Cape Town is such a fantastic city and having multiple beaches all along its coastline makes it all the more attractive for a longer stay. We always recommend a week in Cape Town so you can see the city sights and laze away a few days on the beach plus head up into the mountains for a wine tasting or two! But that’s for another day…
There’s a beach for everybody, from the trendy buzzing beaches with promenade strips of bars and restaurants to rocky and secluded coves, safe swimming spots and romantic beach settings ideal for the glorious sunsets.
The beaches are on two coastlines because remember it is here the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide.
Beta Beach at Bakoven
This is one of the gems on the Indian Ocean side and is made up of a series of picture-perfect little coves. There’s no waves here, just azure waters and white sand and views over to Camps Bay and Lion’s Head. It is ideal for people who prefer shallow dips, stand up paddle boarding and snorkelling.
There’s impressive rock formations to sit on at Beta and the actual beach size is small and away from tourist hotels making it the ultimate escape.
Bloubergstrand: Big Bay and Little Bay
This is one of the most picture-perfect beaches because you look across the water to Table Mountain and Robben Island. It’s a long stretch of sand with two bays. Big Bay is famous for surfing and windsurfing and home to various competitions throughout the year. Little Bay is more for sunbathing and lazing. The water is really cold so don’t dare swim without a wetsuit.
Located at Simon’s Town, just 45 minutes away from Cape Town city centre is Boulders Beach. It’s one of our all time favourite beaches to visit with the family because it is here you can spot penguins and also swim in the clear shallow water that’s sheltered from the wind. Keep in mind it’s still very chilly!
You do have to pay an entrance fee because of the conservation work done here to protect the penguin colony. It’s worth every cent (and only a few dollars). Where else in the world can you get so close and even swim with the world’s ultimate beach bums? Just remember they are wild animals, so it’s illegal to touch or feed the penguins.
Afterwards, head back up to Simon’s Town for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. The Salty Sea Dog makes a decent coffee!
This gently curving crescent of a beach is Cape Town’s most famous. Locals and visitors flock to its palm-lined promenade to people watch, play games or simply relax on the sand. The beach is beautiful because it’s wide and long and has the most beautiful backdrop of the Twelve Apostles range and dramatic peaks. Sometimes the wind can pick up and that’s when you head across the road to one of the trendy bars, cafes or restaurants.
Clifton Beaches 1 – 4
Clifton boasts four beaches on one of Cape Town’s most sought-after suburbs. It’s only ten minutes from town and the four beach coves are separated by giant boulders that protect against the south easterly winds. The water is still cold though, so swimming is for the brave. Beaches two and three are the liveliest with trendy young people predominantly lazing on the sands while 4th beach is the biggest, most popular and frequented by families. In summer you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas and vendors sell refreshments. Access is by steep stairs and narrow, winding pathways so make sure you take all that you need for your beach time.
Fish Hoek Beach
Fish Hoek is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike because the waters are warmer than elsewhere. Be mindful, we’re not the only creatures that like warm waters. Sharks are known to frequent so we prefer to play on the beach than dip in the water. The beach stretches for 1.5 kilometres so there’s plenty of room for a game of cricket, footy or Frisbee. At the sothern end, there’s a path called Jager Walk and it takes you to little rock pools ideal for whale watching between June and November.
Located 20 kilimetres south of Cape Town, Llandudno is spectacular and a crowd favourite. You head out towards Hout Bay and the Chapman’s Peak Drive and then turn down the narrow twisting road through exclusive hillside houses until you reach this sandy cove.
The sea is cold but it’s waves are great for body boarding. Locals take their morning and afternoon strolls while visitors head off for sunset taking a picnic basket brimming with goodies. There’s quite a decent stretch of sand so a Frisbee or cricket set come in handy. There are no local shops or restaurants so it’s the type of place you need to take everything you need.
Long Beach, Kommetjie
One of our favourite ways to spend a day is exploring Kommetjie’s Long beach (it’s Cape Town’s longest beach, some eight kilometres in length) and neighbouring little village called Noordhoek. Long beach is really popular amongst local surfers and residents with dogs as it’s an off lead approved area. While the waters are freezing, you’ll most likely get sun burn if you’re not protected because it radiates and reflects off the near-white sand.
Park at Kommetjie, go for a little beach walk or run and then head into Noordhoek for a bite to eat at The Foodbarn or ice cream at Kristen’s Kick Ass Ice Cream.
This hidden gem of a beach is nestled in Table Mountain National Park. It’s here locals flock for weekend braais (barbeques) because the setting is so tranquil with boulders, trees for shade and mountain vistas. You pay to enter the national park and then head with a packed picnic hamper to the shoreline. There are over 30 well-maintained sites for a braai!
Oudekraal beach is perfect for swimming because the water is so sheltered and no boats are allowed. Kids can splash in the shallows and you can climb and play on the boulders. The water is cold, but don’t let that stop you from snorkelling because there’s plenty to see in the cove. It’s a Marine Protected Area because of its abundant sealife. The underwater Justin’s Caves offer kelp forests and colourful scenery and the Het Huis te Traaiestein ship wreck from 1670 is the oldest in the country. The seal colony lives on Strawberry Rocks not far away so you can often spot them in the water.
This beach is home to the iconic multi-coloured beach shacks made famous on Cape Town postcards. St James is located between Muizenburg Beach and Kalk Bay.
It’s home to some fantastic natural rock pools, ideal for kids and the centre of the natural rock pockets is a large man-made tidal pool. It’s much warmer than elsewhere and sheltered from the notorious winds. There are no local amenities so bring everything you need!