It was named “False Bay” when early navigators mistook Cape Hangklip for Cape Point, which resulted in many shipwrecks in the bay with its strong cross winds and rocky routes. It is the largest true bay in South Africa and one of the great bays in the world. The water body covers approximately 1000km2, and the coastline, which makes up the Southern portion of the breath-taking Cape Peninsula, and includes the area from Muizenberg to Cape Point, is about 33km in extent. The CLDSA has a variety of official swim routes in this location culminating in the Everest of Cape swims, the solo False Bay crossing.
False Bay Swims
In the early days of long distance swimming coastal swims in False Bay were the swim of choice, primarily because the water is considerably warmer than that of the Atlantic and there is generally less swell. Swims from Simonstown to Muizenberg were organised fairly regularly, as were annual Mile swims in Simonstown and Fish Hoek bays. Over the years it became less popular due to the appearance of Great White sharks in the area and a number of fatal shark attacks. However, due to a decline of the appearances of the Great White sharks it has seen a recent surge in interest with a rapidly growing social False Bay open water swimming community.
Across False Bay
The Everest of Cape swims is the solo crossing of False Bay itself from Rooi Els to Miller’s Point or Miller’s Point to Rooi Els at distance of about 33km. The first successful solo False Bay crossing was completed by Annemie Landmeteres in 1989. The difficulty of the swim can be attributed to strong and unpredictable currents and winds, icy and often inconsistent water temperatures, and the fact that False Bay has one of the highest populations of Great White sharks in the world. To date only 6 swimmers have completed the solo False Bay crossing.
There is also an official CLDSA relay route for the “Across False Bay” swim which must consist of a minimum of 2 and up to 6 members.
Bikini Beach in Gordon's Bay to Rooi Els
This route can be swum in either direction and goes from Fishhoek, past Glen Beach towards Simonstown.
The double from Simonstown to Muizenburg and back is a solid training ground for longer swims.
A more popular route that has been swum by a number of swimmers in recent years. Starting at the dock area in Simonstown Long Beach and ending at Muizenburg Beach. It can also be swum from Simonstown to Muizenburg and back for 20km. Bronzer sharks have been spotted on this swim.
This Everest of swims has been swum from Rooi Els to Miller’s Point and from Miller’s Point to Rooi Els, the latter producing faster times in recent years.
1989 Annemie Landmeters
2021 Ryan Stramrood 08:39:50
2021 Eva Dirkson Georgia Smith, Karen Graaff and Katherine Persson 8:46.12
2021 Anthony Pearse, Barend Nortje, Brad Gale and Mark Chamberlain 7:28.50