Cape Town has some world famous beaches but if you are looking for a salty swim somewhere a bit more sheltered, there are numerous tidal pools to visit along the coast that provide safe, family-friendly places to swim and play.
Where to find it: South of Long Beach at De Kom, Cape Town
This tidal pool lies at the edge of the catwalk along De Kom. It is designed with concrete steps and a handrail for easy access. There are neat grass patches with shade from Milkwood trees making it conveniently suited for picnics. The pool is popular with kite-surfers and camping enthusiasts; and this serene swimming spot, which lies within sight of the famous Slangkop Lighthouse, makes a great pick for family and group outings.
Where to find it:Lighthouse Rd, Kommetjie, Cape Town
Situated south of Slangkop Lighthouse below the coastal road, this pool also offers a camp site and picnic areas. The natural bounty and richness of the surrounding environment, made up of rocky shorelines and pristine white beaches, also attracts birdlife including the endangered African Black Oyster-catcher and flamingos.
Where to find it: Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town
The first of Maiden’s Cove two tidal pools is found between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach and the second between Glen Beach and Clifton Beach. Renowned for their splendid views of both the mountain and the sea, both pools also have braai and picnic facilities nearby, making them popular for gatherings.
Where to find it:Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town
The large tidal pool at southern end of Camps Bay is one of the most popular tidal pools along the Atlantic Seaboard, particularly for families with young children, not least for the fact there are family friendly restaurants nearby.
Where to find it: Sea Point Promenade, Beach Rd, Cape Town
A hugely popular pool built into a rocky crevice next to Saunders Beach. The granite rocks create a wind barrier, giving it shelter on windy days.
Where to find it: Beach Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town
Milton Tidal Pool is a natural seawater tidal pool situated on Milton Beach in Sea Point, particularly popular with sunbathers and sundowners.
Where to find it: Off Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
Woolley’s tidal pool is located between Kalk Bay and Clovelly offering spectacular views across the bay. There are two pools, of which the smaller one is perfect for younger kids to paddle in. The flat rocks offer an ideal perch on which to sit and view whales in season, or simply enjoy the crashing of the waves.
Where to find it: Off Main Rd, Dalebrook, Cape Town
Hidden between St James and Kalk Bay, this pool is found opposite Dalebrook Place which makes it less crowded. Swimmers warm up by languishing on the large boulders, and – unusually for a tidal pool – it also has an outdoor shower and a changing room.
Where to find it: Main Rd, St James, Cape Town
Cape Town’s most iconic tidal pool, St James is easily recognised by the coloured beach huts that sit against the edge of the waters. The backdrop offered by these multi-coloured changing rooms add a bright splash of colour to the perfect seaside picture.
Where to find it: Miller’s Point Rd, Murdock Valley, Cape Town
Five kilometres south of Simon’s Town on the coastal road to Cape Point, this is a favourite launch point for kayakers and SUP enthusiasts. The tidal pool has a grassed area around the pool, and braai pits and changing rooms close by. This tidal pool not only offers natural rock pools but also a fun water slide.
Where to find it:Next to Glencairn station, Glencairn Beach, Cape Town
This tidal pool – popular amongst swimmers, snorkelers and sunbathers – actually holds a portion of the beach in its walls.
Where to find it: Strandfontein Rd, Mitchells Plain, Cape Town
The largest tidal pool in the southern hemisphere, this tidal pool forms part of Strandfontein Beach and has picnic and braai areas.
Where to find it: Off Baden Powell Dr, Khayelitsha, Cape Town
An enormous pool forming part of the popular Monwabisi resort, Monwabisi Tidal pool has many picnic and braai sites close by, set out on the terraced lawns for the day visitor and there are camping facilities and chalets available to hire for an overnight stay.