Tag: swimmer

Should adult swimmers receive more swimming lessons?

At a gym you get a tour, an induction, a programme; at a pool you simply get told where the changing rooms are. But bad stroke technique can be counterproductive and even dangerous.

There’s a woman I see regularly at the pool where I swim. She completes one length of breaststroke – at best – to my three, an expression on her uplifted face suggestive of the pool being filled with sewage or something equally terrible. It’s plain that she is enduring rather than enjoying her swim, and I can’t help thinking that part of the reason is her lack of proficiency: after all, mastery enhances the pleasure to be had from executing any skill.

I often feel sorely tempted to say something. If only she’d stop kicking her legs and stroking with her arms simultaneously, she’d stop cancelling one action out with the other. “Legs then arms,” I silently will her.

Of course, she’s not a solitary example. My pool, probably like yours, is filled with people struggling along with a grimace. A few years ago, a group of US researchers stated that 98% of recreational swimmers fail to improve aerobic fitness – presumably because they aren’t working hard enough to elicit gains. That might sound surprising when you consider another study that found untrained swimmers used 50% more oxygen to achieve the same speed in front crawl as trained swimmers did, but the chances are that the exhausted majority simply throw in the towel (or pick up their towel) before they’ve done enough to impact on their fitness level. And in the meantime, those arched backs, craned necks, strained knees and shoulders could be taking a bit of a beating.

“Oh leave us alone, you swimming fascist!” I hear you cry. “Let people swim how they want.” But should we? Even if they might be doing themselves at best no good at all, and at worst harm? Envisage a similar scenario in a gym, where people come in and yank weights around with appalling technique – or get on the treadmill, only to walk slower (holding the handrails) than they did from the car park to the gym – while the instructor looks on and says nothing.

Is it not in everyone’s best interests that every exerciser is shown how to get the most out of their efforts? While a swimming teacher might not always be present at the pool, I would imagine that the average lifeguard is capable of spotting obvious technical faults (given that a criterion of qualification as a lifeguard is being able to swim 50m in under 60 seconds).

“Many recreational swimmers seem to think that whatever they do in the water is going to do be beneficial,” says Ian Cross, swimming and Alexander technique teacher at Swimming Without Stress. “Medical professionals who recommend swimming to people without questioning what kind of swimmer they are don’t help either.” Six Physio, a London-based chain of clinics, is so keen to ensure that when their clients hit the pool for rehab they don’t do more harm than good that they refer them for a “swim check” – a stroke assessment with Immerse, which specialises in teaching adults.

For Nick Fugaccia, co-founder of Immerse, one of the biggest no-nos is swimming with the head out of the water. “You’re creating a high-resistance position and literally trying to drag yourself through the water,” he says. Often, a raised head is down to anxiety rather than to a lack of technique and, as Cross points out, it’s tricky once you reach adulthood to find the time, space or resources to overcome this. “Pools seem to cater mainly for swimming up and down,” he explains. “So people who aren’t technically proficient or relaxed enough in the water to benefit from swimming laps have no other choice. Pool managers could change the way we approach swimming in UK by creating spaces for people to work on themselves in the water. Almost like aquatic yoga studios, instead of aquatic gyms.”

I like this idea – and I admit it sounds much more nurturing than the protocol in my “raising the standards of swimming” fantasy, where the lifeguard roams the side with a megaphone barking: “Lane six, drop your head a little! Lane two, you’re too flat in the water. Rotate your body. Lane three, arms then legs!”

Personally, I’d welcome feedback on my stroke when I’m knocking out my morning 2km, and in fact it was some tips from a fellow swimmer (who turned out to be one of the masters club coaches) a couple of years back that galvanised me to join a masters group and up my sessions from two to three a week.

“The problem with swim club training is that often the focus is often on going further or faster, rather than on improving technique,” says Fugaccia. True – and you need to already be pretty proficient to keep pace with many masters groups.

