Holidayers' exit causes traffic jam
The weekend saw a mass exodus of inland holidaymakers from South Africa's coastal towns as tens of thousands of motorists headed home.
The return has kept traffic officials on their toes, with nothing left to chance.
With many holidaymakers extending their stay by a few days to maximise the last bit of relaxation, authorities say they are not letting their guard down until everyone has made the long trek home.
Warren Ozard, KwaZulu-Natal's east coast operations manager for the Federated Hospitality Association, yesterday said the traditional holidaymakers, who were in the province from December 16, began to leave from Friday.
"We say the festive season is traditionally from December 16 to January 6 because many go back to work from January 6. But this year with schools opening later, many have extended their holiday," he said.
Traffic leaving the province peaked at 2500 cars an hour on Saturday but eased yesterday.
Transport department spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said between 800 and 1000 cars an hour were recorded leaving the province yesterday.
"But traffic does tend to pick up in the afternoon so this could increase," he said.
Western Cape provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said the volumes of traffic coming and leaving the province had increased compared to the same time last year.
He said December 14 and 21 were the busiest days on the road. Africa yesterday anticipated that traffic volumes would increase as people continued to go home.
"People wait until the last day before travelling. We are expecting the roads to be constantly busy and to peak on Sunday as schools are opening soon," said Africa.
He said traffic police had been monitoring the roads 24 hours a day since December 1.