Cape Town has no shortage of amazing beaches, many of which have Blue Flag status. This signifies a pristine coastline, excellent facilities and an overall unforgettable day at the beach. Much like people, every beach has its own unique personality and characteristics.
Some are loud and busy, whereas others are private and secluded. Some are famed for their waves and loved by surfers, whereas others have almost no waves at all. Whatever your preference, there is sure to be a seaside spot in Cape Town and surrounds which will be perfect for those long, lazy summer days at the beach.
A bustling, buzzing beach, Camps Bay is situated under the majestic, breathtaking backdrop of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles. It is one of Cape Town’s most popular, well-known beaches. If you don’t mind crowds of people, games of beach sports and vendors charismatically selling their cool drinks and ice lollies, then Camps Bay is the beach for you. Just across the road, a selection of world-class restaurants and bars offer delicious meals and sundowner cocktails.
Clifton 3rd and 4th
The four Clifton beaches are separated by granite outcrops, but you can easily walk from one to the next. Of the four beaches, Clifton 3rd and 4th are the most popular – Clifton 4th is the busiest, while Clifton 3rd is much quieter and smaller. If you crave a vibey beach experience with social sports and lots of people, then Clifton 4th is the beach for you. If you prefer a quieter day surrounded by fewer people, try Clifton 3rd instead. Both beaches have vendors selling cool drinks and ice lollies, however, Clifton 4th has a small café and ablution facilities.
This long beach stretches about 10 kilometres between Milnerton and Bloubergstrand. Strong, prevailing winds create large waves that attract droves of surfers and kiteboarders in summer. If you are a wave-lover, be sure to visit this beach during your stay in Cape Town. As it is so vast, this beach does not get too crowded, so finding a spot of your own should not be a problem. A choice of seaside bars, restaurants and magnificent views of Table Mountain make Blouberg a firm favourite with holidaymakers and locals alike.
Nestled between Hout Bay and Camps Bay, Llandudno is a secluded beach surrounded by large granite outcrops offering shelter from the wind. This beach is quieter than Camps Bay, making it ideal for visitors who like a bit of space when relaxing on the sand. It is also popular with surfers as the granite rocks channel the waves into the beach. Finding parking at Llandudno can be challenging, but the walk to get to the sand is well worthwhile. Llandudno is a fantastic beach, not far from central Cape Town and the drive is one of the most scenic in the area.
This small beach in Simon’s Town is also a nature reserve, famous for its colony of wild African penguins. An entry fee is charged to visitors, but it is well worth it for the chance to relax on the beach next to nesting penguins. Huge granite boulders create small private nooks on the beach, offering beachgoers many secluded spots for a relaxing day in the sun. Boulders Beach has no waves, so it is perfect for families with small children wanting to splash around in the water. Just don’t get too close to those penguins – they can bite!
This is a family-friendly beach situated in the quiet suburb of Fish Hoek. The waves at this beach are small when the tide is receding, making it perfect for families with young children. In the mornings, fishermen can be seen launching their boats from the beach. A seaside café at the southern end of Fish Hoek beach offers various drinks and eats and is perfect for a coffee after a long walk along the shore.
A surfer’s paradise, Muizenberg beach stretches for a few kilometres at the northern edge of False Bay. It is also a popular beach for beginners who want to learn how to surf, with several surfing schools operating on the beachfront. Muizenberg is perfect for visitors to Cape Town staying in the Southern Suburbs and it also has putt-putt (mini-golf), a swimming pool and a water slide. There is lots of parking space, with many seaside cafés and restaurants where you can relax after a day at the beach.
Paternoster is a charming little seaside village located about 130 kilometres north of Cape Town. It is well worth the drive to this traditional fishing community, reminiscent of a small Greek island – white cottages with blue shutters resemble a Mediterranean village. The beach has almost no waves, which adds to the overall tranquil atmosphere. Paternoster has a host of fantastic restaurants, with Wolfgat named the best restaurant in the world at the World Restaurant Awards held in Paris in 2019.
St James Beach
Located between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, the picturesque St James Beach is every photographer’s dream. The row of brightly coloured beach huts at the southern edge of the beach makes for charming pictures when taken from the rock pools. Children love this rocky beach, as there are lots of tidal pools to explore and sea critters to spot. With its colourful Victorian-style beach cabins, St James offers a day of exploration, relaxation and family fun.
This dog-friendly beach is a favourite of surfers who long for quiet waters and waves all to themselves. A large kelp reef just offshore offers swimmers and snorkelers underwater adventures with a number of sea creatures (including seals) swimming around the kelp vines. Kommetjie beach is sometimes called the smaller sibling of Noordhoek beach but guests can be guaranteed an amazing day in the sun.
Images by: Joshua Oates
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