Tidal pools in Cape Town

3 October 2019

Summer in Cape Town is the time for melting ice creams on sun-baked shores, beach balls bouncing between friends and kids splashing about. The pools are free and safe from sharks and strong tides, and there are nineteen in Cape Town where the whole family can play and splash about in safety. Here are some of our favourites!


Set between the railway lines and ocean, this shallow pool is beautiful and a family-favourite. The water is slightly warmer here and the pool is mostly sheltered from the wind, meaning you can sunbathe and swim to your heart’s content. Nearly halfway between St James and Kalk Bay , this pool is surrounded by things to do and places to see so you can make a day trip of it.

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Maiden’s Cove

Flanked by mountains, boulders and the ocean, the bigger of the two Maiden’s Cove pools is where you can make memories with the whole family. The area has braai and picnic facilities so you can fill up with freshly braaied meat and potato salad after a refreshing swim. As moms would warn you, just remember not to swim on a full stomach!

St James

With the colourful bathing boxes as a backdrop, the St James tidal pool is a quintessential Cape Town location. On sunny days it gets warm and busy, so the people-watching possibilities become endless. Go early to avoid the crowd and even try a sunrise swim if you’re an early bird. With the railway and main road nearby, this is an accessible and popular area to explore.

Camps Bay

Driving along Victoria Road, it’s easy to see why Camps Bay is one of the most postcard-perfect beaches in town. It’s no surprise this pool on the Atlantic Seaboard is one of the most popular as it has a magnificent view of the beach and the Twelve Apostles.

Wooley’s Tidal Pool

This tidal pool on the coastal road between Kalk Bay and Clovelly is great for swimming and appreciating the natural beauty of the area. There’s a smaller splash pool for kids and an area for the real swimmers.


The two Soetwater pools on Lighthouse Road in Kommetjie are close to picnic and braai facilities so you can socialise and swim in the same picturesque area. The second pool also has a nearby environment centre which is great for school groups and families who love to learn about nature. You’ll need to pay a minimal fee to enter the Soetwater Resort, but it’s well worth it.


Take a day trip to the West Coast and enjoy a getaway to this striking tidal pool where you can swim, braai, and picnic like there’s no tomorrow. You’ll find this pool in the Silwerstroom Resort just off Westcoast Road, about 13km north of Melkbosstrand. The area is rich in biodiversity so you’ll be able to enjoy the view of the plant life and sea from this spot.


The idyllic suburb of Glencairn, about 4 km north of Simon’s Town, is home to the lesser populated Glencairn tidal pool. It’s a favourite amongst swimmers, snorkelers and sunbathers and for good reason. It’s also close to the train station, so easily accessible if you want to have a dip and then walk about the neighbourhood.

Sparks Tidal Pool

According to the City of Cape Town this pool is “known as one of the country’s best and most tranquil whale-watching and braai spots”. It’s located on Clarence Drive in Gordon’s Bay , and you can stop over at the nearby Spark’s Bay Beach where you can braai, picnic, and fish.

Buffels Bay

Pack your bather when you head to Cape Point and take a dip in their Buffel Bay tidal pools once you’ve explored the area and taken in the awe-inspiring views. You can picnic in the area and appreciate the sheer cliffs from a different angle on the beach. You’ll need to pay the Cape Point entry fee, but locals can get great discounts with a green card. The City Sightseeing bus also goes to Cape Point, which has the makings of a perfect day out Cape Town-style.

For more information check out the City of Cape Town site or give them a call on +27(0) 21 788 1929.

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