10 tips to help keep you safe in KZN this summer

The joys of summer travel. A woman sits at camp and enjoys views of the water. Picture: Unsplash

The joys of summer travel. A woman sits at camp and enjoys views of the water. Picture: Unsplash

Published Dec 14, 2023


Fun in the sun is a must this festive season. However, keeping safe while enjoying travelling or entertaining yourself is important.

Nothing can ruin your holiday as quickly as an unexpected accident or injury, so it’s best to exercise caution in whatever you do.

According to Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), its safety personnel are doing their utmost to protect visitors on holiday in the province. However, they do need your co-operation to keep you safe this festive season.

Here are 10 tips to help you stay safe and have an enjoyable summer in the province, according to the team at TKZN.

Be on the lookout for lifeguarded swimming areas

According to TKZN, many of KZN’s beaches are protected by lifeguards and these should be your first and only choice if you plan to catch a few waves.

“Only enter the water between designated red and yellow flags, especially when swimming with children,” advised TKZN.

Be water wise

“Remember that swimming in the sea is very different from swimming in a pool. If you are concerned about water quality at any beach, save the website of the nearest local authority on your phone, so you can check,” advised the tourism authority.

It also advised that you shouldn’t swim during bad weather and said that authorities usually close beaches to protect bathers against debris such as logs and other large items that may be washed down rivers and out to sea.

“Always chat to locals to find out about strong currents known as rip tides. If you do find yourself caught up in one, don’t panic and try to swim against it; instead, signal for help and then go with the flow, treading water until you are rescued or can make your way to shore,” said TKZN.

Keep children safe

Never let children out of your sight when you are near water.

“Youngsters should always be supervised by an adult who can swim. Groups of adults should also avoid being distracted,” said the tourism authority.

It also said that losing sight of a tiny tot for a split second can spell disaster.

Beware of beach craft

“Inflatable toys, lilos and bodyboards are potentially dangerous, especially in the sea. When winds are high and waves are big, they can be quickly swept out or hurt fellow bathers. So, use these under supervision and in the shallows,” said TKZN.

Protect yourself from the sun

The team advised that you take the necessary precautions to guard against sunburn and heatstroke in KZN’s warm and sunny climate.

“Although the sun is at its hottest between 9am and 2pm, always apply a high-factor sunscreen throughout the day. Small children with sensitive skin should also wear either a T-shirt or UV protective suit,” said TKZN.

It also said that sunscreens should be waterproof and reapplied every time you swim, while sun hats and sunglasses are also essential.

“To prevent heatstroke, take shelter from the sun and drink regularly,” it said.

Have a first-aid kit on hand

According to TKZN, broken glass bottles and discarded fish hooks and gut on beaches can injure bare feet.

“Be careful where you walk. Keep a basic first-aid kit in your beach or hiking bag to stop bleeding or clean a cut, but always go for medical help,” they advised.

Be careful when exploring rocky areas and tidal pools

The team at the tourism authority advised that travellers should be cautious when exploring rocky areas and tidal pools.

“Try not to venture to the edges of rocky outcrops, and never turn your back to the open ocean as a surprise wave can send you sprawling. If you are holidaying in the mountains, don’t get too close to unprotected edges.

“Always check whether a hike or rock climb matches your abilities and make sure that you have the necessary safety gear,” they advised.

Beware of bugs

According to TKZN, KZN, with its hot weather, is as popular with tourists as it is with bugs.

“Beware of stinging insects, especially those that are attracted by ice creams and lollies. Keep an antihistamine cream handy,” they said.

The team also advised that you make sure you have a mosquito repellent at hand in the evening and always check if you are staying in a malaria area so that you can take the necessary precautions.

“Jellyfish and bluebottle stings can be extremely painful, so avoid swimming if there are any in the water,” said TKZN.

Protect your cards

Summer is prime hunting season for fraudsters who know people are spending savings and bonuses on holiday.

The team at TKZN advised that you never let your banking cards out of your sight or tap rather than insert cards or use hi-tech payment methods such as e-wallets, which often offer an extra layer of protection.

“Avoid carrying unnecessary personal information and documents. Store them safely and always assume that any wi-fi network at a resort or public area could be compromised,” they advised.

They also said that you should report fraud to your bank immediately to minimise damage and beware of phone fraud and never give out your CVV number or an OTP number to a caller.

“If you have the slightest doubt, end the call and redial your service provider’s helpline to make sure that you are dealing with a bona fide problem,” said TKZN.

Stay clear of scams

And finally, when making a holiday booking, TKZN said to remember that if a special offer seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

“Scammers create fake listings or misrepresent existing ones. Avoid using unknown agents or intermediaries. Use reliable search engines and cross-reference properties with other websites, especially official websites like www.tourismgrading.co.za or www.kznedtea.gov.za or the TKZN Travel Guide,” they said.

They also advised that you always read reviews, call the resort directly and ask plenty of questions and, if you don’t get accurate or acceptable answers, stay away.