Swimming pools and other Places

Aquatic sports developed in many locations besides swimming pools. Click here to see the oceans with their beaches and tidal pools, the rivers and constructed dams. Swimming pools can divided into categories of Public pools, Private pools, Institutional pools - and the dead pools left behind by the retreating Euroeans.

The history of swimming pools in southern Africa dates back to the tidal pools around Cape Town, such as the original Sea Point pool, and the Dolfin Pool inside Cape Town Castle where Lady Ann Barnard - wife of the Cape Colonial Secretary 1799-1802, was supposed to have enjoyed swimming naked! The developing swimming culture in Victorian England resulted the construction of indoor swimming pools in their colonies - at Camps Bay, Pietermaritzburg, Salisbury and in Pretoria, which hosted its first South African swimming championships in 1906. 

Some of the better known surviving historic swimming pools in South Africa, in rough order of construction.  

Buchanan Street Bath - Pietermaritzburg 1896
Sea Point - Cape Town
Long Street - Cape Town  1920
Arthur Nathan - Bloemfontein 1906
Orient Baths - East London
Beach Baths - Durban
St Georges Park - Port Elizabeth  1937
Ellis Park - Johannesburg
Hillcrest - Pretoria
Barrow Street Baths - Bulawayo
Les Brown - Salisbury
Newlands - Cape Town
Karen Muir Pool - Kimberley
Newton Park - Port Elizabeth
Stadium Pool - Bloemfontein
Joan Harrison Pools - East London
Kings Park - Durban


Early swimming pools in South Africa followed the English model as pools often built for commercial purposes, although most later pools were the domain of municipalities. Today, in the evolving poltical landscape of South Africa, many old municipal pools lie abandoned, while new 50m Olympic-size pools are built in the former townships. Many schools have developed water polo as a schools sport, and some schools today have multiple swimming pools to cater for the sport. 

Institutional pools - schools, Universities, municipalities - 

More in this category: « Rivers Swimming pools history »