20 January 2017
The Mother City is famous for its many white-sand beaches – from wide, sprawling expanses of white sand to tiny, secret alcoves.
Part of the fun lies in choosing a Cape Town beach that suits your needs and mood, so whether it’s family fun, people watching, swimming or peace and quiet you’re after, there’s a perfect spot in the sun for you. Here’s our choice:
Fish Hoek beach (Image: Flow Communications)
This beautiful False Bay hamlet might be a little drive away from town, but it is one of the city’s best beaches for swimming, with substantially warmer water than those on the Atlantic seaboard and gentle waves, allowing for safe, fun boogie boarding and bodysurfing. You can also take a gentle walk along the flat 1.5km beach. This is a truly special place – come early to beat the crowds, and enjoy the early-morning serenity and views.
How to get there: From Cape Town, drive towards Muizenberg. Then choose either Ou Kaapse Weg over Silvermine and the mountain, or the coastal route (with a choice of scenic Boyes Drive or the main road through Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay). Note that traffic can be crazy on the latter, particularly during the holidays.
Camps Bay beach and the Twelve Apostles in the background (Image: Phil Guest)
It’s likely to be heaving with tourists and holidaymakers, the traffic may be bumper to bumper and it’s anything but tranquil over the season, but no list of Cape Town beaches can be complete without including Camps Bay, with its long, white beach, ridiculously beautiful scenery, tidal pool, to-die-for sunsets, and myriad trendy and upmarket restaurants and drinking holes. The mood is vibrant, the people happy and the ocean sparkling (but cold!)
How to get there: From the city, drive either over Kloof Nek Road (past the cable station) and follow the signs, or come along Victoria Road from Sea Point via Clifton. Both are super-picturesque, but be warned that Victoria Road, in particular, can get clogged up.
A beautiful day on Llandudno beach. (Image: John Viljoen)
Everything about this pristine beach blows the mind: the white stretch of sand, the transparent ocean, the mountain vistas, the giant granite boulders offset by blue skies. A preferred spot for surfers and sporty types, this beach also caters for families with kids and sunbathers looking for somewhere more relaxed than Camps Bay or its neighbour, Clifton (which is, of course, another contender for this list). Come early or late in the day, as parking can be tricky.
How to get there: Drive along the Atlantic seaboard from Cape Town along Victoria Road via Camps Bay until you see the sign for Llandudno on your right, or approach from Hout Bay over Suikerbossie pass.
Table Mountain vista taken from Bloubergstrand (Image: John Viljoen)
If you’re a watersports or beach-activity enthusiast, this is just the place for you: join the kite- and windsurfers flocking here from across the world, or bring a frisbee and some friends. The water is freezing (although this doesn’t stop the kids from dipping in), but this sprawling, family-friendly beach about 20km from the city has plenty of other charms making up for it. These include unbeatable views of Table Mountain across the bay (making it a favourite hangout for photographers), long, romantic sunset walks and eateries to suit every taste and budget.
How to get there: From Cape Town, follow the R27 north along the West Coast to Bloubergstrand.
Bikini Beach, Gordon's Bay (Image: Damien du Toit)
This Gordon’s Bay gem is not strictly a Cape Town beach as it’s about 40 minutes’ drive from the city, but it’s a cool spot with white sand, warm water for swimming and great views of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains. The bonus is that this is a hop and a skip from historic university town Stellenbosch and its surrounding winelands, so make the beach outing part of a fabulous day trip to the Boland.
How to get there: From Cape Town, take the N2 to Gordon’s Bay.
For the best way to see many of the beautiful beaches around the Cape Peninsula, use the City Sightseeing Blue Route bus and the new Cape Point Explorer. The Blue Route includes Camps Bay via Sea Point, Bantry Bay and Clifton, and also passes by Llandudno on its way to Hout Bay. The Cape Point Explorer drives a host of spectacular beaches on its way to Cape Point and back, including Fish Hoek and Boulders Beach with its famous colony of African penguins.