holiday in Cape Town with their families seem to be setting out from their holiday cottages looking for information about safe swimming for the children, and tidal pools seem to feature prominently in searches on the Internet this summer. This article gives some information about the tidal pools found on the popular False Bay coast of Cape Town, where the water is a little warmer for bathing than the Atlantic side of the peninsula. All of these pools are enclosed by stone walls and offer protected and safe bathing for children. In addition they are well maintained by the City, which places a high priority of tourism in Cape Town.
St James Pool : There is a small beach here, with a large tidal pool that is surrounded by brightly coloured Victorian era bathing boxes which may make this the most photographed beach in Cape Town. The tidal pool is popular for child friendly bathing as it is quite shallow for most of the length although one can dive from the rocks into the deeper end. The pool is surrounded by a relatively low wall, which keeps the water refreshed but keeps children safe. There are plenty of rocks with little tidal pools to explore, full of marine treasures which will keep the kids occupied for hours when not swimming. There is a nice wide sand beach, but St James is very popular on weekends and holidays so it would be best to arrive early if you want to spend the day here. There are toilets, showers and changing rooms at the beach. A pleasant diversion is the walkway along the shore between St James and the beach at Muizenberg that will make an enjoyable meander with the children from where they can admire the ocean and some of the interesting and historic buildings facing the sea.
Dalebrook Pool : is a little further on the main road before one gets to Kalk Bay, and is not as well-known to visitors from outside of Cape Town. This is a great pool where one can swim quite energetically. It is also surrounded by a stone wall, but one which is low enough for the waves to break over the end and keep the pool clean. If taking the children, be sure to let them take their goggles and snorkels because there are plenty of little fish and marine plants in the pool that will keep them amazed. Access to the beach is through a subway under the railway line opposite Dalebrook Road. Toilets, a shower and changing room are available, and it is close enough to Kalk Bay should you need to purchase refreshments or snacks.
Glencairn Pool : on the main road between the popular family beaches of Fish Hoek and Simonstown is another large, walled tidal pool which offers perfectly safe bathing for kids. The pool is a little distance from the beach itself and is situated just below the railway station. It is also a good place to grab a sunbathing spot when the beach itself becomes overcrowded on the weekends. The beach is directly in front of Black Hill Road coming over the mountain from our affordable Noordhoek holiday accommodation and the GPS coordinates are : latitude: -34.15, longitude 18.41667
Miller’s Point municipal resort is a caravan park, boat launching site and tidal pool on the road between Simonstown and Cape Point. It is less popular and not as well-known as many of the other pools, probably because of the distance that one has to travel, but it has a really great tidal pool for children, surrounded by expansive green lawns on which the adults can relax. Although there is not much of a beach here, there are quite a number of small sandy coves where you could enjoy a private family picnic. GPS coordinates : S25.74446 E028.21735
Boulders Beach at Simonstown may not, strictly speaking, be a tidal pool, but it is a beautifully sheltered little beach with gently sloping sands, surrounded by massive boulders which enclose and protect the beach from wind, waves and even predators. The added advantage for children of bathing here is that it is also a sanctuary for the African Penguins who will share the beach and the water with them. Unlike most of the Cape Town beaches, there is an entry fee which contributes to the cost of running the Penguin sanctuary and information centre. It is not only a great spot for the kids to bathe, but they will have hours of fun climbing the boulders as well as ducking beneath them to get to the coves on the other side. It is a very popular beach and crowded at weekends and holidays, so it is best to arrive early as numbers are limited in order to preserve the peace of the penguins
No matter where you chose to stay during your affordable cape holidays, these tidal pools are at most 30 min drive from the city but you can access most of them by train either from Cape Town or from the quaint Victorian station at Muizenberg. Our Blog contains more information about safe bathing beaches of cape town.
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