Skinny dipping hot spots

2013-04-11 15:51

Some things just have to be done. Like when the moon is full, the air warm and mother nature has swathed herself in the most exquisite of sparkly, velvet gowns - to find the closest body of natural water, expose your skin to the exotic night and take a dip. A skinny dip.

Yes, bathing in the buff is one of those delightfully wicked activities for which there really is no better rhyme or reason, than a pure, unblemished "just because." And one of the few little pleasures in life for which you need nothing but an adventurous spirit, a partner in crime (or a few) and an appropriate spot - preferably somewhere with water at least waist high.

With summer just around the corner, we thought it good to celebrate this age-old naughtiness with a few suggestions of good places to let go of your weary inhibitions.

Jonkershoek Tweede Waterval, Stellenbosch

Why: Nestled into a cozy corner of Stellenbosch's Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, an easy 6,4km trail leads you to a magical fairy world of smooth boulders, moss and a spectacular waterfall. It's quite a popular route, so you'd have to time your adventure well to miss the crowds.

Best time to go: early morning or late afternoon

With who: It's such a romantic spot that it comes highly recommended to lure your partner in like a siren of old.

A karoo farm dam


Photo: Shutterstock

Why: Any Cape-bound summer holiday road trip will take you through the Karoo, and just picture this: it's midday, heat waves dance on the never-ending road in front of you, sheep dwell listlessly in the kilometers of nothing on either side and it seems like the world has just started turning a little slower. A static windmill stands alongside a concrete farm dam - you think: "boy, I wish I could just dive in there." Why keep it at a thought? Make sure the coast is clear, pull over and indulge your fantasy.

Best time to go: The middle of the day - in other words Karoo siesta hour. The farmer most certainly won't be doing any far flung rounds at this time of day and if no one else is around, the sheep are sure not to tell.

With who: We're inclined to think the more the merrier in this case.

Rust-en-Vrede Waterfall, Oudtshoorn


Photo: Oudtshoorn info

Why: Located 18km outside of Oudtshoor in the direction of the Cango Caves, Rust-en-Vrede is close enough for a spontaneous outing, but far enough to leave behind all the bustle. A short and picturesque trail will lead you right into the heart of the Swartberg, where you will find the crystalline pool at the foot of a rushing waterfall.

Best time to go: Late afternoon or very early morning

With who: Also a particularly romantic spot, your lover would be a good option, but if you're out of luck in that department, gather a handful of your good friends for a frolic.

Sardinia Bay, Port Elizabeth

Why: Something about this long, long stretch of wild ocean and rough-to-the touch sand will make you want to take off your clothes. Really. As soon as you summit the first dune and spot the magnificence that lies ahead, some sort of primal urge to return to the ocean just kicks in. Why not let it take over just once?

Best time to go: Early morning to see the sun rise

With who: This spot is not so much about who you're with, but how YOU experience it, so invite any soul adventurous enough, craving a little taste of wildness.

Beaverlac, Cederberg

Why: Well, why not?! There are hundreds of different pools to choose from and try out, and they're all pretty close to the campsite. If you have an inch of chutzpa in you, skinny dipping will be an obvious weekend activity.

Best time to go: Whenever you come across an abandoned pool. Or if it's for romantic purposes wait for nightfall, moonshine and stars.

With who: Friends or lovers, whatever you're in the mood for really!

Marble Baths, Central Drakensberg

Why: Carved into smooth, white sandstone and surrounded by large, flat rocks, these pools are a dreamy location reminiscent of some ancient Roman bathhouse. You will find Marble Baths in the Injasuti Wilderness Area in central Drakensberg. There's a nearby cave you can overnight in, or just camp on the riverbank.

Best time to go: Seeing you're going to be overnighting there anyway, hop in when no one else is around or distracted.

With who: Same as above - it depends entirely on your mood.

Lodge or rest camp pool - anywhere in the bushveld


Photo: sanparks.org

Why: Because there is no better way to end off a warm evening of exchanging stories around the fire and chasing them down with a drink of choice, than to usher the entire group into the lodge pool. Clothes optional.

Best time to go: Well, when the firewood's finished would be a good time.

With who: Everyone!

Forest Falls, Sabie


Photo: sabie.co.za

Why: A trail through fragrant pine forests leads up to this majestic wider-than-it-is-high waterfall. It's a landmark in the area and full of soothing water after a summer hike.

Best time to go: Late afternoon

With who: Also quite a romantic spot, so a partner would be best.

Otter Hiking Trail, Garden Route


Photo: gardenroute-direct.com

Why: Because you're going to be on the trail for 5 whole days and won't be coming across that many strangers, and besides, there are lots of pools, rivulets and waterfalls to splash in.

Best time to go: Whenever the desire arises

With who: Whoever wants to join you

Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Why: Because it gets damn hot and one of our country's largest rivers (the Orange, if you don't know) flows right through the park. Why bother with a costume when there won't be anyone else around for kilometers anyway?

Best time to go: When the heat is too much to bear.

With who: Why not bring a little romance to your stark surroundings and get your partner to join?

Tonquani Kloof, North West

Why: It's like a natural water feature that goes on for kilometer after kilometer! Stunning fern lined pools of crystal clear water interspersed with giant rocks go to make this walk an unforgettable experience. It's owned by the Mountain Club of South Africa and you need a permit to get in. But this is a good thing, as there will be no crowds!

Best time to go: Well, if no one else is around and you're with the right people/person... what are you waiting for?

With who: Adventurous friends

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