I ask Fugaccia why he thinks we are so bad at swimming in the UK, compared to his native Australia. “We’re so safety conscious about the water in Australia – mostly because we’re surrounded by it and we have greater access to it because of the weather,” he says. “You’d be hard-pressed to get through school without learning to swim to a reasonable standard.” In contrast, an Amateur Swimming Association survey in 2012 found that one in three British children couldn’t swim by the time they left primary school, despite lessons being part of the National Curriculum. As a result, the ASA has launched a manifesto to improve the situation. But the statistic does shed light on the reasons why so few of us can swim with finesse as adults.

I wonder if public pools could run regular open sessions, where anyone in the pool can get feedback and suggestions on their technique from attendant staff. Or what about swimming “inductions”, where you get a brief outline of stroke basics when you join a leisure centre or health club?

“It’s tricky,” Fugaccia says. “If someone identifies themselves as a ‘strong swimmer’, you have to be careful with that. People don’t take kindly to criticism. You’ve got to wait until they ask for help.” Help from Immerse comes in the form of one-on-one sessions, for which the instructor is in the pool with you. “So many people have bad memories of swimming lessons,” says Fugaccia. “Being freezing cold, not being able to see properly, a teacher towering above them on the side yelling instructions. Swimming clubs or group sessions that place less focus on performance without losing the commitment to swim well would be helpful. We aim to get people to feel relaxed and have fun in the water first – then when it comes to the arm and leg movements it’s easy.”

One pool operator that has taken a fresh approach is DC Leisure, which launched its Swim4Health initiative in 2010 – winning a ukactive Flame award for innovation (and a host of new swimmers). “We offer a whole range of pool-based activities via Swim4Health – from aqua jogging to aqua fit, Aqua Zumba and Swim4Fitness – but more importantly we provide the same sort of supportive, hand-holding approach that you’d get on joining the gym,” explains group swimming manager Mark Haslam. For example, at Buxton Swimming and Fitness Centre, one of 40 DC Leisure-operated sites offering Swim4Health, you can book in with an “aquatic advisor” for a free 30-minute appointment to learn about what’s available and to help identify your personal requirements. “When you join a gym, you get a tour, an induction and a personal programme; usually when it comes to swimming you’re just told where the changing rooms are,” says Haslam. “We wanted to offer a sort of aquatic equivalent to gym membership.”

One Swim4Health offering is “stroke and coach” sessions – instructor-led courses or drop-in sessions for adults. “Adults don’t always like being classed as ‘beginners’ and there can be some stigma surrounding having ‘lessons’ – but these sessions strike the right balance of providing technique guidance and feedback along with good camaraderie and motivation,” Haslam says. “With kids, there’s a clear learning pathway when it comes to swimming, but that’s been missing with adults until now.”

Swim4Health participants can also sign up to Swimtag – a free “tracking” service. You simply don a wristband each time you hit the pool, and afterwards you can go online to check out your stats – for example, how many lengths of which stroke you did, your stroke count and average length speed.

I hope more pools seek out ways to help the 5.56 million of us who count swimming as regular exercise to improve our techniques. Or at least to swim with a smile on our faces.

 

Source: 

Swimming Lesson Accessories for Beginners

In swimming lessons, students of all ages and abilities learn a potentially lifesaving skill that is also an excellent form of low-impact aerobic exercise. Most beginning swim classes are divided into groups based on ability and age and typically follow a specific curriculum, such as YMCA, American Red Cross or Starfish Aquatics Institute. Many of the teaching tools used by swim instructors in class are accessories that students can also use to practice on their own, outside of class.

Kickboards and Pull Buoys

Kicking while holding onto a kickboard allows the swimmer to focus on the proper form of any given kick while building muscle strength and endurance for a stronger kick. Using a board, the student can kick while holding her head out of the water, so she is better able to see and hear her instructors tips and suggestions. Pull buoys are used in much the same way to work the arms. A pull buoy, held between a swimmer’s legs, allows the swimmer to concentrate on proper arm technique while not having to worry about, or tire from, kicking.

