Cape Town is famous for its picturesque scenery and stunning natural landscapes. Taking a quick dip in a quiet natural pool or spending a day by a river provides a refreshing break from the City’s crowded beaches and pools, and allows for a closer connection with nature.

These popular spots for outdoor swimming are all about beautiful surroundings and cool, calm waters, offering a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle.

Here are just a few of the Cape’s dams and rivers to cool off in.

Silvermine Reservoir 

Picture: SANParks – Table Mountain National Park

Silvermine Reservoir is a popular spot for swimming in Cape Town, located in the Silvermine Nature Reserve and easily accessible from Ou Kaapse Weg Road. The reservoir offers a serene and scenic setting for swimmers to enjoy, with clear water surrounded by lush green mountains.

A brief stroll along a boardwalk leads visitors to the reservoir. Entrance fees are charged at the gate, but visitors are granted permission to indulge in a variety of activities such as hiking, swimming, picnicking and barbecuing in the surrounding area.

  • Location: Gate 1, Ou Kaapse Weg, Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town
  • Times: Monday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm
  • Cost: South African citizens: R38 adult and R19 child | Tourists: R152 adult and R76 child
  • Contact: 027 21 712 7471
  • Website: Silvermine Reservoir

Krom River 

Krom River Waterfall. Picture: Limietberg Nature Reserve

The Krom River Trail is situated within the Limietberg Nature Reserve. The trail is a moderately easy 7km hike that winds its way through a riverine forest and alongside crystal-clear rock pools within the Du Toitskloof Mountains, providing breathtaking views of fynbos-covered hillsides and impressive kloofs.

As you approach the end of the trail, you’ll be met by a pair of mesmerizing waterfalls, each offering spectacular plunge pools with crystal-clear water, perfect for snorkelling. The water may be ice cold, but the refreshing dip is worth it. For those seeking maximum sunshine, it’s advisable to arrive early in the morning to enjoy the pools at their best.

  • Location: Du Toitskloof, R101 between Paarl and Worcester
  • Times: Monday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm
  • Cost: R50 adult and R30 child
  • Contact: 027 21 871 1535
  • Website: Krom River 

Crystal Pools 

Crystal Pools in Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Picture: Trail Fit SA

The Kogelberg Nature Reserve, located near Betty’s Bay, is home to the renowned Crystal Pools hiking trail. The trail leads visitors on a moderately difficult hike through a lush forest, where they’ll encounter a series of picturesque rock pools.

The Crystal Pools, as their name suggests, are renowned for their crystal-clear waters, which shimmer in the sunlight and provide a refreshing swimming experience for visitors. Enjoy swimming, jumping off the rocks, and even picnicking on the surrounding boulders.

The trail and the Crystal Pools offer an ideal escape from the city, and visitors can revel in the tranquillity and natural beauty of the area.

  • Location: Kogelberg Nature Reserve Trail, Helderberg Rural
  • Times: Monday to Sunday, 7.30am to 4pm
  • Contact: 027 87 288 0499
  • Website: Crystal Pools

Berg River 

Picture: Berg River Resort / Facebook

Swimming in the Berg River Dam at the Berg River Resort is a delightful experience for visitors. The dam boasts crystal-clear waters and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, making it a perfect spot for swimming and relaxation.

The resort offers safe and supervised swimming areas, making it ideal for families with children. The water temperature is perfect for swimming during the summer months, and there are plenty of water activities to enjoy, such as canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

  • Location:R45 Franschhoek Rd, Paarl
  • Times: Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 5.30pm | Saturdays and Sundays, 8am to 5pm
  • Cost: R100 pp
  • Contact: 027 21 007 1852
  • Website: Berg River Resort

Before heading out to swim in any of these dams, it is important to take note of a few safety precautions. Always check the water temperature before diving in, and make sure to swim with a buddy or in a group. Be aware of any underwater hazards, such as rocks or submerged objects, and never swim in areas that are off-limits to the public.

It is also important to respect the environment and the wildlife in these natural areas. Make sure to dispose of any litter properly, and avoid disturbing any animals that may be living in or near the water.

Written by Adrienne Bredeveldt for CapeEtc

Featured image: Du Toitskloof – Cape {town} Etc