11 Best Cape Town Beaches: The Ultimate Guide 2023
LOOKING FOR THE BEST BEACHES IN CAPE TOWN?
With almost 200 miles of coastline, you can expect that Cape Town has some pretty amazing beaches. There are beaches for sunrise, beaches for sunset, beaches for water sports, party beaches, family beaches, and secret beaches.
Whatever kind of vibe you are looking for, you will find a beach in Cape Town that has it.
11 Best Cape Town Beaches
Here are 11 of the best beaches around Cape Town, the Mother City; they range from long stretches perfect for picnics to rocky coves where you can spot penguins waddling through waves at low tide:
1. Muizenberg Beach
Located in the laid-back southern suburb of Muizenberg, this popular beach attracts swimmers and sports enthusiasts alike. On any sunny day, you will see surfers, swimmers, families, and a variety of people enjoying all that Muizenberg has to offer.
Home to the well-known Surfer’s Corner, Muizenberg Beach is probably the first place you think of when you want to learn to surf in Cape Town.
There are a variety of other water sports that you can try as well, such as SUP, kite surfing, and Foil Boarding. Most of the shops and cafes on the beachfront rent out equipment, as well as offer lessons, so you won’t have a difficult time finding something to do.
If you are more in the mood for a simple swim, then you’re in luck. Muizenberg Beach is located on False Bay, part of the Indian Ocean, which means that the water is one of the warmest that you will find in all of Cape Town.
If you would rather lounge on the beach, you can enjoy the scenery with some amazing views of False Bay and Muizenberg peak.
A trip to Muizenberg Beach isn’t complete without a photo in front of the iconic Muizenberg Beach huts. There are plenty of local restaurants along the beachfront, as well as a mini-golf course and a waterslide.
If you happen to be there on a Sunday, make sure to check out the buzzing flea market about 10 minutes walk down the beach, where you will find a unique variety of food, clothing, and nearly anything you can think of.
2. Camps Bay Beach
Situated at the foot of the Twelve Apostles and with some incredible views of Lion’s Head, Camps Bay is understandably one of the more high-end suburbs in Cape Town. Fortunately, the beaches in Camps Bay are open to the public so that everyone can get a taste of the beauty.
Camps Bay Beach faces West, which makes for some incredible sunsets. The water on the Atlantic Seaboard is notoriously cold, so be prepared if you decide to take a dip.
There are many trendy restaurants and cocktail bars next to the beach that you can visit when you need a break from the sun and sand. Camps Bay also has a unique and vibing nightlife scene as well, so don’t feel like the fun is over after the sun goes down.
3. Clifton Beaches 1-4
The Clifton Beaches are a set of four trendy white sand beaches in Cape Town separated by granite boulders and located on the Atlantic Ocean below Lion’s Head. This is also where you’ll find some of the most expensive real estate in South Africa.
Because they are nestled into a little cove, the Clifton Beaches aren’t as exposed to the notorious Cape Town winds.
Each cove has its own unique personality and all are equally breathtaking. Clifton 1 is usually calmer and may have some locals walking their dogs or surfers catching waves. Clifton 2 often appeals to a younger crowd.
Clifton 3, which is also the smallest beach, has been known for LGBTQ culture. Clifton 4 is the largest and most popular of the beaches, attracting a mix of every kind of person. Clifton 4 is also the only Clifton beach to be awarded Blue Flag status, an award for cleanliness, safety, and amenities.
In order to reach the Clifton Beaches, you will need to climb down some steep stairs between the houses.
You will often find vendors selling drinks on a busy day, but there are not many shops nearby, so it is best to bring your own snacks with you. Parking can be scarce on the weekends or in summer, but you can always take the MyCiti bus from surrounding areas to reach the Clifton Beach entrance.
4. Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach makes the list because it features something that most beaches in Cape Town (or the world) can’t compete with – penguins! This white sand beach located in Simon’s Town has a colony of approximately 2,000-3,000 African Penguins that have made the little cove their home.
The entrance fee to get into the main beach is around $10, but you can also usually see a few penguins from the boardwalk through the dunes for free.
Although you might want to capture that perfect photo of the penguins up close, it is important to respect the rules and maintain a safe distance at all times.
While you enjoy the magnificent cuteness of these little birds, you can also go for a swim, climb the boulders, or just lay back in the soft sand and admire the stunning scenery of False Bay. It is definitely worth the trip.
There are several restaurants near Boulders Beach, as well as many cute cafes on the main road in Simon’s Town.
Note: If you’re driving yourself, you can make your Boulder’s Beach trip into a day trip to the nearby Cape Point and see the most Southwestern tip of Africa.
If you want that iconic view of the Table Mountain silhouette across Table Bay, then Blouberg is the place to go.
