Nudist survey reveals South Africa’s naked truth

By Frank Chemaly Time of article published Aug 21, 2021

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Don’t lose your bikini just yet, but eyebrows were raised this week when South Africa made it to number seven on a list of the world’s best skinny dipping venues.

While swimming naked or public nudity in general is still taboo in many places, in others, it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to cast aside your clothes for a day at the beach, with many beaches specially designated for those who wish to do so without fear of judgment.

Even more surprising was that the country boasted as many as 17 known nude beaches.

While Sandy Bay on the Cape Point and the unofficial nude beach just north of uMhlanga are possibly the best known, public nudity remains illegal in South Africa. Recent attempts to set up an official nude beach at Mpenjati on the KZN South Coast failed when local religious groups lodged complaints with the public protector.

On top of the 17 nudist beaches in the survey, the country boasts 25 naturist campsites. And with balmy average water temperatures of 20˚C, our beaches make a holiday nudist swim attractive.

Only Thailand, coming in at an average sea temperature of 26˚C, is warmer. That country came in fourth with just nine official nudist beaches and 12 camping sites.

France won the survey hands down, boasting 397 beaches and 212 camping sites which are all legal, followed by the US, where public nudity is not legal, with 299 beaches and 253 camping sites. Sunny Spain has the most beaches at 422 and came in third, with Australia and Israel sneaking in ahead of us at five and six. However, South Africa beat a decidedly chilly UK with average water temperatures of 11˚C.

And then there are places where you definitely don’t want to drop your costume on a whim at being one with nature.

The red list features countries where the penalties are steep and enforcement rigid. It takes in many of the world's top holiday destinations, including most of the Caribbean, the Maldives, Seychelles, and African neighbours Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar. Russia, too, is on the red list, despite President Vladimir Putin’s many topless escapades fishing in the country’s rivers.

The Independent on Saturday

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