Cape Town really does have it all when it comes to the perfect vacation. Not only are there incredible wines, amazing adventure activities, wonderful wild animals and culinary delights galore but it also boasts some unbelievable beaches. The best part is that each beach has its own personality and often draws a different crowd (some are popular with dogs and others penguins). Check out our top picks on the best beaches to visit on your trip to Cape Town.
Clifton beaches (1-4)
The four Clifton beaches in Cape Town are regarded as being amongst the most wonderful in the world. Coves of soft white sand separated by giant boulders that protect them from the summer breeze, each of the four beaches attracts a different crowd.
If you love outdoor sports on the beach then you should visit the Clifton 1st beach. It is a veritable playground of sporting people. Popular beach sports that are played at Clifton include volleyball, touch rugby and Frisbee. There are also showers and bathrooms on first beach which is useful after all that outdoor activity. Do you have a dog? Don’t hesitate and bring him with you, because dogs are allowed. Second and Third beaches are good if you’re not the sporting type – 2nd beach is gay friendly and 3rd beach is good for getting that all over (topless) tan. Fourth beach is the perfect beach for families because it has the most space, a place to buy cold drinks and snacks and has lifeguards and great facilities. From these four beautiful beaches you’ll have an amazing view of the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean and right up to the majestic mountain peaks of Lions Head and the 12 Apostles, part of the Table Mountain range.
For a Cape Town beach with a unique twist head to Boulders Beach. This beach, near the naval base of Simon’s Town, is famous for being the home of the delightfully comical African Penguin. Nowhere else in the world you will get an opportunity to have an unforgettable day at the beach surrounded by penguins and get the opportunity to swim with them. Boulders Beach remains the only place in the world where you can get this close to African Penguins in their natural habitat. If you are travelling with kids, pack a picnic and plan to stay awhile as this is sure to be one of their holiday highlights.
Muizenberg Beach is the ultimate family beach, with its colourful Victorian bathing boxes and wide expanse of sandy shoreline. The beachfront complex offers recreational facilities like waterslides, a swimming pool and Putt-Putt for the kids. The old-style beach pavilion and those iconic, boldly-coloured Victorian bathing huts evoke the feeling of a bygone era…a step back in time. Over and above being recognized for its wide expanse of sandy beach, Muizenberg is known for its surfer friendly waves and widespread promotion of surf culture. Muizenberg beachfront is a Cape Town hot spot for surfing and kite surfing for both beginners and professionals alike. If you always wanted to learn how to surf, Muizenberg is the spot. It’s also a Blue Flag Beach, which means it gets top marks for safety, recreational facilities and eco-consciousness.
Palm-fringed, with platinum blonde sands, Camps Bay beach is where the well-to-do and the famous come to see and be seen. Life in Camps Bay feels like an endless holiday that never gets old. This Cape Town beach is all about being gorgeous, from its manicured shoreline overlooked by millionaire’s’ mansions to the endless beautiful sunsets. With the mix of colourful pavement cafés and blazing beach days it is definitely worth a visit.
Glen Beach is a beautiful snow-white sandy beach set in a tiny enclave surrounded by massive granite boulders on the Atlantic Seaboard. These rocks not only increase the picturesque cove-like setting but also provide a windshield from the South Easter.
This cozy beach is nestled in the middle of Camps Bay Beach and Clifton beaches, yet Glen Beach is relatively un-crowded. Glen Beach is conveniently located within easy walking distance of restaurants, shops and cocktail bars. Here you have a gorgeous sea view and an awesome backdrop of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles.
Beta Beach in Bakoven
Bakoven Beach is an intimate beach hidden between Camps Bay and Llandudno beach. It’s small and seriously protected by locals, but its natural beauty and the perfect combination of big rocks and white sands make it a haven for sunbathing and sundowners alike.
Bakoven has been called Camps Bay’s baby sister and is a little more exclusive. You’re close to the action but away from the noise when you choose so. What this exclusive beach lacks in public facilities it makes up for in privacy and peace.
Llandudno Beach is one of those Cape Town beaches that seem to have it all. The 18 kilometer coastal drives is one of the most scenic drives along the rugged Cape Town shore. This crescent shaped beach lies at the base of the steep slopes of the last of the Twelve Apostles.
The beach is also one of the most photogenic in Cape Town and a favourite for beach sports like surfing, volleyball, rugby and a preferred picnic spot for families. Llandudno Beach offers no shops or restaurants however but that does keep the beach a bit more private and exclusive. A short 5 minute drive takes you to Hout Bay, a quirky fishing town with plenty of restaurants, shops and fun activities around the corner.
by Anissa van de Goor