The Cape is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and summer holidays here are synonymous with days spent lazily on the beach soaking up the sun. In fact, Africa’s capital of cool Cape Town was voted by National Geographic as the number two Beach City in the world, narrowly being pipped to the top spot by Barcelona.
The Southern Cape is the meeting point of both the icy Atlantic Ocean and the warmer Indian Ocean so there is a variety of incredible beaches dotted along its coastline. In Cape Town you’ll find the famous Clifton beaches, known for their incredible sunsets, the posh cliff hanging houses that overlook them and their sheltered position from the Cape’s notorious South Easter wind. And then further north you’ll find many surfing and kite surfing sweet spots along the West Coast such as Blouberg. And on the other side of the Peninsula, along the the eastern False Bay coast, Fishhoek and Muizenberg beaches are perfect for families because of its kiddy-friendly tidal pools and warmer waters.
Here is a round up our top, most favourite beaches in the Cape.
1. Clifton, Cape Town
Consistently rated as one of the Cape’s most pristine beaches, Clifton’s four beaches boast beautiful soft white sand, aquamarine waters, no wind and an awesome holiday vibe. But be warned, the cold Atlantic water is freezing all year round! Home to some of South Africa’s most expensive real estate, yachts often moor not far off the shore making this stretch of beach Cape Town’s very own St Tropez where the beautiful people hang out.
This is a classic Cape Town beach (Clifton 4th beach also has Blue Flag status) with a buzzing holiday atmosphere, perfect for a day on the beach soaking up the glorious sun or a beach picnic with one of Clifton’s famous sunsets as a backdrop.
2. Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s most beloved little beaches. It is sheltered, featuring small inlets in between massive granite boulders and it has a special twist up its sleeve. Situated about 40km south of the Mother City, just past Simon’s Town, this is one of the few places in the world where you can observe the extremely cute endangered African Penguin freely walking around the boulders or swimming past you in the sea.
Perfect for families because of its warmer Indian Ocean waters and sheltered inlets, this snorkeling-and-penguin-watching-beach is one not to be missed! We suggest heading out there early in the morning to avoid the disappointment of not finding any beach real estate, as Boulders Beach is very popular with tourists and families alike. There are also lovely boardwalks leading up to a sheltered area of the penguin colony which is perfect for observing these birds.
3. Llandudno Beach, Cape Town
A favourite amoungst the locals, Llandudno Beach, lies about 20km south of Cape Town on the way to Hout Bay. Drive all the way down a windy road through this exclusive neighborhood and you will find a truly spectacular, Blue Flag status beach surrounded by impressive granite boulders with soft white sand.
This Cape Town gem is perfect for body boarding, surfing, frisbee, beach picnics, building sandcastles or simply soaking up Cape Town’s glorious summer weather. The Atlantic Ocean is pretty chilly, but on a hot summers day, there’s nothing like an invigorating swim in the sea. Llandudno is also well-known for its beautiful sunsets and the perfect romantic beach picnic location.
4. Grotto Beach, Hermanus
Hermanus is a popular seaside town, renowned for its Southern Right whales that come here to mate and calf between the months of September and November. Grotto Beach is one of two Blue Flag beaches in the Hermanus area (the other is Hawston Beach), and stretches over 2km from the well-loved Voëlklip Beach to the Kleinrivier lagoon with panoramic sea and mountain views.
Seldom crowded, this beach is perfect for sunseekers, long barefoot walks along the beach to revive body and soul or lazy beach games with the whole family. The sea water here can be either cooler or warmer depending on the Atlantic or Indian Ocean currents and prevailing winds. Grotto Beach is a must for its unspoilt coastline, nature and superb scenery.
5. Robberg 5 Beach, Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay along South Africa’s Garden Route is a must for any visitor planning a beach vacation to South Africa. But amongst Plett’s famous unspoilt, golden beaches, Robberg 5 Beach is undoubtedly its finest.
Imagine long stretches of pristine sand, warm water with striking views across the Robberg Peninsula and long lazy days spent on the beach. Pure perfection! This Blue Flag beach is a firm favourite with walkers, swimmers, surfers and families and once you get here, you won’t want to leave. Situated just south of Plettenberg Bay’s Beacon Isle Hotel, it forms part of the Robberg Nature Reserve where dolphins can often be seen frolicking in the waves and the Southern Right whales come to calve in the winter months.