The Durban beachfront is everyone's favourite haunt over the festive season. And with good reason; you have the inviting warm Indian Ocean and glorious sunshine, while your feet sinks into the golden sand. Of course, it’s all very well to suntan on those beach mats or enjoy the shady comfort of your umbrellas while taking in those beautiful panoramic views, but an idyllic day out could change into a dangerous one.
At a recently-held launch of the second season of Durban Beach Rescue, the lifeguards that star in the reality show offered a few tips to ensure beachgoers keep safe over the busiest time of the year.
Interestingly, the TV show reveals what transpires on Durban’s beachfront during the December-January period - think of it as cautionary tales, if you will.
Sihle Xaba says one lifeguard is allocated to 10 000-12 000 beachgoers during the festive period.
“There are hundreds of people in the water at any given time and our job is to be ready if something happens. We watch the water constantly, just in case someone suffers a heat stroke, heart attack or a seizure,” he says.
His fellow lifeguard, Clinton Van Der Merwe, says beach visitors should always listen to their life guard. He says there are people who practice daring stunts, where they jump off the pier, drink on the beach and swim at night- some of the incidents viewers will see on the show.
“While the festive season is meant for fun, it is important to ensure people prioritise their safety. Many people do not practice safety and this leads to them encountering dangerous situations,” he adds.
A seasoned lifeguard, with 25 years experience under his belt, says that during the festive season there are around 100 incidents a day.
Where to beach?
Here are some options:
Family: There is nothing that says family bonding time than a beach outing. For the best experience, visit uShaka Beach, Amanzimtoti Beach and uMhlanga Beach.
A little privacy: For those who do not like large crowds, visit Hole in the Wall beach at Shaka's Rock on the Dolphin Coast.
Surf spots:Those who want to get some surfing done can visit North Beach and Battery Beach.
Tan: One can tan at any beach, but uShaka beach is recommended.
Fishing: No fishing is allowed on bathing areas. Fishing spots include Snake Park Pier, near Circus Circus restaurant, and Blue Lagoon. Those who fish will require a permit.
Snorkel: Vetchies Reef.
Spots for kids to swim: South Beach Pools, CAC Pool by Fun World amusement park and uShaka beach.
Braai: There are designated braai spots at the Durban beachfront. One can braai from Country Club (known as Sun Kist) to Blue Lagoon.
Durban Beach Rescue season 2 is on Travel Channel (DStv channel 179) on Mondays, at 8pm.