Flotation Aids

Some swim lesson providers use flotation belts or swim bubbles to build confidence in students learning basic swim skills. Foam swim noodles can also be used for added support while learning how to paddle the arms or to help steady a student learning to kick with a kickboard. Life jackets — Coast Guard certified personal flotation devices, or PFDs — are sometimes used during a swim lesson to facilitate introduction to swimming in deep water. Some students, even though they may have learned to swim the width of the pool in shallow water, are afraid to try swimming in the deep end. Exploring the deep end while wearing a life jacket is often helpful in overcoming this apprehension.

Swim Goggles

A pair of well-fitting swim goggles is perhaps the most important swim accessory you can buy. Swim goggles should fit comfortably and have a good seal that doesn’t allow water to leak in. Because they keep water out of the eyes, goggles help with water acclimation and overcoming fear of submersion. Goggles allow students to watch from underwater as the instructor demonstrates a skill or breaks down the steps to a skill that is difficult to see from the surface, such as a flip turn.

Swim Fins

Once you’re swimming widths of the pool and ready to start swimming the length, your instructor may recommend swim fins for part of your lesson to help you build strength and endurance. Swim fins used in lessons have much shorter blades than those used for scuba diving and are easy to slip on. Fins are excellent tools for helping novice swimmers learn to hold their feet in the right position for flutter kicks, and many swimmers find that using fins helps significantly when learning the butterfly kick.

Tips and Warnings

Check with your swim lesson provider before classes begin to see what, if any, accessories you should bring to class before purchasing items that may be discouraged, like nose clips or face masks. Most of the equipment you’ll use during class will be provided, but you may want to bring your own pair of swim goggles as well as a swim cap or something to keep long hair out of the way during lessons. Sunscreen and a rash guard, or swim shirt, are excellent swim lesson accessories for protection from the sun if your class is held in an outdoor pool.

All of which can be purchased from:

http://spurt.co.za/

Why You Should Wear a Swim Cap

If you’re new to swimming and have longer hair, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a bit annoying swimming with your hair dragging in the water and in your face. Before you start one of our MySwimPro swim workouts, we highly recommend investing in a nice swim cap, that’s affordable and reliable, to make your training more comfortable.

Swim caps come in all types of shapes, sizes, materials and styles, and we want to help you find the perfect swim cap that works for you!

What’s the point of a swim cap?

  1. Keeps your hair out of your face, so you can focus on your workout.
  2. Helps you swim faster by eliminating drag in the water. Swim caps work better than just tying your hair in a ponytail, because it secures all the small hairs around your forehead and neck, and you won’t feel your ponytail dragging in the water.
  3. Protects your hair. Swim caps are not meant for keeping your hair dry, but they do add a small layer of protection against chlorine damage on your hair.
  4. Keeps you safe. Light-colored caps help other swimmers or boaters see you if you’re swimming in open water with heavy traffic. Some even keep your head warmer when you’re swimming in cold, large bodies of water!

swim cap inspiration

Is wearing a swim cap necessary?

Nope not completely! It is not required for swimming, but if you have hair that is 6+ inches or longer, we highly recommend wearing one. It’s perfectly acceptable for both men, and women to wear caps.

How To Swim Butterfly With World Class Technique

Butterfly is considered the most difficult stroke to master. If it’s swum with improper form, the stroke is extremely tiring and inefficiently slow. If you’re struggling to improve your butterfly, this article is designed for you!

Butterfly was first introduced as a variation of breaststroke in the 1930’s. Originally, the stroke used today’s butterfly arm movement with a breaststroke kick. Today, this isn’t the case, and it’s one of the reasons people can be resistant to working on improving it.

Butterfly is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are the fundamental elements of a proper butterfly stroke:

Butterfly Timing

Timing is the most important part of the stroke. Every other component is an extension of the stroke’s timing:

1) The Catch:

  • Move the body forward to push water back
  • Fingers should be pointing down, with palms facing back
  • Think about bending the elbows so forearm angles vertically
  • Arms should go wide after the entry and extension

2) The Press:

  • Drive body forward with chin and chest
  • Chin should not be tucked or diving down
  • Pressing too deep can compromise the catch
  • 3 actions happen together:
    1. Press body forward
    2. Hands enter/extend forward
    3. Kick
  • Kick your press and entry forward!

