Cape Town beaches are divided into three main regions. If you’re going swimming, it pays to remember that the sea at False Bay is about 6 degrees warmer than the Atlantic Seaboard and the West Coast. With so many beautiful beaches to choose between, it’s easy to find your ideal sun spot.
False Bay has the warmest seawater to be found on the Cape. Its beaches include the long sandy stretch from Gordon’s Bay to Muizenberg, and a number of smaller beaches along the East side of the Cape Peninsula.
The Cape’s West Coast beaches run all the way from Big Bay to Britannia Beach and include the beaches of the dramatic West Coast National Park, which has the Atlantic Ocean as its western border.
Long Beach is better known for its surf than as a sunbather’s hot spot. It has arguably one of the best Surf breaks in Cape Town. The beach itself is beautiful, however, and a perfect size for walking.
Long Beach is quite exposed to the wind so if you want to sunbathe it’s better to choose a less windy day. When there is heavy swell you will need to be aware of your ability level if you are there to swim. You will see many surfers and bodyboarders on the water on these big swell days, so kick back and watch them go. You might well see a couple of pros showboating!
Boulders Beach is sheltered and consists of inlets between huge 540 million year old granite boulders. Located on the Cape Peninsula and very near Simon’s Town, the beach is a popular for swimming beach with locals and tourists alike.
Bear in mind that people are restricted to the beaches adjacent to the penguin colony. Boulder beach has become a popular destination for tourists because of the colony of African penguins which settled here in 1982. The colony has grown from only 2 breeding pairs in 1982 to around 3000 birds now.
Although Boulder beach is in the midst of a residential area, the vulnerable birds can wander freely around its protected natural environment. If you want to get a good look at the penguins, we’d recommend viewing them from Foxy Beach.
Camps Bay attracts a large number of visitors including tourists, locals and the international jet set. It is one of Cape Town’s more affluent suburbs and one of its most beautiful beaches.
The main white sand beach has been a Blue Flag Beach since 2008 and is situated opposite Camps Bay main hub. There are numerous hotels, restaurants and shops, a seasonal lifeguard station and toilets at the west end of the beach.
Glenn beach is Camps Bay’s best surfing beach and is hidden behind large boulders at the right side of the Bay. Fast, short rides and a small takeoff spot make Glenn Beach one of the more difficult of Cape Town’s beach breaks. Surfers being surfers, this has made it a favourite spot for the local surf community.
Big Bay is home to a boulder called Little John. Gray wonders why Little John got the nickname Little John, when in fact little John is actually BIG John and weighs over 250 kilos. He’s also puzzled that Big Bay got the name Big Bay when it’s actually a charming little bay.
Big Bay is both friendly and water sports friendly, with smooth consistent sets of 1 to 5-meter barreling waves for you water sports enthusiasts to enjoy.
You can also enjoy authentic African cuisine, a cocktail or an organic super smoothie by the water. With many restaurants to choose from along the boardwalk, this is the perfect location for a sundowner.
Big Bay is one of the two Cape Town locations for the Red Bull King of the Air world kitesurfing competition every January/February.
To get to Hout Bay you follow the Green Point Road leaving Cape Town city centre and wind your away along the coastline. You’ll pass Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno before you find the beautiful beach at Hout Bay. Nestled in between the mountains, it’s the last beach before you start to climb Chapman’s Peak.
Hout Bay is a great sunbathing spot. After soaking up the sun head over to Mariner’s Wharf on the north side of the beach for delicious fresh seafood. If you fancy a drink check out the Urban Brewing Company for a pint of great locally produced beer.
One of the worlds most famous big waves can also be found here. ‘Dungeons’ is just around the point from Hout Bay. The best way to see this wave is via one of the many boat tours that leave from Hout Bay Harbour. Cost between (200R -500R per person). However, you can also view the wave on land, to do so drive towards Bay Harbour Market and then park at the end of Atlantic Skipper street. You will then walk straight ahead as you will find a hiking trail that follows the coastline, use the ocean as a marker as you will always be a stone’s throw away. Follow the trail for about 2 kilometres part way around Sentinel Mountain cliffs. The wave itself is about 1 kilometer offshore, so if you have binoculars all the better, and if the swell is good you can watch pro surfers riding this gnarly wave. The wave breaks onto shallow reefs and with high impact zones, it’s not a wave for the faint of heart, pro and big wave surfers only. The Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest is held here every year.
Stunning Clifton Beach is as must visit location when you’re in Cape Town. A steep staircase winds its way down to the beach from the coastline drive high above. On a busy day parking can be difficult, as the narrow beach drive only offers a few small parking lots and roadside parking.
Some of Cape Town’s most beautiful properties are scattered among the cliffs, with countless windows over looking the beach. The beach itself is usually brimming with sun worshippers and you’ll share space with the brilliant, the bronzed and the beautiful.
During the day you will find all sorts of activities from paddle ball to volleyball, open circle gatherings of musicians and locals putting on amazing acrobatic shows. At sunset fire dancers and musicians put on a show that you don’t want to miss. You will find people of all nationalities sharing space, playing, soaking up the sun and enjoying the unique entertainments that Clifton Beach offers.4