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Water restrictions

Cape Town and the surrounding areas suffer from serious water shortages. A lot is being done to solve this, but the persistent drought has a major impact on this part of South Africa and possibly on your trip. Please take this into account if you are traveling in the Western Cape. Fortunately, the drought has only a limited impact on the experience of the visitor. However, hotels and lodges will ask the visitor to use water sparingly. More information below.

The water level of the dams is so low that water restrictions have been used in the Western Cape. These have recently been changed to level 5. From February 2018 the water restrictions are a maximum of 50 litres per day per person.

To put this into perspective: a short shower of 5 minutes uses about 50 litres of water. Flushing the toilet also uses 9-11 litres of water. Have a washing machine running and you are at your limit for the day.

Other rules that come with a level 5 water restriction (unless you have a borehole, which many lodges have outside the city):

    Jacuzzi's and swimming pools are not allowed to be refilled
    You are not allowed to water your garden
    You are not allowed to wash your car

Due to all these measures, the date of 'D-Day', the dreaded day on which the residents should queue for water, has already been moved several times. Recently the date moved to 9 July! This is very good news, because that is the period in which the rainy season starts in Southern Africa for centuries.

To contribute a bit, the visitor should for example, not shower for more than 1-2 minutes. It is also possible that the water in the pool at your accommodation is replaced by salt water or that the pool is not filled. Because it is not allowed to wash cars in some areas, your rental car may be handed over to you dirtier (on the outside) than you might be used to.

Everyone is invited to think and work in this large water shortage. If you are traveling in the Western Cape, keep this in mind and try to save as much water as possible.

There is no lack of drinking water and sufficient water is available for normal personal hygiene needs. Accommodations have taken measures, and many have provided alternative water supplies. It is therefore not necessary to postpone your vacation, especially now that Cape Town and the surrounding areas desperately need tourism income. International visitors only account for about 1% of the total population of Cape Town during the year. The impact on water resources by you as a tourist is therefore minimal.

If you do not like the above, consider visiting one of the many other beautiful provinces of South Africa. Feel free to ask us for advice.

We hope for your understanding and cooperation with these water restrictions during your trip in South Africa.

Below you can see a map of the Western Cape, indicating which areas have the largest water restrictions (yellow areas):

Statement South African Tourism:

Dear travel partner,

Many of you are already aware of the drought situation in Cape Town and immediate surroundings. Again, at SAT we receive more and more questions from consumers and travel agents about this situation, and whether they can still travel to Cape Town.

We would like to clear the air and tell you that Cape Town is still open for business despite the heavy droughts and would like to receive visitors, although an explicit request is made to visitors to handle water very sparingly. In many messages, Day Zero is spoken of. This is the day on which the level in drinking water dams would be so low that the quality cannot be sufficiently guaranteed and the municipality is forced to close the water. According to current calculations, this day, if there is no rain, would be at the end of April. However, should it come this far, the city will ensure that the city's visitors will still have enough water, and many projects have been started to desal seawater, for example, and to tap new drinking water wells.

Click here for a statement sent by SATSA, and signed by cities such as City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism and WESGRO. Here you will find more up-to-date information about the issue with an FAQ.

If customers are still wary of this situation in Cape Town, there are many other wonderful destinations to visit in South Africa. The other parts of South Africa (including the Garden Route) do not suffer from this heavy drought, but one always has to consciously keep going with water.