Where to swim around Cape Town when the beaches are full or closed

Posted on 5 January 2023

Going for a dip in the cool Atlantic Ocean is one of the many luxuries of living in Cape Town. It’s also a great way to cool down in the City’s summer heat. But where can you swim when the beaches are so full you can’t get a spot, or they’re closed?

We live in a city in which there are so many amazing options for us to swim. We have the best of everything: beautiful beaches linking to both the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, as well as tidal pools, dams and rivers.

Cape Town’s wide variety of bodies of water makes options endless. Here are some of the best lagoons, dams and rivers for swimming:

1. Silvermine Reservoir

Silvermine is a wonderful and safe place to go for a swim. In a scenic location, with lots of shade, this is a great spot for a family outing.

There are fantastic picnic and braai spots around the dam, and the area is dog and kid-friendly.

Picture: Silvermine Reservoir/ Facebook

2. St James Tidal Pool

St James Tidal Pool sits between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay and is perfect for everyone: families, sunbathers and surfers. The gorgeous water is generally calm and shallow, making it perfect for kids to play.

The area is wind-sheltered and boasts iconic multi-coloured bathing huts you’ve probably seen on postcards.

Picture: Vineyard Swimming

3. Sea Point Pavilion Swimming Pool

The Sea Point Swimming Pool is a popular spot to go, with facilities including an Olympic-sized pool, a springboard diving pool and two splash pools for children.

The pool, close to the busy city but also sporting gorgeous ocean views, also has a lawn area and various vendors and kiosks.

Picture: SafariNow

4. Langebaan Lagoon

The Langebaan Lagoon is a large saltwater lagoon that is protected by the West Coast National Park. The lagoon is beautiful, easily accessible and supports huge populations of natural creatures.

The waters are warmer than the sea, and the shallow depth makes it a safe spot for families.

6 must-do holiday activities in Langebaan
Picture: Facebook / Langebaan Lagoon

5. Kleinmond Lagoon

The Kleinmond Lagoon, in the Cape Overberg, is fed by the Palmiet River. The small lagoon is ideal for families, as small kids can paddle around safely in the water.

The lagoon is also set up for boating and fishing, with boats available for rental during the day.

Picture: Facebook / Kleinmond Lagoon

6. Cape Milner

The Cape Milner Hotel is a beautiful rooftop spot to swim, and you don’t need to be staying at the hotel to enjoy it.

The hotel and pool are easily accessible and give you a great spot to relax and cool off in the heart of the city.

Picture: The Cape Milner

7. Miller’s Point

Miller’s Point is a secluded tidal pool just outside of Simon’s Town. This hidden location boasts incredible views of the rocky bay, a waterslide into the pool and natural rock pools.

The area also has to change rooms and areas for picnics and braais.

Picture: Cape (town) Etc

8. Long Street Turkish Baths

The Turkish Baths on the end of Long Street are a huge part of Cape Town’s history. At 113 years old, the spot has provided a peaceful and welcoming spot to swim for people in the city for generations.

Once a week, the Long Street Turkish Baths have a women-only day of admission.

Picture: Ashanti Lodge

9. Crystal Pools Waterfall

The Crystal Pools near Gordon’s Bay make for a cool summer activity. The waterfall lies in the Steenbras Nature Reserve and is found after 45 minutes to an hour of hiking.

The hiking trail is full of indigenous fynbos, and there are two refreshing pools and a waterfall along the gorgeous route.

Picture: Gordon’s Bay Travel

10. Palmiet River

The Palmiet River, near Kleinmond, provides both a great spot to swim and an easy, flat trail to walk along. The walk goes on for about 10km from the parking area.

There are multiple designated spots for swimming, and the area is also well set up for picnics.

Picture: Facebook / Palmiet Lagoon

11. The President Hotel

The President Hotel, a gorgeous seaside resort close to the V&A Waterfront, opens its pool to day visitors. Although costs are R300 per person, this price includes pool and lounger usage, a towel and R200 towards food and drinks.

Booking is essential and can be done via email at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at 066 038 4521.

Picture: Kayak

12. Berg River Resort

Berg River Resort sits along the banks of the Berg River and does a wonderful job of allowing the public to share a space with the natural habitats of the area in a safe and thoughtful way.

Guests will be greeted by birds in the trees and fish in the waters. Day visitors are given designated grassy areas near the swimming pool where they can braai or picnic. There is also a splash pool for toddlers.

Picture: Facebook / Berg River Resort

13. Dalebrook

Dalebrook sits between St James and Kalk Bay and is one of the most beautiful places to be, especially at sunrise.

The area is known to be a fabulous whale-watching spot, and the large boulders in the pool give swimmers a cool spot to sit and take in the view.

Picture: Jay Caboz/ Getaway Gallery

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