The best Tidal Pools in the South Peninsula
Water, as we Capetonians are well aware, is hard to come by nowadays… but thankfully we know of a place that still has plenty of it. It’s called the ocean, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. We’re lucky enough to live in a region blessed with some of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world, so even with the current water restrictions; there are bucket-loads of options when looking for a spot to take a refreshing dip.
Of course, sometimes you want more than just a dip. Sometimes, you want a safe space where you can chill with a drink in hand without having to worry about being capsized by an onrushing wave, and where the kids can play freely. Well, thanks to the Cape’s collection of tidal pools, the oceans got you covered there, too. These serene swimming spots are regularly filled by the tides, providing all the benefits of a swimming pool without placing any strain on our water supply. So grab some suntan lotion, pack a picnic basket, and pay a visit to one of these natural swimming pools in the Cape.
Important note Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals alike are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crimes and accidents do happen.
Those venturing into the Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700. Criminal incidents should be reported to the nearest police station as soon as able.
We also recommend @safetymountain as a useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route and travel time via WhatsApp. You are then able to provide hourly updates on your progress, and to notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain
Found on the southern side of the False Bay coastline, some 5km outside of Simon’s Town, you’ll find Miller’s Point, which is divided into two sections. The first leads to a caravan site and The Black Marlin Seafood Restaurant, and the second section takes you to Rumbly Bay, where you will find one of two nearby boat launch sites and, wedged between, this secluded tidal pool. Caution is advised, as there are crafty baboons in the area, so please lock your cars carefully and don’t approach/feed these sneaky rascals.
Why we love it for its secret location – unless you know it’s there (quite a few locals do), you could miss it. It offers incredible views across the rocky bay, a fun water slide and some natural rock pools (ideal for kiddies to paddle in), change rooms, grassy picnic and braai spots. (No dogs allowed.) It’s also a great area for kayaking, snorkeling, surf skis and scuba-diving, with popular dive sites (Partridge Point, Castle Rock and Smitswinkel) nearby.
Fun fact The bay was discovered in 1825 by Edmund Miller, who made a whaling station here. When whaling was banned some years later, the coast remained virtually untouched for almost a hundred years. Today, Miller’s Point falls under the TMNP and is a popular whale-watching site, as two deep pools north of Miller’s Point attract the southern right whales and their calves.
Cost Boat launching fee is R90, and a separate entry fee is charged on weekends and during peak holiday season.
Where to find it Miller’s Point, M4, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
About 4km north of Simon’s Town lies the False Bay suburb of Glencairn, which is home to a beach that’s 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 – surfers and body boarders will opt for the northern end, with its small reef bank.
Why we love it It’s located near Glencairn Beach, a gentle, family- and dog-friendly beach that’s ideal for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and long strolls – on windy days, kite surfers can also get in some good air time. Both beach and tidal pool are easily visible from the railway line and, like the St James Tidal Pool, it holds a portion of the beach protectively enclosed within its old walls (built in the 1920s).
Where to find it Glencairn Beach, Glencairn, Cape Town
Important note: The renovations are done!