5 of the best tidal pools in Cape Town

St James tidal pool – Photo Jay Caboz

As you may know I am quite obsessed with tidal pools. So I made a list of some of my favourite ones.

If you are interested in seeing more image please visit my website, which has a whole gallery dedicated to the tidal pools of Cape Town.

Story featured on Conservation Mag:

Source: Conservation Mag

As any Capetonian worth their salt will tell you, Cape Town, or the Mother City as locals call it, is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world for holiday goers seeking adventure outdoors. Cape Town is also fortunate to be host to a fantastic array of 20 unique tidal pools dotted along the Atlantic Ocean (West) and False Bay (East) coastline.

Within just a few minutes’ drive visitors and locals alike can access some of the most spectacular vistas nature has to offer from vibrant fynbos on Table Mountain all the way to Clifton’s pristine white beaches.

Cape Town is also fortunate to be host to a fantastic array of 20 unique tidal pools dotted along the Atlantic Ocean (West) and False Bay (East) coastline.

The tidal pools offer a refuge for swimmers that want to escape the wild waves of the Atlantic as well as its notorious gusty south easter winds.

Here on summer days locals gather for a cool refreshing dip and are the perfect spot for families to grab a snorkel and mask to swim alongside small schools of fish, plenty of anemones, nudibranchs and starfish hanging about on its walls.

Even in winter, when the weather is cooler, you can find a host of swim-risers, that take morning dips before work. In fact, winter is one of the best seasons to check out the marine life, as the pools are less disturbed allowing small ecosystems to thrive. 

What makes Cape Town’s pools even more unique is that many of them are environmentally managed and by the end of 2020, all tidal pools managed by the City of Cape Town will be cleaned using eco-friendly methods – primarily high-pressure hoses and chalk paint, Business Insider South Africa reports.

This follows a project spearheaded by local free diver Lisa Beasley, the founder of Cape Town Tidal Pools, who has been experimenting with eco-friendly cleaning methods at the Dalebrook, St James, Kalk Bay and Woolley’s tidal pools since 2016.

So, whilst you contemplate sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the fresh salty ocean breezes and sounds of squawking seagulls, here are some tidal pools we recommend you check out:

Dalebrook, Off Main Road, Kalk Bay

Dalebrook tidal pool. Photo Jay Caboz.

Dalebrook can be found in Kalk Bay and is accessible by public parking off Main Road on the False Bay side of Cap Town. This was one of the first tidal pools in Cape Town to be cleaned using environmentally friendly methods.

It is ideally located to protect swimmers from the Cape’s notorious gusty ‘south easter’ making it a popular bathing spot for locals in the area. It also features benches and a small beach for picnics, with plenty of rock pools to explore.

Because it is East facing, it is the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic.

St James, Main Road, St James

St James tidal pool. Photo Jay Caboz.

Like Dalebrook, St James is also cleaned using environmentally friendly methods. The pool is one of the larger pools in the Kalk Bay area and a popular spot for swimmers throughout the day. It is a well-known photographer hotspot thanks to its colourful beach houses.

Wooley’s, Kalk Bay

Wooley’s Tidal Pool – Jay Caboz

Wooley’s offers a clear view across to Fish Hoek and is one of the lesser known tidal pools in Cape Town, partly because it is hard to spot from the road.

The pool is divided into two parts – a small splash pool for children and a deeper dipping pool for adults.

Miller’s Point tidal pool

Miller’s Point tidal pool. Photo Jay Caboz.

Planning a trip to Miller’s Point tidal pool can be quite tricky, especially since it’s an hour drive out of Cape Town. It’s also not as sheltered as some of the other tidal pools located along the False Bay side of Cape Town. I recommend checking the weather carefully before making your way out here.

That being said, the tidal pool is picturesque and shaped like a heart, and even has a slide for kids. It is well worth making a day trip out to see it and visiting Cape Point as the same time. Because it is so remote, bringing along a mask and snorkel are a must as you’ll be surprised to see how many creatures make it a home.

Maidens Cove, Camps Bay

Maiden’s Cove. Photo Jay Caboz.

Maidens Cove has two tidal pools hidden between enormous granite boulders. It’s nestled under the shadow of Lions Head, on the Camps Bay side of the city which faces West.

It’s a popular spot for sundowners with many people driving here just to watch blazing sunsets as the sun dips behind the Atlantic.

Maidens Cove has a special history as it was one the few beaches where non-white residents of Cape Town could come and enjoy a day at the sea in a whites-only area before 1994, according to Cape Town tidal pools.

There are many more tidal pools to visit inside the Western Cape.

