The 10 best beaches in Cape Town

Twenty years ago, when South Africa was still a pariah, a friend said that Cape Town would never be an international hit. “The sea is too cold,” he said, lips pursed. “No one wants a city by the sea where you can only look at the ocean.”

How wrong. Not only would the Mother City be a treasure around the world but plenty of action can be seen on its beaches. Mentioned by white sand, reserved granite boulders, by a sea of ​​diverse blues and rocky mountains overlooking it. And where else can you watch the sun rise over False Bay, then plunge into the Atlantic later that same day?

On average of 16-18C the waters are quite frigid (note that the False Bay side is always a few degrees warmer), but it is lively, and for Instagram-beauty, the backgrounds are hard to beat. Here are 10 of the best.

For more Cape Town inspiration, check out our guides to the city’s hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions. For more inspiration, read our expert’s ultimate two-week holiday in South Africa.

Clifton Beaches

Clifton has four beaches

Clifton’s beaches are accessible via stairs from Victoria Road

Four consecutive crescents are marked with boulders into the First, Second, Third and Fourth. The fifth part, called Moses, is reached through rocks from First. The Fourth and Third overlook dinky beach bungalows on vegetated slopes that curve into a relatively compact cluster of mid-century apartments that loom over the First and Second Century.

How to get there: A number of stairs lead through the bungalows and apartments from Victoria Road. The Ridge, closest to Fourth Beach, has the fewest stairs. Weekends can be busy – it’s worth booking a taxi or catching the MyCiTi 108 or 109 to Victoria Road.

Insider tip: The fourth place, the largest and most accessible, is busy on weekends: volleyball players, lifeguard trainers, cold water swimmers and a beautiful kayak trip. Clifton Kayak will be blasting out over the Ridge to visit the Cape fur seals, then into the rock pools around Maiden’s Cove; the sight alone – with the Lion’s Head fainting – is worth it.


It’s a dinky little Beta beach, usually sheltered from the wind, with huge boulders creating a waveless cove, lapped by waters deep enough for you to jump in before sprawling on the sun-warmed rock. Just a little further on is Bali Beach, offering similarly calm waters.

How to get there: Turn into Beta Close from Victoria Road. You will be lucky to find a parking space so take the 108 or 109 MyCiTi, or Uber, then follow the path between the houses to the beach.

Insider tip: Bootlegger on Victoria Road serves good coffee and the best gluten-free bread – ask for the well-toasted Hannam Fiveseed.

Camp Bay Beach

Camps Bay is Cape Town's most accessible beachCamps Bay is Cape Town's most accessible beach

Camps Bay is Cape Town’s most accessible beach

Go out of the city over the “Nek”, and down to a wide sandy beach with a wide grassy promenade, lined with palms. It is not only the most accessible beach in the city but also the best place for a cocktail in the sun: across the road there are bars and restaurants on the sidewalk.

How to get there: The beach is as far as the one from the city to Clifton (about 10 minutes by car outside the peak season) and walking distance from each other along Victoria Road. It is part of the bus route hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing, or reach the MyCiTi 106 and 107, or Uber. Note: there is limited parking.

Insider tip: Camps Bay tide pool, on the south side, is one of the largest and most beautiful on the peninsula. If you want a more secluded beach, head to nearby Glen Beach, one of the city’s most popular surfing spots.

Sunset to Blobberg Beach

The first inhabitants called the flat-topped mountain Hoerikwaggo, which means “Sea Mountain”, and you can see how it got its name when you walk the stretch between Sunset and Blouberg, with its postcard views of across the mountain bay, it seems to rise straight from the sea. It is also the final point for open water swimmers to tackle the 4.3 mile swim from Robben Island.

How to get there: About a 20 minute drive due north of the city along the R27, turn left into Ocean Way, then into Bay Beach Avenue; park at any of the five side streets leading to Sunset Beach.

Insider tip: Plan your walk for the morning as the wind tends to pick up in the afternoon (Blouberg Great Bay is considered one of the best in the world for kitesurfing and windsurfing), then lunch at Ons Huisie (which means “Our Little House”) in a 19th century whitewashed thatched building that has been serving patrons since the seventies.

Llandudno Beach

Cape Town's only nudist beach is in LlandudnoCape Town's only nudist beach is in Llandudno

Cape Town’s only nudist beach is in Llandudno – Alamy

Playing with Clifton as the prettiest on the Atlantic Coast, Llandudno is dominated by large residences built on steep slopes with no restaurants, shops or bars. They are popular with surfers, dog lovers and Hout Bay hippies. It is not ideal for swimming: there is a rip, as well as a long wade through icy shallow waters.

