As much of the country swelters in the hottest months of the year, many of us will be looking for places to cool off and relax. Shaun Pozyn, Head of Marketing at British Airways (operated by Comair), suggests the following:
Cape Town: Miller’s Point tidal pool, in 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, warns Pozyn.
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
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 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: Happy Island in Muldersdrift 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
Joburg: StokeCity AdventurePark 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, says Pozyn, be responsible with alcohol and watersports, and stick to virgin cocktails rather than risking your safety or anyone else’s.