Crystal Pools Hike, Gordon’s Bay

Posted on 16 February 2011

On Sunday 13 February I did the Crystal Pools hike in Gordon’s Bay. After hearing rave reviews about it and reading other people’s views I decided to join my buddies on this half-day hike.

Steenbras river - Crystal Pools Hiking Trail

Steenbras river – Crystal Pools Hiking Trail

All the reviews I read claimed that it was an easy or leisurely walk to the first waterfall. LIES! All lies! I could gauge by the way the other hikers passing us were dressed that they were told the same thing. Ladies with fancy flip flops and hand bags were walking slowly to avoid the MANY rocks you will encounter. It’s not hard – it’s just not as easy as most people make it out to be. Also, there’s no shade and the sun shows no mercy.

Crystal Pools hiking trail

We took about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the first rock pool. There’s nothing ‘crystal’ about it but it’s big and there are some logs floating around in case you’re too lazy to swim and you want to float about.

Swimming at Crystal Pools

The second pool is about five to 10 minutes further up (above the first pool). This one’s bigger and has a high kloofing spot. If you’ve got the balls, you can jump into the pool from about 18 metres above. Because the water’s so dark, it’s difficult to see the rocks below you so be careful while you’re swimming. There’s a little waterfall you can chill under and it has a cool view of the crazies jumping.

All in all it’s a fun day out – just wear appropriate walking shoes or takkies. It’s not that laidback. Wear sunscreen and a hat or cap. Take lots of water as I wouldn’t recommend drinking from the pools, and pack some lunch and snacks.

We didn’t go all the way up to the top waterfall because we underestimated the walk and the sun. So by the time we reached the second pool we were done for the day.

Crystal Pools



Permits are only obtainable ahead of time via the City of Cape Town.

Permit applications and hiking information can be obtained from Steenbras Nature Reserve by email:
[email protected]

More information on Facebook:

Full information on the hike available to download here:
Steenbras Nature Reserve Info PDF


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