Northern Cape coastal towns prepare for tourist boom
Kimberley - It remains to be seen whether the Northern Cape coastal areas will be able to cope with the much-anticipated influx of tourists and expected demand for accommodation in the province’s coastal towns.
Part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the country would enter an adjusted level 3 lockdown until January was the news that only beaches in non-hot spots would be open to the public.
Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Tuesday that the Northern Cape is the only province where beaches will remain open to the public.
Beaches will only be open between 6am and 7pm and will be monitored for compliance with all health protocols and social distancing measures.
Neither the Northern Cape Tourism Authority nor the municipalities in these coastal towns could confirm whether there was an increased interest in holiday bookings.
However, a Port Nolloth resident indicated that there was already an influx of cars and people to the Namakwa coastal routes, Hondeklip Bay and Kleinzee.
He highlighted that tourists have already started setting up tents on the local beaches.
“We are used to the influx of visitors during this time of the year. I think this is due to the remoteness of our area that attracts tourists to this region. But this year there seems to be an increase already. It is currently higher than the usual rate during this time of the year. Vehicles are coming from all over,” the resident said.
Jeanine Jezznits from the Namakwa Coastal Route noted the high number of calls of interest from potential tourists who were looking to visit the local small dorpies in the district for a beach experience due to the closure of the KZN and Western Cape beaches.
She indicated that her role is to recommend accommodation in the Kleinzee area.
According to Jezznits, there are still establishments that can accommodate individuals and smaller groups of people but guests in larger groups might encounter challenges in finding accommodation at this stage.
“We had a quiet season this year, which we cannot complain about, but our beaches are currently getting the attention that we have always been longing for,” said Jezznits.
She however warned guests to take the necessary precautions regarding the Covid-19 regulations to prevent an unnecessary outbreak due to the limited medical resources available in the small towns.
“Our guests should also take the necessary precautions and act responsibly,” she concluded.