Johannesburg

A guide to Joburg's swimming pools

07 Sep 2022
From September 1 it's the most intrepid "Polar Bear" swimmers who are already buying season tickets for Joburg's public pools. For the rest of us, we wait for that September chill to thaw, and when it does the best way to beat the heat during the height of Joburg summer is at one of the city's many open-air public swimming pools. The city has more than 50 public pools and for many Joburgers, weekend mornings or afternoons spent splashing about at the local pool is one of the highlights of a Joburg summer.

The 2022/23 summer swimming season runs from 1 September until April. This year the city has announced that 53 swimming pools will be open for the season, including the new swimming pool at Paterson Park in Norwood. We are pleased to say that two of our favourites, the Olympic-sized heated pool at Ellis Park and the historic Orlando swimming pool in Soweto, will be open again after spending the previous swimming season closed.

Linden Pool

This indoor swimming pool is open all-year-round and is heated. A half-Olympic sized pool, it is very popular with families, particularly those with kids who are learning how to swim, as well as with more serious swimmers who make use of the training lanes. There is also a small (unheated) baby pool outside. A particular pleasure is to come and swim here during one of Joburg's spring thunderstorms as the sounds of the rain pounding off the pool's dome-shaped corrugated iron roof is quite atmospheric.
Address: Cnr 11th St and 4th Ave, Linden  
Linden Pool, photo by Heather Mason

Ellis Park swimming pool

A historic pool with attractive period features, Ellis Park swimming pool is one of the few Olympic sized pools in the city and is a popular venue for swimmers looking to put in some training hours. There are three pools, the heated Olympic pool, a kiddies splash pool and a 25metre unheated pool that is only opened during the busiest periods. The main pool is divided into two halves, one half has lanes for the serious swimmers and the other is a free-for-all open area which is usually packed with local kids from the nearby suburbs who tend to spend the whole day here during the summer months. The changing rooms have lockers (bring your own padlock) and there's a small tuck shop selling soft drinks and snacks. Head there in the week to get some training in or alternatively spend a Saturday there splashing about.
Address: Cnr North Ln and Erin St, Doornfontein
 
Ellis Park Swimming Pool on a quiet morning

SYDENHAM SWIMMING POOL

A Joburg family favourite, this spacious outdoor pool is one of few in Joburg that also has diving boards and it is a popular place for daredevil teens to show off in the summer. For the little kids there is also a separate children's splash pool area. With something for the whole family it is a great place to head if you are looking to escape the city's heat.
Address: Cnr 11th Ave and Dunvegan St, Sydenham

VERITY PARK SWIMMING POOL

This unusual swimming pool in Parkhurst's Verity Park is curve-shaped which makes it slightly impractical for doing laps. Though its location in one of Joburg's most fashionable suburbs, with fancy boutique shopping and plenty of cafes and ice-cream parlours just a few blocks away on 4th Avenue, are an added bonus for the families who like to come here at weekends and splash about.
Address: Verity Park, Cnr 14th St and 5th Ave, Parkhurst

Zoo Lake Swimming Baths

Zoo Lake Swimming Baths

Built in the 1930s this well-maintained historic pool retains its original features. Probably the most unique thing about the Zoo Lake Swim Baths is its shape; 30 metres by 30 metres square. There are no demarcated lanes per se so pick a direction and do your laps. Or for fun you can always opt for a full circuit – just watch out for the teenagers practising their dive bombs near the shallow end. Arrive early to mark out your picnic spot on the grassy area overlooking the pool or if the sun is blazing you'll find shade on the bleachers. On weekends look out for the ice-cream bicycle doing the rounds. 
Address: Cnr Prince of Wales and Lower Park Dr, Parkwood

Orlando Swimming Pool

Opened in Soweto in 1954, this Olympic-sized swimming pool was constructed through a fundraising initiative led by Reverend Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican priest and anti-apartheid activist who in particular is famous for his unwavering support for the people of Sophiatown during the forced removals of the 1950s. There are several public swimming pools in Soweto (including Power Park which is notable for its view of the iconic Soweto cooling towers) although this is the largest and oldest of them all. The length makes it a great option for those looking to do some more serious swimming but this should also not deter families and those looking to cool off as it is also a popular spot for outings on the weekend.
Address: Makhetha Street, Orlando West, Soweto

Paterson Park

Completed in 2019, this swimming pool was built as part of the new Paterson Park Multipurpose Centre. As well as an open-air swimming pool, the new centre also has a soccer pitch, five-a-side fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, pavilion and a multi-functional sports hall. Reflecting the birdlife of Norwood's Paterson Park the building is decorated in a colourful collection of bird murals and installations that were created by local artists as part of the ArtMyJozi project. 
Address: Paterson Park, Norwood

Tips for swimming at Joburg pools

Joburg's open-air pools open daily during the swimming season (September through March) from 10:00 to 17:00 and are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Entrance costs from R10 for unheated pools, R12 for heated pools, kids R5-R7.

