Monday, 16 April 2007 16:13

Easter Security Featured

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The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is expected to draw capacity crowds to its coastal destinations over Easter, and special security plans are being put in place for the traditionally busy holiday long weekend.


The park authority on Monday said that accommodation was nearly fully booked, with a few campsites still available.

There was also some accommodation available outside the park, said spokesperson Pontso Pakkies.

She said there had been an increase in visitors following the natural breaching of the St Lucia estuary mouth earlier in March, and people were already enjoying new fishing opportunities with some grunter having been caught in the past few days.

'A zero tolerance attitude to crime will be adopted'
The Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife were working with municipalities, the SAPS, SANDF and Traffic department to ensure that safety measures were in place for visitors.

"A zero tolerance attitude to crime will be adopted," Pakkies said, adding that there would be visible policing in and around St Lucia and at the beach.

"There will be roadblocks and regular patrols by the SAPS, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Wetlands Crime Prevention Services. Facilities to deal with medical, fire and criminal incidents will be available," she assured visitors.

Pakkies said the high seas of the past week had had little lasting impact on the park's coastline, and visitors' enjoyment of St Lucia, Mapelane, Cape Vidal and Kosi Bay coastlines would not be affected during the Easter break.

"Visitors may suffer some minor inconvenience at Sodwana as a result of sand movement from beach erosion, however steps are well under way to ensure that this is minimal."

'No liquor would be allowed on the beach'
All park facilities along the coast were open for business as usual. The gate opening times into the popular Eastern Shores section of the park would be from 5am to 7pm. Once the gate was closed it would not open for latecomers.

"All accommodated visitors need to produce their booking slips or reference numbers at the gate, or pay the entrance fee."

Rhino Gold Card holders were entitled to free but not preferential entry, and a limit of 120 day visitor vehicles would be allowed into the Eastern Shores section of the park at the Crocodile Centre gate.

The Park Authority and KZN Wildlife reminded visitors to be cautious when driving, especially in isolated areas. Visitors were urged not to stop at lonely spots in the coastal forest reserve and Maputaland to picnic, take photographs, swim or fish, and to travel with another vehicle if possible.

The park's beaches were not protected by shark nets and there were very strong currents at times.

No liquor would be allowed on the beach and vehicles might be searched, Pakkies said.

There was a 24-hour emergency hotline, 035 590 1394 or 082 905 5622.

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