Cape Town, South Africa is in the middle of a devastating drought. The city is currently on Level 5 water restrictions, limiting citizens to just 50 liters of water each day. Though projects are underway to provide supplementary alternative water supplies, they will likely be unavailable through the month of March.
So, where did this drought come from? Cape Town’s water supply comes from several dams, all of which were below 40% capacity at the beginning of October, 2017—the end of the rainy season. It was estimated that this amount was not enough to sustain the city through the dry summer months ahead. The dangerously low dams catalyzed what is known as Day Zero—the day the taps will be switched off. This is estimated to be May 11th, 2018.The City of Cape Town has indicated that the water to the City Bowl, where most hotels are located, will not be switched off in order to preserve the tourism industry, which is a vital sector of the economy.
Though Cape Town’s crisis should not deter you from traveling to the city for vacation and/or safari, you should be aware of certain water-saving measures currently in place. Current restrictions allow for 50 liters per person per day. Though the City Bowl will be spared the devastating effects of Day Zero, visitors should be very aware of their own water usage. For example, limit your shower to just a couple of minutes—a 90-second shower uses 15 liters.
Upon arriving in Cape Town, you will be informed of these water-saving measures and provided with tips to assist your personal conservation. Some hotels have installed low-pressure shower heads, whereas others have removed bath plugs. Additionally, if a hotel is reliant on municipal water, they may not have a functioning swimming pool.
Put simply, you should not cancel your trip to South Africa. Though you should treat these water restrictions with respect, they should not be enough to deter you from visiting this wonderful country and beautiful city. As far as I know, no safari trips have been cancelled. You might, however, want to buy a few bottles of water at your departing airport.