It is that time of the year when the sea calls. Like those children of Hamelin, Karachi wallas flock to the sea, without a care in the world. A family outing in a city devoid of family entertainment venues. A hangout which hits you low on your Pocket. But does it? For the beginners, Karachi’s coastline is different from that of other cities. A large portion is out of bounds for ordinary denizens. Divided between Naval forces, commercial ventures and suspicious villagers, there is actually a small piece of coastline left for an ordinary Karachi walla. From Refineries to Naval bases, From private beaches to fishing villages, there are boundary walls and check-posts which keep you away.
This Ramadan, The Karachi walla drove all the way to Nathiagali, the famous naval beach next to paradise point. A friendly guard explained that the area was out of bounds. We turned around and started driving back. On our right we noticed few cars, and headed to one of the entrances of Cape Mount Beach. The area between Paradise point and Nathiagali is rocky but this particular point has mud rocks. To reach the beach, you have to find a way down. There is a broken staircase which disappears halfway down. Take the route which is safest. This beach is different from anything towards sandspit. There are no permanent fixtures around. Bring your entertainment along. A camel and horse walla was around which tells you that the area is frequented by visitors. However it was empty on a Ramadan Sunday.
Paradise point was the next stop en-route. The place was bit more crowded. The waves were in full swing, hitting the rocks with full throttle, making exquisite prints on their way back. The shops and huts have eroded with time leaving people to their own arrangements. There were children, there were women, there were onlookers.
The area next to point has been barricaded. You have to take a detour around what would have been a straight ride. Probably it’s KANUP or some security set-up. The next point on our route was the famous French beach. The small enterprising village has been transformed into a private beach, making it off-limits to general public. You need to have a hut or booking in one of those. There was a small checkpost at the entrance which was guarded by an eighty year old. He told us that we could not go inside. A friend once told me of a friend of a friend who managed the bookings there. We took his name. He opened the gate and let us in. Without saying a word. We drove around. There was a sign of relative prosperity in the village. The beach however looked the same. Surprise? Was it?
We moved out. Thirsty and tired, we looked for a bottle of cold water. Fearing we might not be able to get it on a Ramadan day but it proved baseless when we reached the first general store outside the French beach. The boys running the shop proved to be good hosts and even posed for a photo. We skipped Mubarak village as we were running out of time.
Sandspit was next. Vibrant and crowded. It was full of life. The commercialization has taken its toll on the area. The huts are running into each other leaving little space for people who drop by without the means. There is no free lunch here. No public toilets or anything. So go prepared. Book a hut or bribe the caretaker.
Move forward and you enter the wonderful world of mangroves. Make a stop at WWF center. Take a walk on the pathway swirling between mangroves. The center is closed on a sunday but dont miss the walk. You can stay late in turtle hatching season to witness flocks of turtle visiting the turtle beach.
This is where we ended our journey. You can continue your’s forward. Manora is the next major attraction but I am not sure if they still let in through the road. Knowing someone helps. Or you can visit the island through boat from Kemari.