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Huge wave surging onto road in Cape Town, South Africa during June 2023 storm? No, video shot six years earlier

IN SHORT: Cape Town is known for its stormy winters, and parts of the coastal South African city experienced flooding in June 2023. But a video of a wave crashing over a sea wall onto vehicles was filmed in 2017.

South Africa’s Western Cape province was hit by severe flooding in mid-June 2023, as heavy rain and wind swept its coast. The storms and floods also battered the port city of Cape Town, the country’s legislative capital.

Soon after, a TikTok video of a massive wave crashing over a sea wall and onto vehicles on a seafront road started circulating on social media with the claim it was filmed in Cape Town.

“Cape Town Sea Point this morning,” its caption reads. Sea Point is a suburb on Cape Town’s western coast, near the famous V&A Waterfront.

The video is shot in the rain through the windscreen of a moving vehicle. As the vehicle turns right a wave surges over the sea wall, flooding the street. Palm trees can be seen being battered by the water.

Cape Town is known for its wet and windy southern hemisphere winter weather. But was the video shot in Sea Point in June 2023?

FloodSA_False

Video appeared online after previous Cape Town storms

An online search for the caption brought up several other instances of the video. But these were posted on social media in early June 2020, when heavy rain also flooded parts of Cape Town.

So it wasn’t filmed in 2023. But social media isn’t reliable, so we dug further.

Africa Check took screenshots of frames from the video and ran them through Google’s reverse image search. This led us to an instance of the video uploaded on YouTube with the description “Cape Town Storm Posted 10 June 2020”.

But several users commented that the video was old. One gave a link to yet another instance, uploaded in 2017. Here the YouTube description reads “Cape Town storm - 7 June 2017”.

A search for the keywords “Sea Point  7 June 2017 storm flood Cape Town” led us to several news reports on yet another severe storm in the city on that date. One, on the website of the radio station Jacaranda FM, included the video.

The video is at least six years old. But was it really shot in Sea Point, Cape Town? Another look at the footage shows that it was – or, at least, very close to Sea Point.

Using Street View to pinpoint a location

Two vehicles in the video – an old model Mercedes Benz and a delivery van – have the CA number plates issued in Cape Town until April 2019.

From the 33-second mark, you see the shopfronts of two adjoining businesses, Norman Goodfellows and Rawson properties. The Rawson sign shows a phone number with Cape Town’s 021 calling code.

Africa Check googled “Rawson properties Cape Town” and found that it has a branch in Green Point, a suburb adjoining Sea Point.

We then looked up the branch’s address on Google Maps, switched to Street View, and saw the exact road the video was filmed on.

Here you can see the Norman Goodfellows and Rawson shopfronts, as well as the palm trees that were battered by the waves. Nearby highrise buildings are also the same.

The video was shot near Sea Point, probably in 2017 – not in 2023 or 2020.

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