7 dip-worthy tidal pools in KwaZulu-Natal

Posted on 2 March 2022 By Chloe Cowley

KwaZulu-Natal arguably has some of the best tidal pools in South Africa. Along the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, there is a fantastic selection of different pools to splash in on hot days.

Let’s take a look at our top seven.

1. Salt Rock

Salt Rock gomagoti

Picture: Flickr Commons/gomagoti

Located just a few meters north of Salt Rock beach, this tidal pool is the perfect spot to take a long dip or snorkel. It’s been around since the 1950s when it was built by Basil Hulett who foundered the Salt Rock Hotel.

After being drained a few years ago, the tidal pool has revived and is quickly filling up with life again. There is plenty to see beneath the surface of the blue ocean there, with lots of fish to be spotted.

2. Chaka’s Cove

Picture : Christian Skoda / nomad4ever

This beautiful tidal pool is a little hidden gem on the Dolphin Coast. The cove can be found just below the Salt Café, all you have to do is make your way down the beach access alleyway.

Although it’s not as big as some of the other tidal pools, you can expect to be amazed by the amount to see. Most notably, all the fish and crustaceans hiding in the natural rock features.

It’s also a great bathing spot!

3. Umdloti

Picture: Thokozani Malinga/ @mzansi2theworld

Umdloti tidal pool is made by a natural formation of rocks. Different forms of life move in and out of the tidal pool consistently, so every snorkel promises new sightings.

Although this is an incredible swimming spot, bathers do have to be careful when there is a larger-than-normal swell. This is because a very strong rip current occurs when the water drains out of the two naturally formed limestone channels in the outer wall of the tidal pool.

Check out things to do in Umdloti

4. Ballito Tidal Pool

Picture: Mark Uys/ @Eishairmedia

The Ballito Tidal Pool has a very convenient walkway that runs right down to it. It’s a beautiful spot, with stunning views across the coastal location.

If you have young kids, this spot is right for you as there is an ideal kids section that is shallow enough for them to splash around safely. There are also lots of rock pools at low tide which provide much entertainment for young and intrigued explorers. What’s great is that parents can relax on the beach while watching over from nearby.

5. Thompson’s Bay

Picture: Mark Uys/ @Eishairmedia

Thompson’s Bay is one of the more popular beaches along the Dolphin Coast. This tidal pool is always full of people enjoying the fun activities the pool has to offer. It is a wonderful spot to swim and snorkel in. An interesting fact is that the tidal pool is home to one of the most southern colonies of coral in Africa.

6. Tinley Manor

Picture: Mark Uys/ @Eishairmedia

This tidal pool is not too well-known and lies below a large hill. It is big enough to support various types of different sea animals which makes it a great place to explore.

For snorkellers who have tested out all the best spots near home, this tidal pool is a little off the beaten track and is an exciting new place to experience. What’s great is that you can grab a bite to eat right on the beach where some of the area’s best cuisine is on the menu.

7. Granny’s Pool

This tidal pool is the perfect, child-friendly snorkelling and swimming spot for beginners. It is shallow for a long way out and well protected from high swells. 

It is small, almost like an ocean water jacuzzi, so parents can keep an eye out from a close distance away on the beach without having to worry. 


KwaZulu-Natal named a leading place to visit in 2022 by Bloomberg

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