Photo by Dan Grinwis
Check out the best tidal pools in and around Cape Town - perfect for a day of swimming and sunbathing!
The Western Cape is home to twenty tidal pools, most of them around Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula. These are some of the best of the best.
If you can’t figure out which tidal pool to visit first after reading this list, it is possible to visit and swim in a bunch of them in a short period of time. A friend and I managed to visit and swim in thirteen in one day!
Here are a few of my top tips before you take the plunge.
Be prepared get chilly. The water in Cape Town is cold, but it's also a rite of passage.
Watch out for the sea urchins! If you’re the queen of getting pricked by these bad boys like I am, consider wearing waterproof shoes into the pools, and avoid stepping or kicking near the rocks or pool edges. Seriously, I've done this more times than I can count on two feet.
Don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach. I know. How do you do that if you plan to swim? Have a friend stand guard, or if you have a waterproof car key you can safely hook to your cosi, stash your goods in your car while you take a dip. Cars have been known to be stolen from incautious sea-goers.
Psst…Want more Cape Town, South Africa travel tips? Check out these other posts:
Guide to Visiting South Africa for the First Time
30+ of the Best, Most Iconic Places to Eat and Drink in Cape Town
Read on for a list of where to brave the icy waters next!
Table of Contents
dalebrook tidal pool
If you’ve never visited a tidal pool before, Dalebrook is a great way to get our feet wet! It’s my absolute favorite tidal pool in Cape Town with a steady crew showing up all hours of the early morning to cheer you on. With temps between 60°F/16°C to 72°F/22°C, you might need them! Dalebrook Café across the street even takes coffee orders from the tidal pool and will watch your valuables for free while you swim. Search for starfish on the rocks, watch the yellow train breeze past, and gaze longingly across the bay towards the Cape Peninsula.
st. james tidal pool
St. James Tidal Pool might be the most Insta-worthy tidal pool in Cape Town. With the brightly colored red, yellow, green, and blue changing houses reflecting into the pool, it might just be the cheeriest spot to take a swim. If you want to take photos of the pool, try visiting during sunset on a weeknight. There will be even less competition to get in your shot in the winter (May - August), when most can’t brave the 58°F, 14°C temps.
Wooley's tidal pool
Tucked away along the curve from Kalk Bay to Fish Hoek, lies Wooley 's Tidal Pool. Park along the road and take the steps down to swim in this peaceful spot overlooking Fish Hoek Beach, Glen Cairn, and the yellow train as it glides by.