If you can believe it, Cape Town is home to more than 20 unique tidal pools dotted along the Atlantic Ocean (West) and False Bay (East) coastline.
A bit of information that you might want to know first :
The local free diver Lisa Beasley has been championing a pilot project to clean the pools using eco-friendly methods, rather than toxic chemicals and aggressive removal of sea life from the pool walls.
Thanks to her hard work, and a team of likeminded communities, the pilot projects were a success. Now all tidal pools managed by the City of Cape Town are cleaned primarily using eco-friendly methods – like using high pressure hoses and environmentally friendly chalk-based paint. The work continued on through the COVID-19 lockdown, when a team of scientists from Anchor Research and Monitoring Pty, The Beach Co-Op (a local non-profit) and the City of Cape Town took advantage of the absence of humans on South Africa’s beaches to conduct the city’s first ever biodiversity survey.
That information is now being used as a baseline for further research of life in the tidal pools, as well as to help NGOs raise awareness of the abundance of marine life that inhabit the pools that we share.
Fancy a dip – here are 7 of the best tidal pools in Cape Town :
Fancy a crisp, early morning dip? Head to Dalebrook. 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.
- St James
With its postcard-perfect changeroom huts and stunning views of False Bay, St James is perhaps our best-loved and most photographed pool. Aside from the iconic Instagram worthy shots, the clear and shallow waters, surrounding rockpools, and nearby cafes make this a good spot.
Wooley’s tidal pool is a well-kept locals secret. Found hidden from the road between Kalk Bay and Glencairn it is a much quieter swim. The sunrises are no less spectacular on windless days.
- Maidens Cove
Maidens Cove has two tidal pools hidden between enormous granite boulders. The tidal pool has a special history as it was one the few beaches where non-white residents of Cape Town could come and enjoy a day at the sea in a whites-only area before 1994.
- Saunders Rock
The Atlantic coast is famous for its gorgeous sunsets – and its unrelenting wind. Luckily Saunders Rocks pool at Bantry Bay offers the perfect vantage to watch the sun sink into the sea thanks to the huge granite boulders which protect swimmers from the breeze.
- Camps Bay
Hidden among a row of boulders on Camps Bay beach, this pool has a breathtaking view of the majestic peaks of Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain. The coast is lined with restaurants, cafés, and bars, so bathers have plenty of options if they need a bite to eat after a day in the water.
About four kilometers north of Simon’s Town lies the False Bay suburb of Glencairn, which is home to a beach that is slightly longer and less populated than nearby Fish Hoek Beach. On the southern side of the beach is a tidal pool, where you can enjoy safe swimming. If St James tidal pool is too busy for your liking, continue south towards the town of Glencairn.
Here’s the full list of tidal pools in and around Cape Town :
Camps Bay Tidal Pool – Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Dalebrook Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Dalebrook
Glencairn Tidal Pool – Glencairn Beach, Glencairn
Graaff Tidal Pool – Sea Point Beach Front, Beach Road, Sea Point
Harmony Park Tidal Pool – Jan Bruin Street, Strand
Kalk Bay 1 Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay 2 Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Kalk Bay
Maiden’s Cove 1 Tidal Pool – Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Maiden’s Cove 2 Tidal Pool – Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Milton Tidal Pool – Off Beach Road, Sea Point
Monwabisi Tidal Pool – Off Baden Powell Drive, Khayelitsha
Saunders’ Rock Tidal Pool – Sea Point Promenade, Beach Road, Sea Point
Shelley Point Tidal Pool – M6, Glencairn
Silwerstroom Tidal Pool – Silwerstroom Resort, off Westcoast Road, Silwerstroom
Soetwater 1 Tidal Pool – Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie
Soetwater 2 Tidal Pool- Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie
Sparks Tidal Pool – Clarence Drive, R44, Gordon’s Bay
St James Tidal Pool – Main Road, St James
Strand Tidal Pool – Beach Road, Strand
Wooley’s Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Glencairn, Kalk Bay