WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay Municipality is urging all visitors and residents to take the environment and the town’s coastline into consideration when engaging in recreation this festive season.
The municipality said residents and tourists should familiarise themselves with recreational activities and the areas where they are allowed to avoid being fined for any offence.
The municipality said in a statement issued on Monday that the town’s coastline has always been a popular choice for visitors to soak up the sun and cool breeze, while the more adventurous at heart take to the dunes and ocean in a variety of sports and recreational activities.
In the past the festive season has also seen its share of injuries and damage to property due to irresponsible behaviour and disregard for road safety and fellow road users.
“Such behaviour not only spoils the festive mood but can cause the loss of lives. Similarly, the desert environment is home to many unique plants and small animals that are destroyed by such behaviour,” it was stated.
To ensure a peaceful and safe holiday, visitors are reminded of the municipal by-laws relating to the control of the seashore, the sea and its environment that have been in force since January 2004.
“The control over recreational activities and permissible routes for off-road vehicles and quad bikes as introduced by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism a few years ago remains in place,” it further stated.
Visitors are prohibited from dumping, depositing, leaving, spilling, dropping or placing anything that affects the cleanliness of beaches. This includes leaving behind bait, fishhooks or offal on the beaches.
Transgressions will be regarded as a health nuisance, alternatively as indecent or offensive behaviour, and carry fines of N$1 000 or three months imprisonment, or both.
A similar fine will be imposed on those found guilty of damaging municipal property, notice boards, fences or any local authority building along the beaches. The municipality appeals to everyone to report any vandalised, broken or damaged municipal facility by phoning 081 122 0888 / 081 122 0833.
Visitors are not allowed to camp on the seashore overnight. Braais are not allowed on the beach unless suitable and removable containers are used. Do not leave ash or coals on the beach.
A fishing permit is required for recreational angling or crayfishing and can be obtained at the offices of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund. For more information, please contact the offices in Swakopmund at 064 – 410 1000 or in Walvis Bay at 064 – 201 6111.
Fishing is allowed at the Paaltjies area, and north of Walvis Bay up to the Swakop river mouth. Unwanted fish (sharks etc.) must be returned to the sea while bait and fishing tackle must be removed from the beach. Remember to use only the designated fish cleaning spots and refuse bins.
The Municipal Traffic Division and Nampol Traffic unit will exercise strict control over road use and adherence to traffic rules and signs.
Roadblocks will be set up to ensure that road users adhere to traffic safety regulations. Road users are reminded to wear seat belts at all times and to adhere to the speed limits.
Motorists should note that various speed limits apply between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Avoid drinking or using a cellphone while driving. Also make sure that you have your driver’s licence in the car when driving as well as the required emergency triangle.
Switch on your headlights between dusk and dawn, and in foggy or hazy conditions.
By Eveline de Klerk