Related: Why You Need a Structured Swim Training Plan

The Kick:

  • Two kicks, equal in power and size
  • 2nd kick (at exit) is the kick most often missed because the knees never bend to set it up
  • Drive knee downward (otherwise feet exit water)
    1. Kick hands forward and press forward
    2. Kick breathe forward

Breathing

Breathing too high or at the wrong time will kill a good stroke. The key is to stay low and breathe forward. Having a late breath is key. You need to focus on pulling forward to breathe. If you watch the best swimmers in the world (Michael Phelps below), you can see his chin just barely grazes over the surface of the water to catch air on the breath. The second kick is critical to drive the body forward.

Hand Entry, Pull Pattern, Recovery

The hand entry should be at shoulder width or just wider. The palms are downward facing and the thumbs should come in first or at the same time as the rest of the fingers. The most important part of the hand entry is being controlled so that you don’t create a lot of splash upon entering the water.

Next you need to focus on pushing the water back and initiating an early vertical forearm with your palms, forearm and rest of your arms. The pull pattern is dictated by how deep someone presses their chest and body. The pull’s finish sets the arms up for the recovery. This sweeping recovery should be controlled.

Breathing Pattern

Generally I believe in breathing every other stroke. If a swimmer has a strong underwater presence (12-15 meters underwater consistently) then it makes sense to breathe every stroke to prepare to go back underwater. Breathing every stroke should never compromise rhythm and mechanics.

Underwater Dolphin Kicks

The underwater dolphin kick has become a major component of swimming butterfly. Even if you do not race in competition, having a good kick technique applies to the overall stroke mechanics in keeping rhythm and tempo. In competition, the world’s best swimmers can spend up to 60% of a race under water (Short Course).

Even in long course competition like at the Olympics, the best swimmers are spending a considerable amount of time underwater. The best way to do this in a race is to work on it in training every single day.

Training Butterfly

It’s critical to learn the proper stroke technique before applying heaving training to your butterfly. This is true for all strokes, but most for the short axis strokes like butterfly and breaststroke. Because you’re already so inefficiently low in the water, it’s even more important to have the right technique and body position.

It’s important to reinforce proper technique. Butterfly is a rhythmic stroke. It’s not about power, it’s about mastering efficiency. The longer the distance, the more the stroke depends on posture, line, balance and rhythm.

Butterfly is a stroke that should be trained at speed. You need to focus on maintaining a higher body position with perfect form. Shorter distances of higher repeats are better than doing continuous butterfly. It’s also good to mix freestyle and butterfly within a distance.

For example, doing 10 x 100s (25 Butterfly, 25 Butterfly Drill, 25 Freestyle, 25 Butterfly), is a good way to break apart the stroke and be aerobically challenging.

These technique insights were gathered from a presentation given by Russell Mark, USA Swimming’s National Team High Performance Consultant . You can watch the full presentation, plus more interviews with other coaches here.

Looking for more butterfly workouts and drills? 

SA sea-swim icon Yach, 60, dies

Cape Town – Long-distance swimming legend and prominent Capetonian civic figure Theodore Yach has died while undergoing hospital tests for asthma.

The news was confirmed by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA), who said in a statement: “South Africa’s most renowned open-water swimmer, Theodore Yach of Cape Town, passed away peacefully on October 17 (Wednesday).

“He was undergoing routine tests for an asthma condition when he collapsed and died in hospital.

“Theodore is a veteran of 108 Robben Island swims, an English Channel swim and many other international distance swims.

“He will be remembered as humble gentleman, who loved motivating the youth to achieve their dreams – he was a friend to all and took interest in all swimmers who shared his passion for sea swimming.”

Tributes have already followed on Twitter from prominent sports personalities.

Fellow swimmer and Ocean protection advocate Lewis Pugh (@LewisPugh), a United Nations Patron of the Oceans, wrote: “Devastated to hear of the passing of Theo Yach.

“One of the world’s great endurance swimmers. And so much more – family man, community leader, environmentalist. Rest in peace my friend.”

