St Lucia security stance is one of zero tolerance

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Security is being stepped up in the coastal destinations of iSimangaliso Wetland Park at St Lucia in northern Zululand to cater for capacity crowds this holiday season.

Accommodation in and adjacent to the park, ranging from camping sites to self-catering units and lodges, are booked to capacity from the week before Christmas until early in the New Year.

Visitors are urged not to arrive without booking arrangements but to contact individual camps and accommodation facilities in case of cancellations.

Authorities will adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards crime and there will be regular patrols by police and other security partners.

Special patrols, operations and road blocks have been planned to reduce crime.

iSimangaliso, together with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the Mtubatuba Municipality, Daywatch and SAPS announced plans to ensure that visitors enjoy themselves in the southern section of iSimangaliso and St Lucia town over the festive season.

"We are taking measures with our partners and communities to ensure that visitors have a safe stay here," said Mtubatuba municipal manager Michael Ntombela.

A limit of 120 day-visitor vehicles is allowed into the eastern shores of iSimangaliso.

"No liquor will be allowed on the beach and vehicles may be searched.

"Visitors are reminded that the beaches are unprotected [there are no shark nets], with very strong sea currents," he added.

As the St Lucia Lake and estuary have a large hippo and crocodile population, visitors are advised to keep clear of the water's edge and not to enter the water.

Hippos are very active at night at Cape Vidal and at St Lucia, and visitors should carry a strong torch if they have to move within the confines of these areas after dark.

Crocodiles are also unusually active at this time of the year because it is their breeding season.

Feeding of animals, especially crocodiles, is illegal. While it might provide a momentary thrill, it can lead to habituation and result in the animal having to be shot, said Ntombela.

He said a vehicle management plan has been drawn up for Sodwana Bay to deal with parking congestion problems.

Parking space on and in the vicinity of the beach for a total of 550 vehicles is available.

No 4x4 vehicles are allowed on the beach except for people launching boats.

The use of motorbikes and quadbikes is not permitted at Sodwana Bay nor anywhere else in iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Holiday-makers who bring them in will not be permitted to remove them from their trailers.