Here is the full list of tidal pools dotted across the Western Cape:

Camps Bay Tidal Pool – Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Dalebrook Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Dalebrook

Glencairn Tidal Pool – Glencairn Beach, Glencairn

Graaff Tidal Pool – Sea Point Beach Front, Beach Road, Sea Point

Harmony Park Tidal Pool – Jan Bruin Street, Strand

Kalk Bay 1 Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay 2 Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Kalk Bay

Maiden’s Cove 1 Tidal Pool – Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Maiden’s Cove 2 Tidal Pool – Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Milton Tidal Pool – Off Beach Road, Sea Point

Monwabisi Tidal Pool – Off Baden Powell Drive, Khayelitsha

Saunders’ Rock Tidal Pool – Sea Point Promenade, Beach Road, Sea Point

Shelley Point Tidal Pool – M6, Glencairn

Silwerstroom Tidal Pool – Silwerstroom Resort, off Westcoast Road, Silwerstroom

Soetwater 1 Tidal Pool – Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie

Soetwater 2 Tidal Pool- Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie

Sparks Tidal Pool – Clarence Drive, R44, Gordon’s Bay

St James Tidal Pool – Main Road, St James

Strand Tidal Pool – Beach Road, Strand

Wooley’s Tidal Pool – Off Main Road, Glencairn, Kalk Bay

Images by Jay Caboz – Available here

If you are interested in seeing more image please visit my website, which has a whole gallery dedicated to the tidal pools of Cape Town.

Meet the Indian Ocean’s first pygmy seahorse – which was discovered in KZN

Just for a moment take a look at a R1 coin. Now imagine trying to find a seahorse that size in the ocean. Researchers Louw Claassens (@ClaassensLouw ) and Richard Smith (@Rich_Underwater) did. Here is why we can now marvel at the rare but ever so cute Sodwana Pygmy Seahorse.

Story featured on Business Insider South Africa:

Source: Business Insider South Africa.
  • The tiny and beautiful Sodwana pygmy seahorse is one of its kind to be found in Africa and for that matter the Indian Ocean.
  • It now has a scientific name.
  • Smaller than a R1 coin, the rare seahorse was only discovered in 2017. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A rare ‘pygmy seahorse’, which is smaller than a R1 coin and first discovered in South Africa, has now been officially recognised after being included in an international scientific journal this month.

The tiny Sodwana Pygmy Seahorse, named Hippocampus nalu, is the first pygmy seahorse to be found in Africa and for that matter the Indian Ocean, according to its researchers.

The pygmy seahorse was discovered just three years ago, by local diving instructor Savannah Nalu Olivier while she was leading a scuba-diving course in Sodwana Bay, a popular diving destination along the northern coastline of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Mozambique.

The seahorse was named after her middle name, which also means “here it is” in isiXhosa and Zulu.

Olivier photographed the fish life in a flat sandy-algal reef habitat. When she realised afterwards she had snapped a seahorse, and couldn’t identify it, she reached out to see who could.

A male Sodwana Pygmy Seahorse. Photo supplied by © Richard Smith, OceanRealmImages.com

Eventually, her images caught the attention of marine biologists Louw Claassens and Richard Smith, both researchers at the IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish & Seadragon Specialist Group, who then revisited the site in 2018 and were able to successfully bring back two specimens for classification – as well as stunning images of a male, female and juvenile in their natural habitat.

“The new species grows to just over 2cm and has a honey-brown colour, overlaid with a white netted pattern and a pinkish tail,” said Claassens. “They are so incredibly tiny and well camouflaged that seven of the eight known species have only been discovered since the turn of this millennium.”

Authored by Graham Short, a seahorse taxonomist at the California Academy of Sciences,the findings were published in the scientific journal ZooKeys, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography, in May. 

Source:
Richard Smith – Ocean Realm Images

Until now finding a pygmy seahorse in South Africa was the equivalent “to finding a kangaroo in Norway”, said marine biologist Richard Smith, who is an expert on pygmy seahorses.

This is because the Sodwana Pygmy Seahorse was found on a reef exposed to the powerful swells of the Indian Ocean – a completely unexpected habitat for these creatures, which is very unlike the sheltered coral reefs of Southeast Asia where other pygmy seahorses have been found.

“It was (also) like finding a needle in a haystack. This pygmy seahorse was 1.6 centimetres long,” said Smith. 

Claassens, who is the director of the Knysna Basin Project an NGO that researches costal estuaries in Knysna, South Africa, said the classification almost didn’t happen because of these strong waves. The divers nearly lost the seahorses when a large swell almost buried them underneath a storm of sand.

 “The recent discovery of such a notable fish in shallow coastal water highlights how little we still know about the marine life around Africa and about the extended seahorse family,” she said.

MAY PRINT SALE — SA is open for e-commerce!

Great news everyone e-commerce has been opened within South Africa – all online shopping is allowed.


To celebrate I’m going to run a print special for any orders made from today for the rest of the month.

Sunset Beach, South Africa. Photo Jay Caboz.

Here’s how much you’ll pay for a matt print:

A4 print – R700
A3 print – R1,000
A2 print – R1,500
A1 print – R2,000

Courier prices need to be confirmed but if its within Cape Town I’ll foot the bill!

If you’d like some more inspiration – be it tidal pools, sunsets or sunrises – check out my website or else visit my instagram page, anything on it it printable.

Millers Point tidal pool, South Africa. Photo Jay Caboz.

I really just want to see my work on people’s walls. AND it;ll go a long way toward helping me set up my freelance career. I want to travel South Africa and bring back amazing inspirational images.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by email at jaycaboz@gmail.com.

Support local, get the economy back up again, and also I would love to eat something other than 2 minute Maggie noodles.

Camps Bay tidal pool, South Africa photo Jay Caboz.