A hundred naturists converged Saturday on a beach in South Africa, which has become Africa’s first official nudist beach, despite objections from some locals.
A 500-metre (yard) stretch of Mpenjati Beach, which lies on the Indian Ocean, received local government approval last year to become the continent’s first official nudist venue.
“It was a fantastic day on the beach, we had lots of people on the beach, no problem whatsoever, wonderful weather, warm water, fantastic beach,” enthused Serge Pavlovic, chairman of the South African National Naturist Association (SANNA).
“We got congratulations from all over the world,” he added.
Pavlovic said earlier that planned activities during the Easter weekend would include volleyball and sack races.
South Africa has been home to unofficial nude beaches for decades, such as Cape Town’s famous Sandy Bay, but this was the first weekend of authorised naked beach sports and sunbathing.
Last-minute objections by a local group secured a compromise from officials, who have designated the opening as a “trial run”.
The residents’ group said in its appeal that naked sun-lovers would have a “negative effect on a society that is striving for wholesome lifestyles”.
However the first day of the nudist beach passed without incident.
The Hibiscus Coast local municipality approved SANNA’s application last October, thus endorsing Africa’s first official naturist beach.
It has though said that visitor facilities cannot be built as the beach is a marine protected area.
The local authorities deferred a decision on the appeal, allowing the opening to go ahead.
Naturist associations say their members adhere to a strict code of conduct which bans voyeurism and indecent conduct.
Rows of logs were placed on Mpenjati beach to set the limits of the nudist area, while signs warned that passers-by were likely to encounter nude sunbathers.