Revellers flock to the sea in their thousands

2017-12-26 11:36
Cape Town residents queue for a spot to swim at Sea Point pool. (Jan Cronje, News24)

Cape Town residents queue for a spot to swim at Sea Point pool. (Jan Cronje, News24)

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Cape Town - Holidaymakers flocked to Cape Town's beaches and pools early on the Day of Goodwill (aka Boxing Day), standing in lengthy queues and creating major traffic jams.

The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, JP Smith, said about 4 000 people had formed a queue at the Sea Point Pavilion by early morning.

"The [municipal] pools are also starting to fill up... At Monwabisi and Mnandi beaches, we are expecting very big numbers," Smith said.

Muizenberg was also expected to attract more than 40 000 people.

"With current water shortages in the city, it was more likely people would come to the public pools, as well as the usual beaches," said Smith.

Drowning incidents

He added that Kalk Bay Tunnels filled up at a rapid pace on Tuesday morning.

The beaches at Fish Hoek, Hout Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay and Strandfontein are also popular hotspots over the festive season.

Traffic around all major recreational areas was congested as holidaymakers head to the beaches.

"There's heavy traffic [that's] slow moving as people head to the beaches," a traffic representative told News24.

Further outside of Cape Town, there was heavy traffic congestion around Gordon's Bay, Rooi-Els, Clarence Drive (R44)," senior traffic officer Theuns Botha said.

Meanwhile, initial reports from law-enforcement officials indicated that there were no drowning incidents or reports of injuries, despite the large number of people making use of the city's facilities.

By mid-morning, officials seized 4 500l of alcohol at roadblocks.

People pack the Sea Point pool. (Jan Cronje, News24)

With the number of holidaymakers expected to be between 200 000 to 250 000 for the day, strict regulations have been put in place, Smith said.

Police reservists, disaster management staff and extra traffic officials were hard at work, ensuring orderly celebrations.

More than 100 lifeguards, compared to the same period in 2016, have been hired.

A programme is also in place to tag children on beaches so that they can be easily reunited with their families in the event that they become lost.

"With all these arrangements and logistics, we want to make sure people have a safe time… and good memories."

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Read more on:    jp smith  |  cape town  |  traffic

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