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It’s swimming season, baby!

Saunder’s Rocks, Sea Point, Cape Town

You wouldn’t be surprised to come upon this rocky little gem of a pool in a much wilder place than a few steps down and along from Beach Road in Sea Point, Cape Town.

Ideal for a sneaky weekday dip when you might find yourself alone in the water, though there will usually be at least a few people sunning themselves on the rocks, reading a book or yacking on their damn cellphone.

It is a different story on sunny summer Saturdays and Sundays when Saunder’s comes alive. It can get busy but is not usually too packed. At high tide, the pool is big enough to take a proper dip and even do some little-old-lady-breaststroke, but is not for real swimming.

Protected from the wind, there is some beach for the sun-worshippers, rocks for the posers and even a little jump from the boulders into the waves for the more adventurous.

Charlie’s Pool, Thompson’s Bay (Ballito/Chaka’s Rock), KwaZulu-Natal North Coast
(The Best Tidal Pool Ever!)

Swimming in this gloriously deep pool feels a lot like you are swimming in the sea, with waves crashing into the pool, and a constant flow of water in and out.

At 90m long, the pool is ideal for laps. There is an abundance of sea life, including coral, so it is wonderful for floating around in with a snorkel, too. And this is the Indian Ocean so it is gloriously swimmable for most of the year!

Dalebrook Pool, between St James and Kalk Bay, Cape Town

The poster child of tidal pools, Dalebrook is the perfect place for a pre-work swim when it is still basking in sunlight (mountain shade in afternoon, which is a different kind of nice).

Getting back to Cape Town in rush hour for the worker-bees can be a bitch tho’. Avoiding the traffic into town on a weekday is not the only reason you will be so pleased you stayed for breakfast at the wonderful Dalebrook Café across the road.

It is a gorgeous pool for a cooling (!) dip and some gentle circular laps. Olympian wannabees occasionally splash around and spoil the super-cool vibe before being put on their notice by a member of the eclectic, super-friendly community. Some of the old-timers in their cute, 1920s-style swimsuits look like they have been having a daily dip here since time began.

No matter how many times I swim at Dalebrook I am always struck by how lucky I am to swim in Cape Town’s iconic poster child of a tidal pool among those elegant old-timers.

Graaff’s Pool, Seapoint, Cape Town

This sweet little tidal pool is more of a paddling pool than a swimming pool. On the day I went there it was low tide and the water level was about waist-high, nice enough for an emergency cooling dip, but not much more.

I wished I had my water shoes on to make my way through the seaweed to the edge. Next time, I will wear shoes and go and hang on the wall at the edge and look out to sea (if the courting teenage couples will have me there).

A nice pool for families especially those with small children, being small and shallow and very easy to access from the road (just a few minutes walk on the sand).

A little research shows that Graaff’s Pool has quite a chequered history; this from Wikipedia:
Graaff’s Pool is a public bathing area, tidal pool and notable landmark in the Cape Town neighbourhood of Sea PointSouth Africa.

The pool was built by Pieter Marais in 1910.[1] Marais, a businessman in the wine trade, built the pool for his wife who was paralysed and was bathed in the ocean daily.

A tunnel was built from Marais’ manner house, Bordeaux, under the public road to the pool so that his wife might be brought to the pool unseen by the public.

The pool got its name when it was acquired by the businessman and politician Jacobus Arnoldus Graaff who bequeathed the pool to the City of Cape Town.[1][2]

For most of its history it was a men’s only nude swimming pool. In the late 1980s through to the early 2000s the pool was known as a popular hangout for the city’s gay community.[3] Due to concerns with the location becoming a crime hot spot in the 1990s it was closed at sunset every night.[1]

Prior to 2005, although publicly accessible, the pool was walled off with only is western side open to the ocean thereby allowing bathers to swim in the nude. The high walls were demolished due to public concerns with the site being frequently used by prostitutes and their clients as well as for the sale of illicit street drugs.[1][4]

Next time, lets talk about swimming at Silvermine …

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26th October 2023 8:28 am

A great reminder that it’s time to get our swimsuits out. The water is oh so cold and sooo healing. Instant reboot. We are blessed with so many great swimming spots.

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