Welcome to Week 39 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Zoo Lake Swimming Pool.
Some artist/blogger friends of mine have an ongoing collaborative project called #20Laps, for which they visit and document different swimming pools around Johannesburg. Alex swims 20 laps at each pool. Gail takes pictures. Fiver makes sketches. Ang writes blog posts.
When I can, I tag along and do some (or none) of the above.
Johannesburg has a vibrant public pool culture, which probably has something to do with the city’s amazing weather. Joburg pools open for the summer on 1 September and don’t close for the winter until April or May. (The Linden Pool is indoors and open year-round.) The pools have relatively low admission fees — around R10, or under a dollar — and tend to be well maintained, even in parts of town that have declined socioeconomically in recent decades. Some of the pools are even heated.
Two weeks ago the #20Laps gang visited the Zoo Lake Swimming Pool, which has been on my #Gauteng52 hit list all year.
My First Visit to the Zoo Lake Swimming Pool
The Zoo Lake pool is iconic, both for its appearance and its location in one of Joburg’s most popular public parks. The pool is huge and beautifully designed — it’s a square, which I found interesting — and spotlessly clean.
I arrived before my friends did, and settled on my towel in the grassy area next to the pool.
Which brings me to my main piece of advice for Zoo Lake pool-goers: Bring a lawn chair and make sure all your food is in airtight containers. The grass is crawling with ants. Although they are tiny, non-biting ants, they were all over my legs within seconds.
When the ants began invading my camera bag I finally surrendered and resettled on the wide concrete steps around the pool, which are also quite comfortable.
Other than the ants I have zero complaints about Zoo Lake pool. (Oh, actually I have one more: I wish there were a diving board but I don’t think diving boards are a thing at public pools anymore.) I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time there, swimming (briefly because the water was cold), soaking up the early summer afternoon sun, chatting with my friends, and shooting the occasional picture.
I didn’t want to leave.
The Zoo Lake Swimming Pool is at 57 Lower Park Drive, corner of Westwold Way, at the northern end of the Zoo Lake park. The pool is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Read more about the #20Laps project on Jozi.Rediscovered.