Beaches of South Africa
South Africa Beaches
An extraordinarily diverse coastline stretching over 3000 kilometres forms the borders with the Atlantic and Indian oceans. From the West Coast with its brilliant white beaches, dunes and blue seas, albeit a little cold at around 12 degrees Centigrade, to the East Coast beaches where holidaymakers play virtually all year round on endless golden sandy beaches with the luke-warm Indian Ocean invitingly rolling onto the sand.
The northeast coastline is one of South Africa’s last wilderness areas with hundreds of kilometres of deserted beaches – certainly an added attraction for nature lovers. Here the leatherback and loggerhead turtles still lay their eggs beneath some of the world’s highest forested dunes. Stand on these dunes, and you have a chance to see whales and dolphins frolicking in the ocean to the east, elephants strolling on the beaches and to the west; typical African bushveld teeming with wildlife.
Around the coastal cities, holiday towns and villages are ‘swimming beaches’ These beaches are protected by a professional team of personnel called lifeguards, patrolling them on foot and with 4 x 4 vehicles. The National Sea Rescue Insitute (NSRI) use boats to patrol the beaches, and shark nets are installed around the shark ‘hot spots’.
Many of the swimming beaches are awarded the coveted Blue Flag status. To achieve this status, a beach has to comply with more than 30 criteria related to water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and services.
There are large stretches of the coastline that are not protected by these measures. This does not prohibit one from enjoying it, but before taking the plunge, have a talk with the locals about safety and use some common sense to enjoy the adventure!