Mermaid’s Pool, Eastern Cape
Nestled in the picturesque precinct of East London, the mesmerizing Mermaid’s Pool beckons travelers and diving enthusiasts alike. East London may have a relatively modest diving scene, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in the sheer beauty and uniqueness of its dive sites. Chief among them are the Three Sisters and, of course, the captivating Mermaid’s Pool at Nahoon Reef.
Mermaid’s Pool, Eastern Cape
Situated just beyond the turnoff to Nahoon beach, Mermaid’s Pool offers an experience that’s nothing short of magical. With good visibility, this easily accessible marine alcove, lying tantalizingly close to the shore, becomes a treasure trove of underwater marvels. Those who venture beneath its waves with a GoPro in tow are often rewarded with breath-taking snapshots of marine life and the serene underwater landscape.
Timing is Everything
For those planning a maiden trip to Mermaid’s Pool, it’s crucial to sync your visit with low tide. During this period, the rocks that envelop this natural wonder sculpt an idyllic tidal pool. It becomes a haven for children eager to dabble their toes and create a splash, while seasoned snorkelers are lured by the scarce coral, vibrant seaweeds, and a colorful array of tropical fish.
The Call of Nahoon Point
Yet, the allure of Nahoon Point extends beyond the Mermaid’s Pool. With strong longshore currents, especially during incoming tides, shore access is most favorable at low tide. Particularly during a spring low tide, the pool remains insulated from the sea, keeping it safe from powerful back currents and settling at a depth of about two meters. This period provides an optimum window for snorkeling.
Further off the coast, the magnificent Nahoon Reef awaits the bravest of divers. The boulder to the left of Mermaid’s Pool serves as a convenient entry or exit point, even if the rocky terrain can make the initial journey somewhat challenging. However, as you drift two kilometers from the shore, you’ll encounter the crown jewel of the reef: a sprawling tapestry of overhangs, pinnacles, caves, and ledges. This intricate maze is a sanctuary for myriad marine species, including the likes of angels, butterflies, moorish idols, and surgeons, accompanied by schools of blacktails, stripies, and mullet. While the reef beckons divers throughout the year, many choose to explore its depths during the night, adding a layer of thrill to the experience. But remember, it’s also recognized as a hot spot for great white sharks. Though encounters with juvenile raggies are more common, it’s always wise to exercise caution.
Locating Mermaid’s Pool
Venture down Epsom Road, heading towards Nahoon Beach, and soon you’ll encounter a fork in the road. Choose the path straight ahead, pointing towards Nahoon Reef. Once you park in the area overlooking the sea at the reef, Mermaid’s Pool will greet you, nestled on the quaint beach to the parking’s left.
In the heart of East London, the Mermaid’s Pool stands as a testament to nature’s beauty, reminding us of the wonders that lie just beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. So, gear up, dive in, and let the adventure begin!
Popular tourist attractions and points of interest near Mermaid’s Pool
The area around Mermaid’s Pool in East London offers a range of activities and attractions that cater to different interests and ages. Let’s explore some of the diverse options available to visitors.
Just a short detour from the path to Mermaid’s Pool, Nahoon Beach is a sweeping stretch of soft sand ideal for sunbathing, beach volleyball, or simply relaxing with a book. Its waves are popular among surfers, and the beach often hosts surfing competitions.
Nahoon River Estuary
A short distance away, the Nahoon River meets the ocean, forming a picturesque estuary. This is a popular spot for bird-watching, paddle boarding, and canoeing. Its serene waters contrast beautifully with the wild waves of the ocean.
East London Museum
A quick drive from Nahoon Reef, this museum showcases the rich history and biodiversity of the region. Highlights include the coelacanth display and the fossilized footprint of a human believed to be over 100,000 years old.
The magnificent dunes around Mermaid’s Pool aren’t just for admiring. Adventure-seekers can try their hand at dune boarding – it’s like snowboarding but on sand!
Coastal Walks and Hiking
There are several well-marked trails around Mermaid’s Pool, offering breathtaking views of the coastline. These trails vary in length and difficulty, making them suitable for both novices and seasoned hikers.
Local Artisan Markets
Regular markets pop up in and around the Nahoon area, where local artisans showcase their handmade crafts, jewelry, and delectable treats. It’s a wonderful place to pick up a souvenir or gift.
Not far from Mermaid’s Pool, this cave is accessible by a footpath and offers a unique viewpoint of the coastline. The cave gets its name from the bats that can often be seen here.
Nahoon Point Nature Reserve
This reserve, encompassing a section of the coast including Mermaid’s Pool, is a great spot to learn about the unique coastal ecosystem. There are interpretive boards, bird-watching opportunities, and even whale-watching platforms.
There are numerous eateries close to Mermaid’s Pool, ranging from trendy cafes to traditional South African braai (barbecue) joints. Don’t miss out on trying local specialties!
Beyond diving and snorkeling, the waters around Nahoon Reef are abundant with fish, making them a dream spot for anglers. Local guides can be hired for deep-sea fishing excursions.
For those who prefer greens over blues, there’s the East London Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs in South Africa. Its lush fairways offer splendid views of the coast.
The vicinity of Mermaid’s Pool in East London promises an array of activities to entertain, educate, and enthrall visitors. Whether you’re an adventurer, a history buff, or someone seeking relaxation, there’s something for everyone.