Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the most sought after cities to visit in South Africa. During the December holidays especially, the city welcomes thousands of visitors from all walks of life to its streets and shore. Despite all the fun and activity outdoors, the city’s scorching temperatures can become draining and even overwhelming at times. Cooling down, whether by sitting in an air-conditioned space indoors or taking a dip in a pool, is a must-do if you’re to survive the heat.
So, without further ado, dig out your cozzies, shades, and sun block and set off to these public swimming and rooftop pools in and around Cape Town.
Long Street Turkish Baths
At the top of Long Street, past all the interesting designer shops and restaurants (just before McDonalds), you’ll come across one of the street’s most iconic buildings – the Turkish Baths. Look carefully as you walk, as it’s easy to miss for those who are unfamiliar with the area. The Turkish Baths is a Cape Town institution that attracts locals and visitors wishing to escape the heat and splash about with friends and family. Once inside, you’ll be keen to jump into the cold 25m x 12m pool, large enough to accommodate 600 people. For the little folk, there is a pool to have fun and splash in. Lifeguards are on duty during peak season for peace of mind.
Opening hours: Mondays – Sundays: 7am-7pm; all year round
Costs: Pool access costs R5.50p/p for adults, R1.50p/p for children (under 16) and R75p/p for a monthly membership.
Address: Corner Long & Orange streets, Cape Town.
Tel: (021) 422 0100
Batstone Rooftop Pool
Retreat to the Batstone Rooftop Pool to escape the throngs of tourists and holidaymakers who make a beeline for the beaches. Situated on the rooftop of the Cape Quarter Shopping Centre in Somerset Road, De Waterkant, this stylish meeting and cooling-down venue will grab your attention. Bastone’s location is of the best. Once at the rooftop pool, order an exotic cocktail and unwind on a sun lounger while catching glimpses of the awesome vistas over the city. Batstone is a great destination for meeting friends after work or for hosting work meetings in an alternative, relaxing venue. It has Internet access too.
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sundays: 11am – sunset; Closes during July/August
Costs: FREE (open to the public)
Address: Fourth Floor (take the Level D Napier Street elevator behind Spar), Cape Quarter Square, 27 Somerset Road, De Waterkant, Cape Town.
Tel: 079 973 8368
Woodstock is an interesting Cape Town suburb that’s worth visiting for its quirky shops, gourmet food stops and interesting Indie culture, as well as the Trafalgar pool. The Trafalgar pool is one of the largest in Cape Town and can accommodate almost a thousand bathers although only 150 bathers are allowed in the pool. You may wonder, “What about the other 800 people, where are they supposed to go?” Well, there is a lovely shaded lawn where families and friends can picnic and where children can expend all their energy – if they’re not swimming. The pool is 48m long and the children’s pool is 22m long, large enough to create a huge splash!
Make sure to arrive early at the venue, as there are only 24 parking bays available, otherwise, you’ll need to find street parking.
Opening hours: Monday to Sundays (October to April): 10am – 5pm; closed in winter
Costs: R5.50p/p for adults, R1.50p/p for children (under 16) and pensioners enter free!
Address: Searle Street, Woodstock, Cape Town.
Tel: (021) 461 5060
Sea Point Pool
The Sea Point Pool is a popular swimming destination among locals in summer. Paired with stunning views of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, it’s rated as one of the top 10 pools in the country. The premises offer three pools: an Olympic-sized pool for the serious swimmer seeking to swim a few laps, a shallow kiddies’ pool, and a pool with a diving board for children and adults alike. Aside from having a fun swim, the pool’s location allows for other activities, such as strolling along the Sea Point promenade with a gigantic ice-cream cone in hand, admiring the various art and metal works along the way. Located outside the pools are a few cafés selling hot dogs and cool drinks. If you’re seriously hungry after a morning splashing about, making your way across Beach Road (at a pedestrian crossing) will present you with a plethora of restaurants.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 7pm (October to Easter Weekend); 9am – 5pm (Easter Weekend – October)
Costs: R20p/p for adults and R10p/p for children. Pensioners enter for free.
Address: Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town.
Tel: (021) 434 3341
Since summer in the Western Cape can be a hot and sticky time of year, make sure of the following before you venture outdoors.
- Apply sufficient sunscreen of a high SPF.
- Always obey lifeguards – they’re there for your safety.
- Do not venture into deep water if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- Do not leave your valuables unattended.
- Most pools have a set number of allocated parking spaces. Arrive early at the venue to secure a parking spot.
- Stay out of the sun between 12pm and 3pm, as this is when the sun’s rays are most damaging.
- Pick up your litter and throw it in the bin before leaving the venue.
If you’re a visitor to Cape Town this holiday season and you haven’t yet managed to arrange transport, consider Betta Car Hire, a reputable car hire company in Cape Town that charges competitive rates.