The world's top 10 swims
Thousands flock to the Dead Sea to experience its well documented health benefits
From diving in the world's largest underwater cave to rubbing shoulders with jellyfish and swimming with whale sharks, put these incredible swimming experience on your must-do list.
Hotel pool not doing it for you this year?
It's time to set your sights higher. From the cliff-edge pool that adrenaline-junkies can't get enough of, to the world's largest fringed coral reef, we've put together ten of the best once-in-a-lifetime swim experiences the world has to offer, so you can get more from your swimming holiday.
Just don't forget to pack your swimsuit.
Swimming with moon jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, Palau
Sealed off from the ocean more than 12,000 years ago and now only reachable by boat, Jelly Fish Lake is home to more than 10 million golden and moon jellyfish, which gently pulse across the lake surface, following the path of the sun. Thanks to evolution and a lack of predators (it’s thought the jellyfish were trapped inside the lake as it was sealed off), their sting has been rendered harmless, providing a perfect once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join them for a dip.
Our tip: Watch out for sensitive parts of your body (don’t kiss the jellyfish!)
Thrill-seeking at The Devil’s Swimming Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia
Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you. Often referred to as the world’s most dangerous pool, The Devil’s Swimming Pool perches tantalisingly close to the edge at the very top of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, giving you a bird’s eye view of the spectacular rainbows and roar of the magnificent waterfall. For the fainthearted it certainly isn’t – as its precipice-edge positioning and fast-flowing water suggest you could be sucked to your death at any minute – if it wasn’t for the natural rock barrier, hidden beneath the water.
Our tip: Best time of the year to visit is September-January.
Cave diving at Sistema Sac Actun, Yucatan Peninsula
Discovered in 1987, Sistema Sac Actun is a cave diver’s dream. With 110 miles of mapped passages, it’s one of the largest underwater caves in the world, not to mention one of the most beautiful and decorated. Formed millions of years ago, for centuries the caverns were an important fresh-water source for the Mayans, but now pull in cave diving and snorkelling enthusiasts thanks to their warm, crystal clear waters, year-round visibility and turtle spotting opportunities.
Our tip: Head to the most well-known entrance, the Grande Cenote.
Speedo must-have: Our Speedo Full-sleeved Wet Suit will keep you warm and protected.
Nature’s highest ‘hot tub’ at Yangbajing Hot Springs, Tibet
Set at around 4500 metres above sea level, Yanhbajing Hot Springs are believed to be the highest altitude hot springs in the world. Totalling 7,000 square metres, they’re certainly the largest and register at a hot-tub-worthy 47-degrees Celsius. With Yangbajing’s veil of thick vapours and a vista of snow-tipped mountains, a swim here feels almost other-worldly – perhaps not surprising, as legend has it the spring waters are ‘the tears of an angry fairy’.
Our tip: Views are best admired in the morning, when it’s still cold and hot steam rises from the lake.
Visit nature’s health spa at the Dead Sea, Israel
Known as one of the world’s first natural health destinations (rumoured to bea favourite of Herod the Great), thousands flock to the Dead Sea to experience its well documented health benefits. Actually a lake, not a sea, its high saline levels – around 30% salt – make it saltier than the ocean and impossible for anything to survive except algae. Technically you can’t swim here, but you can float, relax and enjoy the comforting waters, which are said to offer relief to aches and pains associated with arthritis. You’ll probably spot visitors slathering themselves with its medicinal black mud – join in; it’s thought to help ease skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Our tip: Don’t forget your footwear – the large salt crystals on the lake floor can scratch.
Swimmers’ paradise at To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
Surrounded by lush, green vegetation and exotic gardens, visiting To Sua feels like stumbling into a Jurassic Park set. To Sua means ‘big hole’, which is exactly what this natural pool looks like – a crater of crystal-clear water, accessible by a long (approximately 21-rung) ladder. Snorkel with the tropical fish, marvel at the scenery as you swim or check out To Sua’s beautiful cave and sandy white beach. This place is a swimmer’s paradise.
Our tip: Visit between May-November, during the dry season.
Close encounters with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef – Australia
At a substantial 260km in length, World Heritage-listed Ningaloo is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef. An aquatic wonderland, it’s home to over 500 species of fish and 300 species of spectacular coral, making it the perfect snorkelling destination. Go during March-June and you may get to swim with visiting whale sharks. Harmless to humans, these gentle giants can grow up to 18 metres. Out of the water, look out for loggerhead turtles who use the sandy beach as a breeding ground.
Our tip: Winter is the best time to spot manta rays, humpback whales and dolphins.
Dream snorkelling at Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or just a beginner, Hanauma Bay’s clear, shallow waters offer everything you need to get up close and personal with hundreds of tropical fish. A marine life conservation area since 1967, the bay is said to host the tamest fish in Hawaii and features around 400 species, including an abundance of parrot fish. Caves and crevices provide extra interest (the bay itself is the floor of a volcanic crater), while hiking trails lead to stunning views. On a clear day, keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales.
Our tip: Arrive early – only 3,000 visitors are permitted each day.
Sunrise swims at the at Blue Pool, Bermagui, New South Wales
When it comes to spots for a sunrise swim, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Blue Pool is a spectacular ocean swimming pool tucked away at the foot of a cliff in the sleepy seaside town of Bermangui. A large, natural rock pool, with clean, clear water, it’s great for serious swimmers and little splashers alike, with a children’s wading pool at the southern end and a larger pool, deep enough to swim laps in, at the other. Meanwhile, a viewing platform offers amazing coastal views, including the odd whale.
Top tip: The pool is very tranquil at low-tide and when calm, its surface mirrors the sun.
Swimming for all ages at Sea Point Swimming Pool, Cape Town
When it comes to catering for all swimming abilities, Sea Point’s public swimming pool ticks all the boxes. Built in the 1950s, this huge beach-front outdoor pool complex overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and features an Olympic size pool, a diving pool, a kiddy pool and a fun splash pool. Enjoy the filtered, crystal-clear sea water pool and take in the stunning ocean views. Open year-round, it’s the go-to pool for serious swimmers and sunbathers alike – plus a few famous South African swimmers as well.
Top tip: Long distance swimmer? Visit early on a Sunday morning to bag your spot.
Wherever you’re planning your next swim, remember to take the appropriate safety precautions. Happy swimming!