It is definitely the time of year to go on summer adventures in Cape Town… And did you know that there are nineteen Tidal Pools in and around greater Cape Town. The tidal pools are free, family friendly swimming areas, where you are protected from the dangers of the open ocean currents, but the water washes over the pool walls and is naturally cleaned out during the daily tidal range. I have been wanting to do the Tidal Pool Hop in False Bay for years now. Firstly it is free, and secondly on a beautiful day… it is absolutely magical.
What to Take: Essential Gear
For a day out tidal pool hopping you will need your usual beach necessities: costumes, towels, sun protection and snacks.
There is loads of lovely sea-life in our rock pools and really worth taking the time to explore and observe a little bit along the way. If you are looking for a great local sea-life guide book, then this one from Struik Nature is the one, as well as one for the kids:
Definitely pack some padkos, this is a picnic outing for sure… the early start means that you will need a coffee for the journey, SALT in Kalk Bay has a R10 coffee special before 9am at the moment, just so you know. If you need a pastry to go with it… the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay and C’est la vie in Fish Hoek are the places for a quick stop. The Blue Door in the Harbour House Shopping Center in Glencairn has the best toasties for miles, and Simonstown is full of places to get a fabulous bite to eat. The nature of the day though, hopping from tidal pool to tidal pool, definitely cries out for a cooler bag of picnic goodies… pack some summer fruity treats and away you go.
And The False Bay Tidal Pool Hop Route
- St. James Tidal Pool: – St. James beach is a popular family beach in Cape Town, particularly because of its beautiful tidal pool. It is a lovely place to start your day, in front of the famous and colourful beach houses. It is an easy walk between the first two or three pools, these pools are extremely popular amongst locals… so get there early to find a parking place.
- Dalebrook Tidal Pool: – This pool is opposite the popular coffee shop, the Chardonnay Deli… grab a coffee to enjoy at the poolside. It is a massively popular pool, loads of folk arrive for their sunrise dip and the crowds don’t abate until mid-winter… catch your dip and dash!
- Kalk Bay (Brass Bell): – For this pool, you go under the railway subway in Kalkbay, opposite the Ice Cafe, towards the Brass Bell Restaurant… it was emptied out for an upgrade when we went past. So we went on past it…
- Woolley’s Pool: – As you pass through Kalk Bay, just past the last house on the left hand side, there are a few parking spots and flight of stairs under the railway line to the pool. This pool is very popular with locals, but not so frequented by greater Cape Town.
- Skellies Rock Pool in Fish Hoek: – This is not technically a tidal pool, but a naturally enclosed rock pool. Some people insist that it is part of the tidal Pool Challenge and others choose to ignore it. You can find it along the walkway, Jagers Walk, on the Southern End of Fish Hoek beach.
- Glencairn Tidal Pool: – at the Southern end of Glencairn Beach, you can park at the station and it’s a short walk to the tidal pool. This is a lovely family friendly beaach and tidal pool and well worth a visit.
- Sara’s Pool: – about 500m further down the Main Road towards Simonstown, is a tiny little pool and very easy to miss. It is about halfway down the hill between Dixies restaurant and the Harbour Bay shopping mall, if you reach the mall you have gone too far. The entrance to the pool is marked by a green bin.
- Miller’s Point: – From Sara’s Pool, you miss all that is Picturesque Simonstown, because that is for another day, and head to the far side… past Boulder’s Beach, past Rocklands and past the first turn off to the campsite and take the next turn off to boat launch site parking, and then it is a little walk to one of Cape Town’s most beautiful spots… Miller’s Point pool is absolutely fantastic. It turns out that on the day of our Tidal Pool Hop, the swimming outside the pool was just as good as inside… magical day all round.
- BordjiesDrif Braai Spot and Tidal Pool: – The last two tidal pools are in the Cape Point Reserve and you will have to pay an entrance fee if you are wanting to visit them. They are both good for braais and picnics and a fabulous way to spend a day out.
- Buffels Bay Boat Ramp, as well as Braai Spot and Tidal Pool: Is slightly more popular than Bordjiesdrif, also excellent braai spots and you can expect a little visit from baboons… they will have a baboon monitor with them, listen to their monitor and you will be fine.
If you need to make it a full Ten Pools… then continue on into Nature Reserve at Cape Point, where they are two more tidal pools before you reach the point. You will have to pay an entrance fee to visit these pools, and while they are beautiful most of the time, they can be ridiculously busy over the holiday season. Cape Point has many beautiful Rock Pools, like Venus Pools, for swimming in and you might prefer to picnic there if the tidal pools are chaotic.