Blouberg is located along the Western Seaboard, roughly 20-30 minutes drive from the city center. There are several beaches in this part of Cape Town that are worth exploring, depending on what you’re looking for.
Despite the cold water, this area offers some amazing views and epic beach activities, like windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you want to try out some water sports, check out Bloubergstrand Beachfront in Table View, which is the most convenient for equipment rentals.
There are also a number of trendy restaurants nearby, so you can grab a drink and a bite to eat after your day on the water.
If you are feeling more of a “lost in nature” kind of vibe, then pack some snacks and head a few minutes farther up the coast to Big Bay Beach, where you will see very few buildings as you drive past countless dunes.
6. Llandudno Beach
Another incredibly picturesque beach that is worth a visit is Llandudno Beach, nestled next to one of the most scenic drives in Cape Town.
With sparkling white sand, a lush mountain backdrop, and glassy waves, Llandudno attracts both surfers and beachgoers alike. Although the water is quite cold here, it is the perfect setting to chill out on the sand and watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
It is advised that you bring your own snacks and drinks since Llandudno is not near any restaurants or shops.
Note: If you’re looking for a clothing-optional beach, head next door to Sandy Bay, one of Cape Town’s only nudist beaches.
7. Diaz Beach
One of the most pristine and secluded beaches in Cape Town, Diaz Beach will make those who visit feel like true explorers of the past.
Diaz Beach is nestled in between Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, about an hour’s drive from the city center. Those willing to brave the 20-minute walk down a steep staircase will be greeted with untouched white sands, sandstone cliffs, and some of the bluest waters in Cape Town.
Because of its off-the-beaten-track location, Diaz Beach tends to be pretty quiet, especially during the winter months. Visitors also have the chance to see some local wildlife, such as ostriches, dassies, and even baboons.
Tips For Visiting Diaz Beach
✔ Remember the entrance fee.
Diaz Beach is located in the Cape Point National Park, so be prepared to pay the entrance fee of around $20 to enter the park. However, you can also combine this beach trip with some sightseeing and visit the other landmarks in the area like the Cape Point lighthouse.
✔ Bring warm clothes.
Keep in mind that the weather near Cape Point changes very quickly, so it is always good to bring warm clothes in case the wind picks up.
✔ Don’t swim here.
Swimming is not advisable here because of the strong currents and cold water.
✔ Put away your food.
Make sure to keep your food and drinks out of sight, as there are hungry baboons wandering around.
This beach is absolutely worth exploring if you find yourself on the Southern Peninsula. After you’ve soaked up enough of the stunning nature, be sure to head over to Boulders Beach in Simonstown to see the penguins.
8. Long Beach
True to its name, Long Beach is one of Cape Town’s longest beaches, measuring at close to 5 miles of sand and seashells. Although the water is a bit chilly here, it is perfect for long walks, sunset views, and great waves for more advanced surfers.
Long Beach is located down the peninsula in Kommetjie, roughly 40 minutes from the city center, but it is well worth it. There are many places to park and explore, but we recommend parking at Noordhoek Beach and going from there.
In the neighborhood closest to the beach, you can find quite a few cozy little restaurants hidden among the trees. One local favorite, Thorfynn’s Restaurant, offers an epic ambiance, great food, live music, and a stunning view of the sea peeking out from between the massive trees.
9. Sea Point Promenade and Beach
Although not as idyllic as many of the other beaches around Cape Town, Sea Point and its surrounding beaches make for a very fun experience.
Sea Point’s most famous landmark is the Sea Point Promenade, a path that stretches nearly 7 miles along the beachfront. This walk is a favorite amongst locals and tourists because of the range of activities available along the promenade.
There is a massive park, several playgrounds, a dog park, multiple art exhibits stationed along the walk, and many places to sit and enjoy the view. Bicycles are also available for rent if you would like to explore the promenade more quickly.
If the weather and wind conditions are just right, you might be lucky to see paragliders jumping from Signal Hill and floating down to the promenade.
The beaches themselves are somewhat hidden behind the promenade, but you can find them easily by following any staircase you see leading down towards the water. Though they might be a bit too cold to swim in, the beaches have interesting rock pools to explore and lovely sunset spots.
If you get hungry while you’re on the Sea Point promenade, you have plenty of options. There are many delicious street food stalls close to Broken Bath Beach on the far end of the promenade.
If you’re in the mood for a more formal setting to sit down and enjoy the view, you can find many chic restaurants just across from the promenade on Beach Road. There are also loads of options on Main Road, just a few blocks up from the beach, where you can find almost anything that your heart desires.
