Cape Town boasts many fantastic places to swim. The city is surrounded by stunning beaches and numerous tidal pools. For those who don’t want to brave the chilly Atlantic sea water there are many public and private swimming pools, as well as dams, lakes and reservoirs to take a dip in.
Some of the best swimming beaches in Cape Town can be found on either side of the peninsula. Clifton Beaches 1 to 4 are popular sunbathing beaches, with 4th beach being the most family oriented. They’re great to swim at too if you’re willing to tackle the freezing water. Lifeguards are on duty at these beaches during peak season.
Oudekraal Beach is located between Llandudno and Camps Bay. This picturesque beach is relatively sheltered making it ideal for swimming and snorkelling. While in the water, check out the Het Huis te Kraaiestein – one of Cape Town’s oldest shipwrecks. You’ll have to pay an entry fee to enjoy the beach and its wonderful semi-private braai facilities.
Muizenberg beach, on the warmer side of the peninsula, is perfect for long swims, beach walks and surfing. Be sure to take a camera for a few snaps in front of the iconic, colourful huts along the beach. There is also a public swimming pool nearby, with a 22m long main pool and shallow splash pool for children. Lifeguards are on duty at the swimming sections of the beach as well as at the pools.
For an extra special swimming experience, why not visit Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town? Pay an entry fee to access this sheltered beach and swim with the endangered African Penguins.
Many will argue that the best swimming spots in Cape Town are its many tidal pools. Tidal pools offer a milder option for adults and children that want a sea swim but are nervous of big waves and currents. The beautiful Dalebrook tidal pool near Kalk Bay is reached by walking through the subway under the railway line. The pool is bathed in sunlight in the mornings and provides a perfect spot to do some whale watching during whale season (June to December).
Miller’s Point tidal pool is a stunning, secluded tidal pool near Simon’s Town. There’s a water slide, changing rooms, and picnic and braai spots on the grass. This area is also popular with people who kayak, snorkel, surf ski and scuba dive. Like the Dalebrook tidal pool, it’s a fantastic whale watching site.
The St James tidal pool at St James beach is one of Cape Town’s most popular tidal pools and can become very busy. This is the perfect spot for families, who can also take photos alongside the multi- coloured huts next to the beach.
In Camps Bay, the Maiden’s Cove tidal pools are a stone’s throw away from the vibrant restaurant strip popular with tourists. Views from the tidal pools are stunning and there’s a grass area where you can have a braai or picnic.
If you’re looking for swimming pools in Cape Town, there are many public and private options. The Sea Point Pavilion swimming pool is arguably the most famous public pool facility in the city. Overlooking the ocean, the four swimming pools are filled with sea water. There’s an Olympic sized pool perfect for swimming laps in, two shallow pools for children, and a very deep one with a single diving board. There are changing rooms, ablutions, and a grass area to sunbathe. There is a small entry fee to enjoy this facility which is popular with locals and tourists.
Other public swimming pools in Cape Town include the Newlands Olympic sized swimming pool in the southern suburbs with its gorgeous mountain views. In Observatory, there’s a 33-metre pool as well as a shallow pool for children.
For a swim surrounded by history, head to the Turkish Baths at the top of Long Street – a popular shopping and party area – in the city centre. The facility also offers a steam room and sauna. Meanwhile, Blue Downs swimming pool is indoor and heated – perfect for winter swims.
There are various private pools at hotels and other venues. Some of the best options include the pools at the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel in Gardens, The Marly in Camps Bay, Cape Milner in Tamboerskloof, and a rooftop pool at the V&A Waterfront’s Radisson Red hotel.
For more swimming options, why not take a dip at one of these reservoirs, rock pools or rivers in and around Cape Town?