Suicide Gorge (near Grabouw)

Recommended only for hardy and experienced hikers, the Suicide Gorge trail takes you high up into the mountains… and then downhill through the gorge that gives it its name.

You’ll be getting wet on this journey, so bring the appropriate gear, including lightweight hiking shoes, a swimsuit, and a change of clothes – a wetsuit is also highly recommended. Much of the day involves slip-sliding your way along the river, jumping into pools, and sometimes leaping off cliffs into the pools.

Pets are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.

We recommend going to with someone who has been there before.

Contact Cape Nature for more information, bookings and permits.

Die Hel to De Hoek, Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area (near Porterville)

About 1h30min from Cape Town is a small conservation area is well-known for its rugged landscape and rich heritage. Among the interesting rock formations, exquisite fynbos and clear-water rockpools, you’ll find ancient rock paintings by the San and Khoi people.

It is popular with hikers and mountain bikers, and there are plenty of places to stop for a refreshing swim with not a building in sight.

Kloofing is an adrenalin-pumping way to explore Groot Winterhoek and its clear mountain pools. Die Hel to De Hoek is a demanding kloofing route, with no footpath.

Permits are need, so please contact Cape Nature, and make sure you are prepared.

Krom River Trail (near Paarl)

The Limietberg Nature Reserve offers some of the best hiking trails in the Western Cape, and the Krom River trail in particular stands out, as it guides you past waterfalls and deep, translucent rock pools that are clear enough to snorkel in. The water is ice cold, but that will probably come as a relief after the long hike.

Note: Pets are not allowed in CapeNature Reserves.

Permit required

You need a permit, which can be purchased at Du Kloof Trout Farm (just after the tunnel on your left) or from the CapeNature booking office. Only 24 permits are issued per day to prevent overcrowding, so plan ahead.

Crystal Pools Waterfall (near Gordons Bay)

This hiking trail is ok for anyone who is reasonably fit, and is slightly challenging for those who are not.

The rockpools along the way, where you can cool down during your walk, make it well worth the hike.

The half-day hike takes you through rocky, but generally flat, terrain, and all the way at the top is a wonderful waterfall, but it is quite a trek, so make sure you have plenty of snacks, water and energy to get there.

There’s maximum of 50 people per day is allowed, so try to book as early as possible. Bookings via Steenbras Nature Reserve – you must email.

Silvermine Reservoir

The large reservoir is open to everybody, including your dog, but there are no lifeguards on duty, and so swimming is at your own risk.

There’s a 1km trail around the water with a boardwalk that’s easily accessible for wheelchairs and prams.

There are also loads of picture-perfect picnic spots dotted around the reserve.

Opening times vary, but are typically 8am – 5pm (May to August); Daily, 7am – 6pm (September to April). Entry fees apply. The SANParks’ My Green Card entitles you to 12 free entries into the pay points of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) within a one-year period, so that’s good option for frequent visitors.

Rock and Mountain pools

Cape Town has an amazing set of rock and mountain pools. Check out this list, get outside, and enjoy!

Silvermine Reservoir
The large reservoir is open to everybody, including your dog, but there are no lifeguards on duty, and so swimming is at your own risk.…
Crystal Pools Waterfall (near Gordons Bay)
This hiking trail is ok for anyone who is reasonably fit, and is slightly challenging for those who are not. The rockpools along the way,…
Krom River Trail (near Paarl)
The Limietberg Nature Reserve offers some of the best hiking trails in the Western Cape, and the Krom River trail in particular stands out, as…
Die Hel to De Hoek, Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area (near Porterville)
About 1h30min from Cape Town is a small conservation area is well-known for its rugged landscape and rich heritage. Among the interesting rock formations, exquisite…
Suicide Gorge (near Grabouw)
Recommended only for hardy and experienced hikers, the Suicide Gorge trail takes you high up into the mountains… and then downhill through the gorge that…

Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pools (Camps Bay)

Hidden among clumps of rocks, these tidal pools offer spectacular views of the mountain and ocean. Close by, a buzzy restaurant strip beckons, making the prospect of a dip in the pool (or sunbathing on the boulders that surround it) yet another incentive to visit the area.

Maiden’s Cove has a grassy area that’s perfect for a braai or picnic.

Whales and dolphins have been known to pass within sight of the shoreline.

The two largest tidal pools at Maiden’s Cove are located between Glen Beach (a favourite for surfers) and Clifton 4th Beach.

St James Tidal Pool

One of Cape Town’s most well-known and popular tidal pools, you’ll find this one below the railway line, in the seaside suburb of St James, which is between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay.

During summer, the beach and tidal pool become especially busy, so it’s best to get there in the early morning to beat the crowds.

St James is a sheltered, ultra family-friendly beach, making it perfect for sunbathers and young families, though surfers can ride the reef here, too.

St James has the characteristic colourful change rooms which add a bright splash of colour that, with the aqua waters below and children playing on the beach, paints an idyllic seaside-holiday scene.

Millers Point Tidal Pool (near Simons Town)

Found on the southern side of the False Bay coastline, some 5km outside of Simon’s Town is Miller’s Point, which is divided into two sections. The first leads to a caravan site and The Black Marlin Seafood Restaurant, and the second section takes you to Rumbly Bay, where you will find one of two nearby boat-launch sites and, wedged between, this secluded tidal pool. Caution is advised, as there are crafty baboons in the area, so please lock your cars carefully and don’t approach or feed these sneaky rascals.

Unless you know it’s there (quite a few locals do), you could miss it.

It offers incredible views across the rocky bay, a fun water slide and some natural rock pools (ideal for kiddies to paddle in), change rooms, grassy picnic and braai spots. (No dogs allowed.)

It’s also a great area for kayaking, snorkelling, surf skis and scuba-diving, with popular dive sites (Partridge Point, Castle Rock and Smitswinkel) nearby.

There’s a cost to launch a boat, and a separate entry fee is charged on weekends and during peak holiday season.

Tidal pools around Cape Town

Tidal pools are a great way to have a fun and safe swim, and the water is usually a little warmer than the sea.

Check out these Tidal Pools around Cape Town

Dalebrook Tidal Pool (Kalk Bay)
Tucked between St James and Kalk Bay lies this easily missed – and often overlooked – tidal pool. To get to it, simply walk along…
Millers Point Tidal Pool (near Simons Town)
Found on the southern side of the False Bay coastline, some 5km outside of Simon’s Town is Miller’s Point, which is divided into two sections.…
St James Tidal Pool
One of Cape Town’s most well-known and popular tidal pools, you’ll find this one below the railway line, in the seaside suburb of St James,…
Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pools (Camps Bay)
Hidden among clumps of rocks, these tidal pools offer spectacular views of the mountain and ocean. Close by, a buzzy restaurant strip beckons, making the…