TRAFFIC leading to the city’s beaches slowed to a snail’s pace as the sweltering heat drew Capetonians to the ocean to cool off.
While retailers couldn’t keep up with a high demand for plastic pools, water slides and other gadgets such as electronic fans as residents tried to find some relief as the mercury peak at 40ºC in some parts of the Western Cape.
By midday on Saturday and Sunday beaches were packed and adjacent parking had already reached full capacity.
Chantel Alexander from the city’s disaster risk management team confirmed that the South African Weather Service had advised that the city would experience “hot to extremely hot conditions” over the weekend.
Gordon’s Bay, Bikini Beach, Strand Beach and Noordhoek Beach were reported to have been 100% full with no parking available.
Mnandi Beach near Strandfontein was at 80% capacity, while Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg was full. Traffic in Victoria Road between Bantry Bay and Camps Bay Beach slowed down but managed to keep moving throughout the day.
Macassar Beach had only 20 vehicles parked in its vicinity, with Strandfontein Beach having 60.
Animal rights organisations encouraged pet owners to take care of their furry companions. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA warned that leaving pets in a hot car – even parked in a shaded area with the windows rolled down could be fatal. The organisation also advised to walk dogs when it was cooler as hot pavements could injure their paws.
The busy Ou Kaapse Weg was also closed for a few hours after a vegetation fire broke out on both sides of the road.
Spokesperson for the city’s fire and rescue service Jermaine Carelse confirmed that the fire had been brought under control after a few hours.
“The swift response of the City of Cape Town's fire and rescue service, in collaboration with Table Mountain National Parks and Wildland Fire Volunteers, managed to stop the fire from spreading further,” he said.
“We had 12 firefighting appliances and approximately 80 staff members on scene, including the two sets of seasonal firefighters.”
Carelse confirmed that helicopters had water-bombed the area, aiding the crew on the ground actively fighting the fire.