What is a holiday without the beach? I judge a good vacation by the quality of beaches the country has, if they have any of course. Cape Town, has no shortage of the best beaches, and they rank top of my list. Cape Town is a great holiday destination. It’s expensive, but the beaches and relaxed life are totes worth it. Take it from me, I was born here!
1. Fish Hoek
Nestled on the Eastern side of the peninsula, Fish Hoek is my ultimate personal fave. It’s completely chilled and the water is always warm and clear during the summer. It’s the best beach for a swim.
The warm waters are provided from the Indian Ocean, and in winter and Spring, you can view the amazing whales that come to breed in the bay. Sea life is abundant here, and this beach is one of the best for spotting the random seal, dolphin or even a Great White Shark!
The beach is clean, safe and there are good facilities with a good restaurant!
2. Camps Bay
Situated on the Western side of the peninsula on the Atlantic coast is Camps Bay. It was once a camping and leisure area, before it became a bustling suburb with fancy restaurants and clubs adorning the main road facing the ocean. Camps Bay is happening both day and night, and very popular with the tourists all year round. It’s also 5 minutes away from the city centre.
It’s a great spot for eating out and sundowners. It’s very fancy, but the water is freezing cold…all the time.
3. Clifton 4th
This small beach is situated just down the road from Camps Bay Beach. It’s clean white sands and lovely vibe make it popular with the youthful crowds and tourists. There are live fire shows and many crowds till late at night during the summer.
4. Boulders Beach
Also along the Indian Ocean, Boulders is surrounded by…well lots of boulders. The little inlet makes a snug, shallow lagoon and has soft white sand to relax on. Boulders has become more popular over time because of the native African penguins that nest and live amidst the rocky shores. It’s not free to wander down to the beach anymore, you will have to pay R65 ($5) to look at a penguin or just to swim near one. The money really goes to the maintenance of the beach and the conservation of the penguins. It’s totally worth the money and I love it here. Great for tourists and people who like penguins.
5. Simon’s Town: Seaforth
Seaforth beach is quite small, but also has the same shallow lagoon vibe as Boulders, as it lies just around the corner. The beach is located right next to Simon’s Town harbour, Cape Town’s naval port. It’s super busy on weekends and this charming seaside suburb is filled with seafood restaurants, pubs and bric-a-brac stores.
6. Muizenberg Beach
Muizenberg is the first beach you will encounter on the Eastern coast line of Cape Town. It probably one of the most popular beaches and is home to the famous Surfer’s Corner. There are always surfies catching waves here everyday of the year. The area is super nice, with good restaurants, BnB’s, various accommodations and a few pubs. It conveniently located along the main road near the metro and the bus too. This beach extends all the way up to Strandfontein, and great for taking long walks. You can even catch whales such as Southern Rights and Orcas in the bay. There have been a few shark attacks here as it’s located nearby Seal Island.
Glencairn is located between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town. It’s located in a little cove along the coast line. The beach water is warm, but the sea bed is really uneven and the current is rather strong. You could walk rather deep, and then the water will only be up to your knees as the mounds go high and low. It’s a really relaxed beach, be sure to bring your own food and water as there are no nearby shops.
8. Buffels Bay
This is the last beach on the Eastern coast of the Cape Peninsula and located just a walk away from the famous Cape Point! Buffel’s Bay is also a camping site, and you can spend the day there to picnic or braai (BBQ). The beach has 3 awesome sections to swim in. It has a natural tidal open tidal pool, a built tidal pool and a stretch of natural beach with sand. This a great place to cool off and relax after your hike to the actual tip of Africa or the many walking trails around the conservation. Oh…and also expect to see lots of wild Cape baboons on the beach everywhere!!
9. Hout Bay
Hout Bay is a suburb and harbour off the Atlantic coast of Cape Town. It’s after Camps Bay and is popular for it’s amazing seafood restaurants. The beach lies just off the harbour and as it’s in the Atlantic, the water is also freezing cold. This doesn’t stop people from swimming. The water is calm and doesn’t have any huge waves.
Bloubergstand lies on the west coast and lies in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and on the other side of the city. The views from this beach are amazing as you see the city nestled below Table Mountain. The beach is also popular with surfers. Good news, is that there are no sharks here, as the water is rather cold. There are restaurants and bars across the road too.
There are many other beaches in the Cape, that I have not mentioned here, as the whole peninsula is surrounded by beautiful beaches along both coasts. The best thing is the amazing sea life that exists in and along the shores from marine mammals to bird life. There are more beaches I’ve mentioned that are along the Eastern coast, but that’s because I always prefer the warm waters for a good swim! Narrowing it down to 10 was hard, as all the beaches here have something special to offer!
- The beaches along East Indian Ocean coast can be reached by car and the metro runs along the coast all the way from city centre throughout the day. There are buses on this side, but are rather slow.
- The beaches along the West or Atlantic seaboard can be accessed by car and by the City Rapid Transport buses. The buses along the Western coast are really good and comfortable and run to and from the city centre throughout the day.
- Don’t worry about shark attacks, there are usually nets along some beaches, but there are shark watchers along the coast who set the alarms off to beach goers.
- The sea life is beautiful to observe and experience, but be wary that the animals are in their natural habitat and are wild. Do not touch them, unless they are in a controlled and supervised environment.
- The beaches are overall pretty safe, but I would advise to take care of your belongings or ask someone to watch them as you go for a swim. Camps Bay and Muizenberg are probably the most popular for pick pockets.
- Whale watching times are between August to November.
- There are life guards on duty throughout the days during the summer.