Leading former Test rugby referee Jonathan Kaplan (@RefJK) said:“I never knew Theo well but he had many interactions on social media.

“I had total admiration for his views on life and desire to push the limits of his body. I’m sad I never got to meet him. To his family, I wish you long life and much strength during this time. RIP champ.”

SA Olympic gold-medallist Ryk Neethling (@RykNeethling) described Yach’s passing as “terrible news”.

Charismatic Springbok and Western Province flank of the 1980s Rob Louw (@roblouw6) said: “Wow, can’t believe it … fellow Wynberg Boys High buddy and close friend who did the impossible by doing the Robben Island swim over 100 times has passed.

“What a gentleman and incredible athlete. Still shocked by the untimely news. RIP Theo.”

This writer, while based in the London office of the former Argus Group, accompanied Yach on his support boat across the English Channel on his first crack at the gruelling crossing in 1989.

Ahead of the attempt, some long-distance swim sages in his home city had said they feared he would fail as they felt he was simply too inexperienced and over-enthusiastic at the time; this duly occurred as he swallowed water from an oil slick in the busy shipping lanes and complained of stomach problems as a result.

But in a classic case of the “I get knocked down, but I get up again” virtue in sport, a better-prepared Yach triumphantly completed the crossing to France several years later, in 1996.

Yach was prominent in the property industry and charity work in his home city, and had been a recipient of the Mayor’s medal for civic contribution.

He leaves his wife Michelle and sons Daniel and David.

 

Written by: Rob Houwing

How do you swim breast stroke?

MASTER YOUR SWIMMING TECHNIQUE (1): BREAST STROKE

The breaststroke is also known as the “froggy” stroke among children learning to swim as it sounds more endearing. The movement also resembles that of a frog swimming in water hence the use of this term. It is the most popular recreational style because it is very stable and does not require a lot of effort if a good technique is applied.

It can be a tricky stroke to master but once you manage to coordinate it properly, it can become a very leisurely way to swim. Here are 5 steps to ensure you master the breaststroke.

Step 1: Body position

Keep your body flat and lie facing down in the water with your body kept in line with the water surface.

Step 2: Arm movement

There are three steps in arm movement – the Catch, Pull and Recovery. A fun way to learn this is to imagine scooping a gigantic bowl of ice-cream (Catch), pushing towards your mouth to eat (Pull) and then doing it again (Recovery).

1. Catch – With arms out straight and palms facing downwards, press down and out at the same time.

2. Pull – With elbows elevated above hands, pull hard towards your chest. The pull should have an accelerating hand movement pressing back and downward by the palm and forearms.

3. Recover – Join both palms together in a prayer like fashion in front of your chest and push out until your arms are straight again. This position helps reduce drag when pushing against the water.

Breaststroke arms

Step 3: Breathing Technique

Lift your head and neck above water at the end of the pulling movement for a breath. In the recovery phase, exhale bubbles in the water whilst your hands are pushed forward. Remember to use the praying position and the correct breathing techniques!Step 4: Leg Action

Starting with your legs straightened, bend your knees to bring your heel towards your bottom and make a circular motion outwards with your feet until they return to the starting position. When your knees are being bent, your feet should be below the water surface and shoulder width apart.

An important point to remember is keeping your feet in a dorsi-flexed position (flat-foot) whilst doing the breaststroke kick for more thrust.

breaststroke legs

Step 5: Learn to Glide

After executing the breaststroke kick, your body should be in a streamlined position with your arms and legs straightened. Stay in this position for one to two seconds as the forward propulsion by your legs should allow you to “glide” forward.

Notes on Coordination

  • When your breathing is finished, drop your head down in water and begin the kick.
  • When your kick is finished, hold out your arms straight in streamline position. (Gliding)
  • After 1-2 seconds, begin your arm movement again. (Step 2)

Helpful Tips

  • Do not rush through the gliding phase as it is actually the fastest part of the stroke.
  • Keep your feet in flat-footed position when performing the kick.