How to get there: You can catch the 108 or 109 MyCiTi bus to the turn off at the top of Victoria Road but it’s a long and steep walk down to the beach. Given how limited parking is, Uber or taxi is recommended.

Insider tip: For an all-in-one birthday outfit, take the 20-minute drive from Llandudno to Sandy Bay, Cape Town’s only official nudist beach (follow the signs once in Llandudno).


This gorgeous wind-free beach, protected by the boulders of the same name, is home to a colony of endangered African penguins, and is one of the best swimming beaches in the city. Access is controlled (the only one beach other than Buffels on this list requires an entrance fee) and limited numbers. With Boulder recently awarded the second best beach in the world by the BeachAtlas Golden Beach Awards, expect it to be busy.

How to get there: It is best reached by car, it is a little under an hour from the city center. (The Southern Line train stops in Fish Hoek but the shuttle train from here to Simonstown is unreliable, and it’s another 30 minutes’ walk from Simonstown station to Boulders.)

Insider tip: When the day-trippers have left (gates close at 5pm), enjoy the beach in peace by booking a room at the stunning Tintswalo Boulders, just above the Boulders boardwalk, or rent the delightful Baxter House, and walk over to the nearby Water’s. Edge Beach.


Muizenberg is the best place for surfingMuizenberg is the best place for surfing

Muizenberg is the best spot for surfing – Alamy

With shallow water and a consistent gentle break, this is where the city’s water babies learn to surf. Aptly known as Surfers Corner it overlooks several surf shops offering equipment and lessons, with a cluster of laid-back cafes and bar-restaurants. There are colored wooden bathing houses on the beach a little further on.

How to get here: The Southern Line runs regularly between Cape Town station and Fish Hoek; get off at Cois Locha and walk 10 minutes. By car it is about 35 minutes, and there is plenty of parking.

Insider tip: Take a walk on the “Muizenberg/St James Catwalk”, a wheelchair-friendly seafront walkway that connects Surfers Corner with Danger Beach in St James – just a few more minutes on the Main Road, and you’re in charming Chalk Harbor . Stop for a dip at one of the many beautiful tide pools, and watch for whales from June to November.

Long beach

It’s what it says on the label – a wide five-mile long stretch of soft white sand that connects the bottom of Chapmans Peak Drive in Noordhoek with the surf breaks at the seaside village of Kommetjie. The views across to Hout Bay, taken by the mountains, with the Sentinel looming over the ocean, make this one of the most beautiful walking beaches, and the only one that allows horse riding.

How to get there: Although it’s less than an hour from town, you’ll need to drive your own car, book an Uber or visit on a private tour.

Insider tip: With barefoot kids on skateboards and tousled blonde girls carrying surfboards, Kommetjie feels like a remote coastal outpost. The Long Beach is a great full service hotel, located right on the beach, or Taonga is for rent, arguably the best beach house located in Kommetjie.

Windmill Beach

Windmill Beach is one of the best dive sites in Cape TownWindmill Beach is one of the best dive sites in Cape Town

Windmill Beach in Cape Town is a popular diving site – Alamy

Giant bamboo kelp forests, known as the Great African Forest, are responsible for an extraordinary biodiversity of other sea creatures, and Windmill Beach is one of the best snorkeling beaches in Cape Town.

How to get there: Also in Simon’s Town, south of Bollane, find this beach behind the golf course. It can only be reached by car, but note that there is minimal parking.

Insider tip: Explore with an expert – get all the equipment and a top-notch guide company if you book a snorkelling trip with Cape Town Freediving, or get in touch with Rockhopper.

Buffels Bay

Most visitors to the Cape Point Nature Reserve (the southern part of Table Mountain National Park) are in a rush to see the craggy tip of south-west Africa, but there are some excellent beaches – picturesque Diaz is a place to walk, but for swimming. and beautiful views of False Bay, Buffels Bay, on the quieter east side, is on site.

How to get there: You’ll need to drive here in your own car or visit with a guide and private vehicle – Escape+Explore is highly recommended for its enthusiastic, well-trained guides and focus on family fun.

Insider tip: Next to the beach there is a lawn with barbecue and picnic spots – keep an eye out for baboons, and don’t forget to wear hats or bring an umbrella as there is no shade. The coastal path along the rocky shore to Antoniesgat is a wonderful two-hour journey.

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