You can still go to the beach in South Africa – but only in these two far-flung districts
- Public access to beaches in Covid-19 hotspots has been revoked under adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations.
- With most coastal towns defined as hotspots, only two districts with beaches remain open to the public.
- The Umkhanyakude District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal and Namakwa District Municipality in the Northern Cape, neighbours to Mozambique and Namibia respectively, have escaped hotspot restrictions.
- Beaches around St Lucia, Sodwana Bay, Kosi Bay, Hondeklip Bay, and Port Nolloth will remain open.
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Most beaches along South Africa’s sprawling 2,800 km coastline are now closed to the public under adjusted Level 3 lockdown rules. Only two coastal districts, on opposite ends of the country, and neighbours to Namibia and Mozambique respectively, have avoided harsh hotspot regulations.
Access to beaches, dams, lakes, and rivers in South Africa’s 26 Covid-19 hotspots will be prohibited until the middle of January 2021.
The newly-declared hotspots, which now cover most of South Africa’s coastline, have been identified as particularly high-risk, due to the surge in coronavirus infections and the strain on medical resources there.
All coastal regions in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape have been declared hotspots. In KwaZulu-Natal, only one coastal district has escaped the hotspot label. No districts in the Northern Cape have been defined as hotspots.
Adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations allow for access to beaches in non-hotspot areas between 06:00 and 19:00.
According to the regulations under the Disaster Management Act, beaches in these regions remain open.
Umkhanyakude District Municipality – KwaZulu-Natal
The northernmost district in KwaZulu-Natal, the remote Umkhanyakude District Municipality is bordered by Mozambique on one side and eSwatini on the other. Home to Cape Vidal and St Lucia, South Africa's third-largest protected area spanning 280km, renowned for its biodiversity, the Umkhanyakude District Municipality offers isolated beaches extending into warm seas contrasted by lush wetlands.
Sodwana Bay, part of the Maputaland Marine Reserve, is a popular diving spot with pristine stretches of beach. Just two kilometres from Mozambique, Kosi Bay, which consists of four interlinked lakes leading to the KwaZulu-Natal coastline is another popular beach area in the Umkhanyakude District Municipality.
Namakwa District Municipality – Northern Cape
The arid Namakwa region in the Northern Cape extends to the Namibian border and has hundreds of kilometres of uninterrupted coastline. The coastal towns of Hondeklip Bay, Kleinsee, Port Nolloth, and Alexander Bay offer easy access to pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.
Travellers willing to brace to bitterly cold water – which seldom exceeds 15°C – can swim unencumbered by adjusted Level 3 lockdown restrictions.
Hondeklip Bay, located 533km from Cape Town, is a small fishing town, popular with seasonal holidaymakers. A series of shipwrecks dot Hondeklip Bay’s coastline and the caves situated at the mouth of the Spoeg River, 18km south of the town, are of particular interest to archaeologists.
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