Any visit to Cape Town without going to the beach is incomplete, whether summer or winter. Collated below are some of our favourite beaches found in and around Cape Town, some great for swimming, others for those long leg-stretch walks that blow away the cobwebs.
Where to find it: Llandudno, Cape Town
Best known for frisbee, beach bats, runs on beach and surfing. The water is usually a bit cold but once in, the refreshment factor is unbeatable. It is advised to bring a picnic for the day, as there are no shops or restaurants in Llandudno.
Where to find it: Clifton, Cape Town
The ocean is freezing but, on the rare occasion, or after a very hot day, taking a deep plunge could be possible. Umbrellas and lounge chairs can be rented, and soft drinks and ice cream are sold by garrulous vendors. A book, some bats or a frisbee can be a source of entertainment, and a light lunch, as the nearest restaurant is a steep flight of stairs away.
Where to find it: Kleintuin Rd, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Boulders beach is best for penguin-spotting, swimming and southeaster-free sunbathing. The crystal clear shallow water is sheltered from the wind, making for warmer-than-usual dips. Please note that an entrance fee is charged.
Where to find it: 3 Twenty Steps St, Bakoven, Cape Town
Since there are no waves, the water is perfect for snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and shallow dips. Sheltered from the wind, the bay is the place to be when the nasty southeaster picks up. Summer afternoons are ideal for swimming, as the water is more on the refreshing side, as opposed to limb-numbing.
Where to find it: Between Clifton and Camps Bay beaches, Cape Town
Glen Beach is popular for morning dips, surfing, and whole-day fun in the sun without the wind, or the crowds. The water is still quite chilly but – strangely – it is considered comparatively warmer than Clifton.
Where to find it: Victoria Rd between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, Cape Town
Much like the other beaches along the Atlantic strip, the water is pretty nippy. An entrance fee is charged, as Oudekraal forms part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve. If you have one, the My Green Wild Card will get you in for free. Braai pits are available.
Where to find it: Kommetjie, Cape Town
Ideal for surfing, sunbathing, sunset walks and dog walking. Beach goers are encouraged to bring sunscreen, as the sun’s reflection off the white sand can cause a nasty burn (even under an umbrella). Ironically the water is warmer in winter; however, only the braver beach-goers venture in for a dip.
Where to find it: Beach Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town
Renowned for swimming, long walks on the beach, surfing and surf lessons and skateboarding on the boardwalk. The water is relatively warm, making it perfect for long swims and longer surf sessions.
Where to find it: Otto Du Plessis Drive, Big Bay, Cape Town
Big Bay hosts surfing and windsurfing contests if the southeaster is not blowing and wind and kite-surfing if it is, while Little Bay is better suited to sunbathers and families. The beach is best known for the magnificent views of the Table Mountain and Robben Island
Where to find it: Simon’s Town Rd, Fish Hoek, Cape Town
Fish Hoek beach is ideal for swimming in the calm water, games, Sunday strolls, and whale-spotting during season. The water is usually nice and warm, and can be accessed in some places from Jager Walk – a coastal path on the south side of the beach. It is advised to be wary of the shark siren (though it rarely sounds).
Where to find it: Noordhoek, Cape Town
Noordhoek Beach is over 8 km long, and is unspoiled and protected on the Atlantic Cape coast. At one end it is defined by Chapman’s peak plunging into the sea, and at the other, by the Kommetjie lighthouse. The beach is backed by National park-protected wetlands, and as a result is free of the urban sprawl. Popular with horse riders, runners and walkers.
Where to find it: Camel Rock Rd, Scarborough, Cape Town
Scarborough Beach is situated within the tiny coastal village of Scarborough, just outside of the Cape Point Nature Reserve in Cape Town, Western Cape. The long, sandy beach offers great surfing spots, fascinating rock pools, awesome sunsets, and leisurely strolls. There are minimal facilities, but there is a restaurant in the village where one can grab a quick bite to eat.
Where to find it: Hout Bay, Cape Town
From Chapman’s Peak to Hout Bay Harbour, the beach stretches almost a kilometre and varies in width from 200 to 400 meters, making it ideal for beach volleyball, cricket, touch rugby, or kite flying. Among the beach’s visitors are horse riders, dog walkers, and sea kayakers. Almost always calm, the protected bay offers safe swimming. Dolphins, whales and seals can be spotted in the bay. Numerous restaurants and shops line the beachfront, while the nearby harbour offers fresh seafood, tourist curios, and boat rides.