It’s still very much summer, and we still very much want to cool off. Here are 5 spots to swim (and places to chill afterwards), recommended by SHAUN POZYN, Head of Marketing at British Airways (operated by Comair):
Cape Town: The Miller’s Point tidal pool (pictured left), in the cove of Rumbly Bay, is about 5km south of Simon’s Town. Once the site of a whaling station, it’s now the venue for much happier pursuits like swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and kayaking. It’s secluded and likely to be less crowded than other beaches. There are crafty baboons in the area, so take care when picnicking and don’t feed the furry scoundrels. False Bay’s water is warmer than that on the Atlantic seaboard and the south easter can help cool down the hot summer weather. Nearby is the Black Marlin Restaurant, a well-established eatery that’s famed for its seafood. It has a small but enticing cocktail menu that includes the eponymously named Black Marlin: tequila blanco and blue caracao with Schweppes Dry Lemon and lemonade. www.blackmarlin.co.za
Durban: Umdloti Beach north of the city has a natural lagoon and rock pools. Beloved of holidaymakers and families for generations, its tropical, calm waters are an ideal playground. It’s also known for the pods of dolphins that visit regularly. It’s closer to King Shaka International Airport than Durban and is surrounded by lush coastal bush. The town’s name is derived from the isiZulu name for a wild tobacco that grows in the area. At the end of a hard day’s sunbathing and splashing about, cocktails at the SandBar help restore the ravaged soul. Try the Zulu Caipirinha: rum, sugar syrup, fresh lime-juice and crushed ice. www.sandbarkzn.co.za
Joburg: Happy Island in Muldersdrift (pictured right), is a big complex with a selection of slides and pools offering everything from lounging quietly in a pool to high-speed, stomach-swooping action on the Tornado, Gravity Loop, High Speed Slide and Behemoth Bowl. Tubes are available for drifting through the 850-metre Lazy River course, surrounded by gardens. There are also big wave pools. Accommodation can be arranged nearby and shuttles can be arranged to the water park. No alcohol is allowed inside the park itself. www.happy-island.co.za
Port Elizabeth: King’s Beach stretches more than 1.5kms and offers safe swimming and paddling, with lifeguards on duty. It has a water-park, putt-putt course and go kart track, as well as change-rooms and ample parking. Like all the coastal cities and beaches, it’s crowded in the holidays, but February/March can be a good time to get a patch of golden sand to yourself and relax with a book or headphones and playlist. When the sun sets, you can head to La Kouzina is a Greek restaurant with two cocktail bars. The restaurant has a substantial sushi menu, so Pozyn suggests a cold Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay. www.lakouzina.co.za
Joburg: StokeCity AdventurePark (pictured left), might not be the ocean, but there’s plenty of fun to be had at this water park in Midrand. It offers waterskiing, wakeboarding and kneeboarding using an overhead cable. There’s also an obstacle course with inflatable slides, ladders and bridges, and a 1.2km open-water course for more serious athletes. On land there’s a beach volleyball court, a jungle gym, a BMX course and braai facilities and picnic spots. Cold refreshments are on sale. www.stokecity.co.za
Lastly – be responsible with alcohol and watersports, and stick to virgin cocktails rather than risking your safety or anyone else’s.