Swimming in Cape Town: beaches and pools
South Africa’s Mother City offers an array of beautiful, white, sandy beaches and a refreshing, crystal-clear ocean set against an azure sky. The Cape Peninsula separates two of the great oceans of the world, the cold Atlantic Ocean and the slightly warmer Indian Ocean, which meet officially at Cape Aghulas. And if the ocean’s too cold, there’s also a great choice of public swimming pools in Cape Town.
West might be best…
The western or Atlantic side extends from Melkbosstrand in the north, past the harbour-side shopping Mecca of the V&A Waterfront, all the way to the Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park at Cape Point.
The beaches on the western side are ideally suited to long, lazy afternoons and slow evenings coloured by magnificent sunsets. Beaches include Blaauwberg, Sunset Beach, Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay, Llandudno, Hout Bay, Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Scarborough and more.
The protected Clifton beaches offer the best option for sheltered sunbathing when Cape Town’s southwesterly wind is howling.
… but there’s a feast in the east
On the Indian Ocean side or eastern coast you’ll find flat, wide beaches that are ideal for family outings, swimming and surfing. Most beaches here are preferred by the locals and are manned by lifeguards, which makes them relatively safe. Eastern beaches include Kogelbaai, Gordon’s Bay, Strand, Muizenberg, St James tidal pool and beach, Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town’s Long Beach, Boulders Beach and Windmill Beach.
Within reach you’ll find a beach
Cape Town’s beaches are a premier attraction for visitors and locals alike. The more popular beaches are Clifton, Camps Bay, Sunset Beach, Three Anchor Bay, Fish Hoek, Long Beach and Hout Bay. Most of these beaches offer a range of activities, including swimming, snorkelling, boating, kite surfing, kayaking, scuba diving and surfing. A bonus for those without transport is that most of these beaches are on public transport routes.
Cape Town boasts eight Blue-flag beaches for the 2011/2012 season (December 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012): Camps Bay, Muizenberg, Clifton Beach, Bikini Beach (Gordon’s Bay), Mnandi Beach, Llandudno, Silwerstroomstrand and Strandfontein. Blue-flag beaches earn their status due to their facilities, excellent water quality and high safety standards.
Naughty but nice
Naturists visiting Cape Town are welcome to call in at its famous nudist beach, Sandy Bay, by walking along a coastal path from the parking lot at Llandudno. Take refreshments with you, as there are no kiosk facilities provided. Note that there are no ablution facilities at Sandy Bay.
If the salty bite of seawater and the feel of sand between your toes holds no appeal, there are many public, hotel, club and resort pools open to tourists, including:
• Bellville Swimming Pool (Bellville)
• Camps Bay Tidal Pool (Camps Bay)
• Long Street Baths (Cape Town)
• Elsies River Swimming Pool (Elsies River)
• Hanover Park Swimming Pool (Hanover Park)
• Mnandi Resort Swimming Pool (Strandfontein)
• Sea Point Pavilion Swimming Pool (Sea Point)
What you need to know:
• Bring sunscreen (lots of it), sun hats and bottles of water
• For your own safety, listen to lifeguards
• Do not go swimming alone or at isolated beaches
• If conditions are rough, exercise caution
• Don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach
• At beaches such as Fish Hoek, where there are sharkspotters, observe the flags and do not go into the water when conditions are not safe
• Take your litter with you when you leave the beach – leave only footprints behind.
- Phone: +27 (0)21 487 6800
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