As Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma made their way out of the Cape Town International Airport in South Africa on December 28, chances are that their eyes fell upon one of the many signs on display there. One sign, for example, asks visitors to not flush the toilet. The South African capital is currently grappling with a severe water crisis. So much so, that signs at the airport are beseeching tourists to exercise caution while staying in the city.
Virat and Anushka took to Instagram just yesterday to share a glimpse of their sun-kissed South African honeymoon. The couple’s New Year wish said, “Wishing you all a very happy , healthy and prosperous new year ! Love and light to all (sic)” This is the second leg of their honeymoon after the two spent their first few days as a married couple in Rovaniemi in Finland. From minus 9 degrees at the Santa Claus village in the Arctic, to a South African summer in Cape Town, Virat and Anushka are busy experiencing the entire range of mercury.
The couple is in Cape Town, where the Virat-led Indian cricket team is playing a test series against South Africa. And their honeymoon seems to be fraught with some rules and regulations from the city authorities; guidelines that tourists to the city are expected to follow during their stay in Cape Town.
All flights landing in Cape Town are expected make announcements regarding the water crisis in the city, before touchdown.
The municipality of Cape Town wrote in a tweet that “ACSA has requested that all airlines do landing announcements, however they cannot enforce this. It is up to the airlines to take this on. (sic)
Alerts on the municipality’s other Twitter handle also identified several areas in the city that are facing ‘water outages’.
All hotels in Cape Town have issued guidelines and are requesting their guests to restrict usage of water. The Taj in Cape Town, for example, says on its website, “Please note that Cape Town is currently situated in a water-scarce region and in the midst of a very severe drought. In light of the water crisis Taj Cape Town is doing everything possible to conserve water at this time and requests your help in safeguarding this precious resource.”
A report in the New York Times says that the Taj has closed steam rooms and hot tubs in its spa. And if Virat and Anushka are staying in the hotel along with the Indian team, the couple will not be able to experience the hotel’s ‘standard honeymoon amenity of a rose-petal laden bath’.
The other hotel where the Indian cricket team is probably staying in, in Cape Town, is the Southern Sun Waterfront. This hotel too is, as are all others, coming up with ‘out of the box’ water-conservation ideas while keeping in mind their guests’ needs.
However, from a video tweeted by the official handle of BCCI, that showed the Indian cricket team arriving at their hotel in Cape Town, seems like the men in blue are in Taj for their series against South Africa this time around.
Guests to the city can expect plugs out of the bath in order to encourage showers over lavish baths in the tub. Showers too, are capped off at two minutes. For a bath plug, special requests need to be put in, it seems.
While till about September/October last year, guests to Cape Town did not see any of these water-conservation signs at the airport or landing announcements on flights, the situation is severe now. At the Cape Town International Airport, there are signs saying “If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” That, in addition to telling visitors that a single flush ‘uses 5 days of drinking water’.
From day one of 2018, level six water regulations have kicked in in Cape Town. While water restrictions have been imposed on residents in the city, Cape Town is encouraging tourists to visit the town because a major chunk of its GDP is dependent on tourism.
So if you’re planning to follow in the footsteps of Virat and Anushka and think of visiting Cape Town, be prepared. To help too.