In the spring, even if the temperatures hit 30 degrees, the water in the pool is usually bracingly cold, while by mid-November you'll find it to be a much more tolerable temperature for cooling off on a hot day. If you want to swim outdoors during the autumn and winter months the only outdoor swimming pool that stays open year-round is the Ellis Park pool.

Run by the City of Joburg, all public pools have lifeguards. While there are changing rooms and cold showers, most Joburg pools do not have lockers so you might want to consider locking your valuables in your car or leaving one of your group to watch your belongings. At the swimming pools which do have lockers (such as Ellis Park) you will need to bring your own padlock.

You are allowed to bring in your own drinks and snacks although alcohol, glass bottles and braais are forbidden. Some pools also have a tuck shop where you can buy cold drinks and sweets.

Also open for the 2022/23 season

According to the City of Joburg, the following swimming pools will also be open throughout the summer. Note that opening depends on water cleanliness and the availability of sufficient staff and pool maintenance supplies from the city. During the season pools have been known to close abruptly for maintenance issues. We have listed above Joburg pools that we have frequented and can recommend from personal experience. The following listed below are all the public pools in Joburg that the city has stated will be open this year.

Rabie Ridge (1072 Stilt Ave, Ivory Park),  Coronationville (Heated, Glencairn St, Coronationville), Windsor East (Viscount Ave and George St Windsor), Kensington B (Cnr Abbington and Sirdar Kensington), Robin Hills (Cherry Drive, Robin Hills), Newclare (Steytler St, Newclare), Riverlea (Ashburton St, Riverlea), Ochse Square (Cnr 3rd and 10th Sts, Albertsville), Blairgowrie (Cnr Suzman and Conrad Dr, Blairgowrie), Florida North (Marthinus Du Plessis Park, Ontdekkers Rd), Roodepoort (Exner St, Roodepoort), Davidsonville (Mitchell St, Davidsonville), Little Falls Resort (Falls Rd, Little Falls), East Bank (Cnr Springbok and Impala Sts, East Bank Alexandra), Pioneer Park (Heated, Cnr Rosettenville Rd and 11th St, Pioneer Park), Southern Suburbs (1 Short St, Oakdene), Forest Hill (John Stephenson Rd, between Golf St Leonard Ext and Rifle Range Rd ,Forest Hill), Crown Gardens (Cnr Ulster Cres, Crown Gardens), Yeoville (Cnr Raleigh and Kenmere Sts, Yeoville), Malvern (Marathon St, Malvern),  Moffat (Cnr Southern Klipriviersberg Rd and Nephen Rd, Moffat Park), Hofland (Cnr 3rd and 4th, Bez Valley).

Soweto and surrounds: Moletsane (286 Mokgatla St, Moletsane), Dobsonville (3290 Nonhlanhla St, Dobsonville), Diepkloof (14497 Immink St, Diepkloof Zone 4), Meadowlands (173 Motswedi St, Meadowlands Zone 3), Pimville (Heated, Motjatji St, Pimville), Powerpark (60 Nicholas st, cnr Old Potchestroom Rd, Orlando Power Station), Noordgesicht (North St, Noordgesicht), Senoane (1925 Mabalane St, Phiri), Jabavu (3132 Mlangeni and Mbatha Dr, Jabavu), Eldorado Park Ext 4 (Heerenchracht Rd, Ext. 4 Eldorado Park), Eldorado Park Ext 9 (Ivy Rd, Ext 9, Eldorado Park).

Lenasia: Lenasia Ext 5 (Heated, Gazel St, Ext 5, Lenasia 1827), Lenasia Ext 10 (Cnr Shari and Alabama St ,Ext 10), Lenasia South (Cnr Wimbledon and Wellington St, Ext 4).

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