Seaview beach in Karachi is undoubtedly the city’s most popular picnic destination. Thronged by masses of city-dwellers who escape their congested urban confines to breathe in the salty sea air, the beach pulses with life as soon as the sun dips lower. Unfortunately, this popularity does not translate into the beach being well-maintained. Some development has taken place here, but it is mostly ill-advised and seems focused on adding concrete to the beach promenade.
Meanwhile, the haphazard construction of restaurants and dumping of garbage continues. While the affluent make their way to the more exclusive beaches like Sandspit, Hawksbay and French Beach, Seaview remains the beach of choice of most of the city. And for guests visiting from outside Karachi, this is a mandatory outing!
Beach For All
With its relatively straightforward access, the beach front opens its heart to all like a shabby but generous friend. Picnickers arrive by bicycles, motorcycles, cars, rented buses, and Suzuki pick-ups. The beach stretches for about 3 kilometres and has three main entry points. Parking is easily available for a small charge.
While the beach attracts revellers every day, the weekends are when things really pick up. On Sundays, young Pathan men can be seen energetically dancing to the rhythmic beat of a dhol, adding to the entertainment.
The atmosphere in Seaview is always relaxed and festive. The many times I have visited the beach I have not seen any rowdy or disturbing behaviour. Children can be seen cavorting on the beach and young people strolling along or getting their cool game on. Most families that visit have representatives from three or four generations.
The top entertainment is, of course, splashing in the water and riding the waves. The second most popular activity is the camel ride. Squeals of mingled excitement and fear can be heard every time a camel stands up with its human cargo in its signature awkward manner and rises six feet above ground.
The more dignified types rent a fine horse and trot along the beach. Finally, there is the perennial favourite, the dune buggy. Decorated with flashing lights and roaring along at slightly alarming speeds, they certainly look exciting. Fortunately, I have never seen these getting involved in an accident.
Once in a while a ferris wheel or a rocking pirate ship turns up courtesy of the nearby Playland to offer even greater options to the revellers.
Of course, no picnic is complete without food. The top beach food is none other than the king of snacks, drum roll please, the roasted Bhutta (corn on the cob). For those who are in a mood for some more substantial food there is Pakora, Dahi Bara, Samosa, Chaat, Biryani, and even some delicious looking fried fish.
After all the fun and frolicking in the water, riding on the waves, and the refreshing embrace of fresh air, appetites are really roaring and the food tastes twice as good.
You can also take back a memento of your visit! Employ the service of an ace photographer who will take your picture and print it on his battery operated printer loaded onto a cart.
After you are done, you can collect your shoes from the Shoe Keeping Service. This is complemented by the Feet Washing Service which allows you to wash your feet with fresh for a nominal sum of ten rupees. And then you can go home feeling all relaxed and happy. After all, it is a full service beach.