Where to go swimming: A guide to Joburg's public swimming pools

04 Dec 2023
Joburg has loads of trees, but did you know it has plenty of public pools too?
Joburg has loads of trees, but did you know it has plenty of public pools too?
Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket

We may not have frigid tidal pools or cooling ocean waves. However, once that September chill has thawed the best way to beat the Joburg summer heat is undoubtedly at one of the city's many public swimming pools.

The city has just under 60 public swimming pools and for many Joburgers, weekend mornings or afternoons spent splashing about at the local pool is one of the highlights of a city summer.

This swimming season runs from 1 Sep, 2023 – 31 Mar, 2024 and the city announced that 57 swimming pools will be open, 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.

We are less pleased to say that load-shedding has affected the filtration and purification systems for some of Joburg's pools, necessitating the closure of these pools (we are told that notices will be displayed outside the pools in question).



UPDATE: Linden Swimming Pool has not been fully functional due to a broken heat exchanger. Reports have found that the pool has been closed on weekends due to maintenance.

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 more serious swimmers who make use of the dedicated training lanes. There is also a small (unheated) baby pool outside. A particular pleasure is to swim here during one of Joburg's summer thunderstorms as the sound of the rain pounding off the pool's dome-shaped, corrugated iron roof is quite dramatic. If you get a seasonal membership at Linden you can also use it at Zoo lake pool. From September to March.
Corner 11th St and 4th Ave, Linden.
The Linden pool is an experience in itself. Photo: Heather Mason.


UPDATE: Ellis Park Swimming Pool is open with minimal facilities. 

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 25m unheated pool that is only open during the busiest periods. The main pool is divided into two halves. One half has lanes for serious swimmers and the other is a free-for-all, open area which is usually packed with local kids from the nearby suburbs who easily 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 in some training, or alternatively spend a Saturday there splashing about. Just a note: Ellis Park can get exceptionally busy over peak holiday periods, but the vibe is unparalleled. 
Cnr North Ln and Erin St, Doornfontein.
Ellis Park Swimming Pool on a quiet, weekday morning. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.


Opened in Soweto in 1954, Orlando's Olympic-sized swimming pool was constructed through a fundraising initiative led by Reverend Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican priest and anti-apartheid activist who 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 more serious swimming but this should not deter families and those looking to cool off as it is also a popular spot for outings over the weekend.
Makhetha Street, Orlando West, Soweto. 


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, a pavilion and a multi-functional sports hall. Reflecting the birdlife of Norwood's Paterson Park, the building is decorated with a colourful collection of bird murals and installations that were created by local artists as part of the ArtMyJozi project. 
Paterson Park, Norwood.


A Joburg family favourite, this spacious outdoor pool is one of only a few in the city that has diving boards, making it 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 to if you are looking to escape the city's heat.
Cnr 11th Ave and Dunvegan St, Sydenham.


This unusual swimming pool in Parkhurst's Verity Park is curve-shaped which makes it slightly impractical for doing laps. We don't mind, because its location in one of Joburg's most fashionable suburbs means boutique shopping and plenty of cafés and ice-cream parlours are just a few blocks away on 4th Avenue, making it an added bonus for families who like to come here at weekends and splash about.
Verity Park, Cnr 14th St and 5th Ave, Parkhurst.


Built in the 1930s, this well-maintained, historic pool retains its original features. Probably the most unique thing about the Zoo Lake baths is its perfectly square shape of 30m by 30m. 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. 
Cnr Prince of Wales and Lower Park Dr, Parkwood.

The historic (and square) Zoo Lake Swimming Baths. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.


Joburg's public swimming pools are open Tue – Fri from 10:00 – 18:00 and weekends from 10:00 – 17:00 during the swimming season (September through March). Pools are closed on Christmas Day, Day of Goodwill and New Year's Day. Entrance prices vary but generally start at R6.00 p.p. Seasonal tickets are also available. Some of the city's pools have free entrance (we are only aware of Hofland Park in Bezuidenhout Valley, but there may be others). 

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 Ellis Park.

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 that 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.


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. Upgrading is ongoing so some pools will be opened in a staggered manner with a few opening in September, some in October, and others in November. 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), 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), Roosevelt Park (Cnr Muldersdrift and Preller Streets, Roosevelt Park), Florida Lake (Fourth Road Florida Lake, Florida), Rhodes Park (Langerman Drive, Rhodes Park), Ivory Park (Freedom Drive, Ivory Park).

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), Power Park (60 Nicholas st, Cnr Old Potchestroom Rd, Orlando Power Station), Noordgesig (375 Noord Street, Noordgesig), Senaoane (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), Jabulani (02229 Isikwama Street, Jabulani), Turffontein (Eastwood Street, Turffontein). 

Lenasia: Lenasia Ext 2 (Cnr 3749 Olifant and Elm Streets, Lenasia Ext 2), 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).

Pools closed for the seasonVrededorp (Cnr 13th Street, Vrededorp), Windsor West (Allis and Alexandre Streets, Windsor), Pioneer Park (Heated, Cnr Rosettenville Rd and 11th St, Pioneer Park), Brixton (Cnr High and Mercury Crescent, Brixton), Orange Farm (15825 Link Road, Orange Farm Ext 4), Ennerdale Ext 9 (Cnr 5506 Town and Katz Streets, Ennerdale Ext 9), Drieziek swimming pool (Construction site new pool Drieziek 3, Orange Farm).


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