How To Swim Breast Stroke

MASTER YOUR SWIMMING TECHNIQUE (1): BREAST STROKE

The breaststroke is also known as the “froggy” stroke among children learning to swim as it sounds more endearing. The movement also resembles that of a frog swimming in water hence the use of this term. It is the most popular recreational style because it is very stable and does not require a lot of effort if a good technique is applied.

It can be a tricky stroke to master but once you manage to coordinate it properly, it can become a very leisurely way to swim. Here are 5 steps to ensure you master the breaststroke.

Step 1: Body position

Keep your body flat and lie facing down in the water with your body kept in line with the water surface.

Step 2: Arm movement

There are three steps in arm movement – the Catch, Pull and Recovery. A fun way to learn this is to imagine scooping a gigantic bowl of ice-cream (Catch), pushing towards your mouth to eat (Pull) and then doing it again (Recovery).

1. Catch – With arms out straight and palms facing downwards, press down and out at the same time.

2. Pull – With elbows elevated above hands, pull hard towards your chest. The pull should have an accelerating hand movement pressing back and downward by the palm and forearms.

3. Recover – Join both palms together in a prayer like fashion in front of your chest and push out until your arms are straight again. This position helps reduce drag when pushing against the water.

Breaststroke arms

Step 3: Breathing Technique

Lift your head and neck above water at the end of the pulling movement for a breath. In the recovery phase, exhale bubbles in the water whilst your hands are pushed forward. Remember to use the praying position and the correct breathing techniques!Step 4: Leg Action

Starting with your legs straightened, bend your knees to bring your heel towards your bottom and make a circular motion outwards with your feet until they return to the starting position. When your knees are being bent, your feet should be below the water surface and shoulder width apart.

An important point to remember is keeping your feet in a dorsi-flexed position (flat-foot) whilst doing the breaststroke kick for more thrust.

breaststroke legs

Step 5: Learn to Glide

After executing the breaststroke kick, your body should be in a streamlined position with your arms and legs straightened. Stay in this position for one to two seconds as the forward propulsion by your legs should allow you to “glide” forward.

Notes on Coordination

  • When your breathing is finished, drop your head down in water and begin the kick.
  • When your kick is finished, hold out your arms straight in streamline position. (Gliding)
  • After 1-2 seconds, begin your arm movement again. (Step 2)

Helpful Tips

  • Do not rush through the gliding phase as it is actually the fastest part of the stroke.
  • Keep your feet in flat-footed position when performing the kick.

How do you swim freestyle or front crawl?

MASTER YOUR SWIMMING TECHNIQUE (2): FRONT CRAWL

The Freestyle is not actually a stroke but a category in swimming competition. The most common and popular stroke in freestyle races is the front crawl as this style is the fastest. For this reason, the term freestyle is often used as a synonym for front crawl.

The front crawl requires you to flutter kick your feet while reaching forward with alternating strokes. Follow these 4 steps to learn how to swim and refine your front crawl swimming technique.

Step 1: Body Position

Keep your body flat, lie facing down in the water with your body kept in line with the water surface.

Step 2: Arm Movement

Your arm movement can be broken down to the simplest form consists just two actions – the Pull and Recovery.

  • Pull – With your palms facing down, pull in-line with your body with a slightly bent elbow all the way to the side of your upper thigh. Advanced swimmers can do a S-pull which maximizes the pulling phase.
  • Recovery – With your hand close to your upper thigh, lift one arm out of the water with a bent elbow. Reach forward over the water with a bent elbow and enter the water with your finger tips.

Both hands should alternate between these two movements and be moving simultaneously.

swimming freestyle arm movement

Step 3: Breathing Technique

Choosing a side to breathe will depend on being right or left handed. Whilst your hand is early in the recovery phase, turn your head sideways for a quick breath (one second). The trick is to time the roll of your head with your arm movement.

A very common mistake is to lift your head upwards instead of turning it sideways to avoid the water for breath. This is actually counter-productive as it disrupts your body positioning and causes you to dip further into the water.

