By 11am, SANParks had notified the public that the Boulders Penguin Colony Beach and the Silvermine section of Table Mountain National Park had been closed after reaching maximum capacity.

Three drownings, two at far south beaches, were recorded on the day (“Drownings on same day at Glencairn and Monwabisi,” Echo, January 13), while lifeguards on duty at the 15 lifesaving clubs around the coast rescued 134 people, according to Ms Van der Ross.

The drownings had happened outside of designated bathing areas, at unguarded beaches or beyond the hours when lifeguards were on duty, at Glencairn, Monwabisi, and Strand, she said.

Lifeguards had also attended to many first-aid cases, including dislocations, seizures, facial injuries, and minor cuts and bruises.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) performed routine water patrols along the Melkbosstrand, Table View, Sea Point, and Camps Bay coastlines.

The City’s social development and early childhood development department tagged 21 507 children through its Identikidz programme to prevent children getting lost. It reunited 155 children with their parents or caregivers.

“Unfortunately, six children – four at Camps Bay and two at Muizenberg – had to be handed over to the provincial Department of Social Development as they could not be reunited with their parents or caregivers by nightfall. The six children were not tagged,” Ms Van der Ross said.

St James Beach on Saturday January 8.