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20 December 2011

SAWDIS Holiday Alert 2011/2012

Durban beaches dotted with bluebottles

While Durban’s weather has been inviting to beach-goers, its waters have not been as welcoming.

Swept in by a north-easterly wind, the sea was dotted with bluebottles on Monday and the hoards of swimmers frequenting the beaches were given a nasty surprise.

Despite countless bluebottles covering the shoreline at Durban’s North Beach, people still played in the water, many of them oblivious to the lurking danger.

Microphone Mthembu said he was in the water when he felt something wrap around his leg, followed by a burning sensation.

He said the lifeguards noticed him and called him to their tower to treat the sting.

Azhar Mayet said his seven-year-old daughter, Zahraa, was stung by a bluebottle after it washed ashore.

The little girl, who was stung on her toe, said she had been walking alongside the water when she felt “a very sore pain”.

Four people were stung within minutes of each other and reported to the lifeguards’ tower where a supply of vinegar was available to treat their stings.

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said bluebottle stings are typically treated with vinegar, after which the person should be kept cool.

However, reaction to a bluebottle sting is dependent on the person, said Wicks, advising that the person should be monitored as, in instances of allergic reaction, a person could go into anaphylactic shock.

Bruce Mann, senior scientist at Oceanographic Research Institute, said bluebottle stings are rarely fatal, but explained that a bluebottle’s tentacles have stinging cells with a firing mechanism.

He said people should remove the tentacle gently rather than rubbing it off the skin because this aggravates the stinging cells.

Mann said bluebottles are commonly found in KwaZulu-Natal waters at this time of the year.

“The north-easterly wind, which is prevalent in Durban during summer, and the coastline’s warm water keep bluebottles on the city’s shores.”

He said a change in wind direction would bring some relief from the bluebottles, as it would sweep it offshore.

- Daily News

Sodwana dispute: tourism impact?

Residents living around Sodwana Bay have criticised wildlife authorities for their handling of a dispute with a number of holidaymakers over beach parking.

They are worried the issue may impact tourism in the area.

Angry holidaymakers used their vehicles to create a blockade between campsites at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the beach on Sunday.

They were upset that the number of vehicles allowed to park on the beach has been restricted to 200.

Police were eventually called in to clear the blockade.

Authorities say the restriction is in line with laws which prohibit parking on the country's beaches.

However, local resident Mdu Nguni says many holidaymakers were caught off-guard by the change in regulations, which has now caused some to cut their trips short.

He says this has an impact on locals who depend on tourism for survival.

"There is just no employment in this area. People depend on holidaymakers for their survival, even those who have businesses outside [the park]," he said.

"Those who come here to fish and dive and do a number of things, if they are not taken care of, [locals] won't have anything for their families, and we will lose a number of jobs.

"The day when the protest happened, many of them were saying 'no, we're pulling out', they were saying 'we're going to Mozambique.'"

- East Coast Radio

Kruger National Park runs out of unleaded

The Kruger National Park on Tuesday warned visitors to fill up their petrol tanks before heading to the reserve as it was experiencing a fuel shortage.

Spokesman William Mabasa said there was a shortage of unleaded petrol at most of the park's filling stations.

The situation was a result of a general shortage of fuel in the country which was not only affecting the Kruger National Park but many other filling stations in the region, he said.

"There is still petrol in some of the camps. However, rest camps such as Skukuza, Letaba, Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop and Shingwedzi have no unleaded petrol at the moment.

"We expect delivery of fuel from the supplier on Wednesday, 21 December and as management, we will work around the clock to ensure that this problem is resolved as quickly as possible," Masaba said.

Mabasa said park management would also like to ensure there was enough fuel for guests during the coming Christmas weekend.

"On behalf of management, we also take this opportunity to apologise to all our guests for the inconveniences which they may have suffered as result of this situation," he said.

- Times Live

Western Cape road fatality statistics

WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Robin Carlisle, the minister of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, has released the latest fatality statistics for the festive season, which began on 1 December 2011.

"By the end of the day on Sunday,18 December 2011, a total of 90 people had died on our roads," said Minister Carlisle.

"Over the same period last year 95 people had died. This means there has been a slight decrease in fatalities.

"Close to half – 38 – of the 90 deaths have been pedestrians. Meanwhile, 33 passengers have lost their lives, 13 drivers, 4 motorcyclists and 2 cyclists.

"Given the efforts that we have put in over the last two years and especially over the last two weeks, I am bitterly disappointed by the results.

"Included in the statistics are a 4-month-old, a number of 1 and 4-year-olds, and other innocent children whose lives have been snuffed out almost before they could begin.

"I once again appeal to motorists to obey the rules of the road - don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, leave your cell phone alone and watch out for pedestrians."

He added: "Please do not do anything to prevent you or anyone else from getting safely home."

- George Herald

No tents in streets, metro cops warn

Johannesburg - People will not be allowed to erect tents on public roads for festive season parties, Johannesburg metro police said on Monday.

"The tents will be confiscated and people will be fined R1 000, as erecting of tents is a contravention of the road by-laws," spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

"To get back your tents you will pay a further fine of R2 000. We have already confiscated tents in Alexandra and Ivory Park."

Minnaar also said people going to municipal parks would not be allowed to take liquor in.

"We have already started patrolling parks. It is a contravention of the park by-laws to take liquor onto the premises."

- SAPA/News24