Step 4: Leg Action

With ankles relaxed and flexible, point your toes behind you and kick up-and-down in a continuous motion from your thighs. Kicking from the calves is not as effective and a simple way to correct this is to make sure your legs are straightened out whilst kicking. For more details on this, refer to exercises you can do in the pool to improve your swimming.

Notes on Coordination

  • Your arms and legs should move simultaneously in cycles
  • A breath should be taken on one side with each stroke of that arm
  • A breath is taken when that arm is back. Exhale as the same arms enter the water

Helpful Tips

  • Stretch your arms as far as they can go to make a longer stroke. A large arm stroke is essential to speed and efficient swimming
  • Keep a straight body to reduce drag and make swimming easier
  • Take short quick breaths instead of long ones

TOP 10 SWIMMING BEACHES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Warm days of jumping around in the rolling turquoise waves, skipping on white sands and licking ice-cold soft-serves are the secrets to getting the most out of South Africa as a holiday destination. This country’s coastline stretches for more than 2500 kilometres (or over 1500 miles).

Its beaches include trendy hotspots for the brownest babes, the exquisite Wild Coast, or simple stretches of unspoilt sand and sea.

THE TOP 10 SWIMMING BEACHES IN SOUTH AFRICA:

1. Port St John’s, Wild Coast

The sheer magnificence of the Wild Coast is breath-taking, and Port St John’s is the perfect place to immerse yourself in this beauty. This is a tropical beach that is famous for its awesome surfing waves, and is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River. This area enjoys hot, humid summers that are best spent frolicking in the warm

2. Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth

Although not the biggest beach in Port Elizabeth, this is certainly one of its prettiest and most popular. It lies at the foot of the iconic Shark Rock Pier that extends into the temperate waters of Algoa Bay. It is situated just next to Humewood Beach, which is the only Blue Flag beach in the city, and both are close to a host of restaurants and the popular Boardwalk.

3. Umhlanga Rocks, Durban

The tidal pools and rock pools of this beach make it ideal for families with little ones and school groups. Every year, Umhlanga Rocks attracts people from all over the country for swimming, surfing, body surfing and sunbathing. The holiday resort village of Umhlanga makes this a beach vacation to remember.

4. Camps Bay, Cape Town

If you’re in the mood for beautiful people on beaches lined with palm trees and trendy champagne bars, Camps Bay is the answer. This spectacular beach lies at the foot of Table Mountain, with the Twelve Apostles looming over it. Smoothed boulders and the broad beaches of pure white sands are unforgettable.

5. Llandudno, Cape Town

Llandudno is a small beach, acclaimed as one of Cape Town’s most beautiful. The homes that perch on the mountains around the beach are some of the most expensive in the country, and keep this beach completely isolated from the bustle of city life.

6. Clifton, Cape Town

Clifton’s beaches are popular filming sites for movies and adverts because of their picturesque white sands, grey boulders and azure waters. This means that days spent on Clifton are sure to yield some celebrity sightings. If not, you are assured of spending time in absolute beauty.

7. Noetzie, Knysna

Noetzie is, actually, just outside Knysna on the Garden Route, and is known for the three mysterious castles right on the beach. It is also known for its variety of wildlife and gorgeous flora. Forested hills and red rock faces make this beach truly special.

8. Plettenberg Bay

Plett, as this area is often known, is a popular tourist destination, particularly during summer. Its two beaches, Robberg and Lookout, are fabulous for swimming, surfing and whale watching, and the miles of sandy shores are ideal for little ones.

9. Cape Vidal, St Lucia

The stunning St Lucia Wetlands Park, now known as the Isimangaliso Wetland Park is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its abundance in flora and fauna. Cape Vidal is part of this area and is most beautiful for its being completely cut off from “the real world”.

10. Willard Beach, Ballito

One of the most popular and acclaimed beached of KwaZulu Natal, Willard Beach is particularly loved for the many attractions and accommodation providers nearby. The long sandy beaches and warm waters make this an ideal option for families and a romantic beach destination for couples.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds more beaches that dot the coastline and invite families and outdoor-lovers from all over the world to sunbathe, swim and enjoy the natural splendour of South Africa.