The Crystal pools are a beautiful place to visit and relax, please do not let my experience, (or the smell of the rangers) put you off visiting and enjoying them. With a permit!
It has been such a long time since I visited the Crystal Pools in Gordon’s Bay that I had forgotten the inane fact of needing a permit to enter. Bad idea! There are a number of the usual signs and one of them (which no-one sees) mentions the permit.
Gordon’s Bay is about an hours drive from Cape Town, along the N2 highway, you can either turn off at Strand or carry on to the GB turn-off. Once there, keep going along the coast road until you come to a bridge which spans the river mouth. This is where to park your car AND BUY A PERMIT AT THE GUEST HOUSE.
Sarah is by no means the most adventurous of sorts and I had explained to her not to bring anything heavy due to the walk up to the pools. I had distinctly remembered the rock pools as being about a 15 minute walk up the ravine…. Apparently they have now been moved and are now actually closer to 40 Minutes, or an hour with flip-flops and a 6 year old. Add to this 35 degree heat and me being a bit of a slave master, we have a very unhappy wife. Talulah was loving it, bounding up the rocks like a little goat, but we were all getting very hot and (me carrying al the bags!) were looking forward to the cool mountain water that awaited us……BUT NO.
As we arrived at the first pool, stripped our clothes off and waited for the hiss of steam from our feet hitting the water…..3 savage, brown clothed fascist rangers, asked if we had a permit. Reaching for my most persuasive tone, I explained “we haven’t, but I would be more than happy to purchase one now?” to which the reply was “no, I have to ask you to leave” (It came across much more threatening and horrible than that)
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Once again I dug deep, politely explaining that my wife would divorce me if we didn’t have a little dip, and we would just have a short swimlet, then be on our way. “No, you are on private property” After that I lost my cool and exchanged a number of big words like “because” and “temperature” which clearly confused and enraged goat face. He then gave me a monosyllabic tirade about how much he earns and that he must now take revenge by irritating hikers.
My final argument was, that as a responsible parent I was going to let my daughter cool off in the water before heading back. I still got a negative, a threat of calling law enforcement plus a R700 fine. So I told the guy to go ahead and fine me with pleasure and we all went for a swim.
Meanwhile the blond creepy ranger with pimples and bad breath, radioed the police and eagerly told his short, fat, balding cousin, that they were on their way. With recent situations involving ladies in swimsuits being arrested and held in jail for walking their dogs, I was half expecting to hear a helicopter overhead. We had our swim, briskly dried, had another discourse with the in-breds, and we were on our way back.
A large number of foreign tourists were also being ushered down from the higher pools, to which I apologised for the complete idiocy of the situation. Needless to say the police did not arrive, which is a shame, because on the way down I had rehearsed a heart wrenching case tailored to rural cop sensibilities, and a few backup rants about being a tax payer etc… When we did get down we found the same power-rangers scaring a baby duck and I think smoking crack.
Moral of the story, get a stupid permit for R10 ($1.50) at the bottom before you enter. Better yet, get a permit, but pretend you don’t speak English when the cretins ask you for it, make them swim out into the pool and drown due to their shortened limbs. But don’t let them touch you, or they will make you stupid.
To the genius’s at the “league of challenged khaki wearers”: SELL PERMITS AT THE GATE or GIVE THE GUYS SOME PERMITS TO SELL! and BE NICE TO THE TOURIST PEOPLE! Ideally, let hikers walk the mountains freely without irritating red tape. (Get your handler to copy the big letters into Google and translate it into moron for you.)