10. Smitswinkel Bay
One of the least known yet incredibly stunning beaches in the Cape Town area is Smitswinkel Bay. This somewhat remote and hidden beach is located South of Simon’s Town and is the last beach in False Bay before Cape Point.
With very little cellphone reception and only accessible by foot, this little haven will make you feel like you have gone back in time. There are only a few houses here and little to no electricity, but this just adds to the magical aesthetic.
Before the footpath was created, Smitswinkel Bay was only accessible by boat. This gives you a sense of how remote this beach is.
If you want to make an effort to visit Smitswinkel Bay, make sure to pack enough food and water for the entire day, as well as anything else you might need. Wear walking shoes since you will have to hike down the steep footpath for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once you reach Smits, as called by the locals, you can either go for a swim in the crystal clear water or just relax and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding green cliffs. Smits is also quite popular as a diving spot since there are several shipwrecks nearby that are worth exploring.
It is best to visit this secluded little beach during the low tide when you have the most space on the beach. Make sure to reserve enough time and energy for the hike back up the hill to your car.
11. Oudekraal Beach
Although it often seems to be overlooked in favor of the popular Llandudno and Bakoven Beaches that are nearby, Oudekraal Beach is a hidden gem that is perfect for a day trip.
Oudekraal Beach is located on the scenic drive between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, which offers captivating views of the coastline and the Twelve Apostles. Not only does this little cove offer nice, sandy beaches enclosed by large granite boulders, but it also has a grassy park area and braai facilities.
A trip to South Africa isn’t complete without experiencing at least one braai (a traditional South African barbecue), and Oudekraal is one of the few beaches in Cape Town that allows you to braai on the actual beach. You can eat a freshly grilled boerewors roll while dipping your toes in the water.
Oudekraal Beach is also a popular place for snorkeling and diving due to its many kelp forests. If you decide to take a dip, bring a wetsuit or be prepared for some chilly waters.
Note: There is an entrance fee to visit Oudekraal Beach that averages around $10 per person. Make sure to pack enough food and drinks for the day, as well as any supplies you need for the braai (charcoal, plates, etc).
BONUS! Cape Town Tidal Pools
A list of Cape Town beaches would not be complete without mentioning some of the incredible tidal pools located around the city.
These man-made pools built on rocky shorelines fill with saltwater during high tide and then create serene little swimming areas that are perfect if you don’t feel like fighting the waves.
There are quite a few of these little havens hidden around the city, but the most notable ones are:
Dalebrook Tidal Pool
Dalebrook Tidal Pool in Kalk Bay is located just below the train tracks along False Bay. Take the subway entrance directly across from Dalebrook Cafe.
St. James Beach and Tidal Pool
St James Beach and Tidal Pool, in St James. You can either enter from the subway entrance next to Folk Cafe or enjoy the 30-minute walk from Muizenberg along the Muizenberg-St James Catwalk.
Maiden’s Cove in Camps Bay
Another tidal pool in Cape Town is Maiden’s Cove. This beautiful cove has clear blue water that spreads into an enclosed bay. This is where waves collide, creating white-tipped crests against rocks along both sides of this natural pool.
This is the perfect place in Cape Town to relax after a long day of work and soak in the ocean views.
Camps Bay Tidal Pool in Camps Bay
Camps Bay Tidal Pool is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Its turquoise waters are calm, clear, and idyllic.
The area around it has some of Cape Town’s most beautiful cliff views as well as many restaurants with outdoor seating to enjoy them while sipping wine or a cold beer after your swim.
Are There Any Private Beaches In Cape Town?
Although there are technically no privately owned beaches in Cape Town, there are a few that will require an entrance fee if they are located within a national park.
Are Beaches Safe In Cape Town?
Yes, the beaches in Cape Town are safe.
Visiting the beach is a favorite pastime for locals and tourists alike, and thousands of families flock to the beach every weekend in Cape Town. However, just like any other destination, there are a few things to consider when you go.
👉 First, be aware of your surroundings. It’s unlikely that you will find yourself completely alone on a beach, but if you do, just be aware of your possessions and try not to wander too far away from other people.
👉 Second, there are sharks in the waters around Cape Town. Although there haven’t been many shark attacks in recent years, it is always something to consider. There are quite a few beaches, including Muizenberg Beach, with full-time shark spotting posts that will sound a siren if a shark has been spotted.
👉 Third, pay attention to the signs posted at the beaches that you visit. Some areas have strong undercurrents and are not suitable for swimming. Follow the signs!
You can read more about safety in Cape Town in our deep-dive look into whether Cape Town is dangerous.
Is The Sea Cold In Cape Town?
Yes, the sea is cold in Cape Town. However, not all of Cape Town’s beaches are equally cold.
The Western side of the Cape Peninsula is surrounded by the frigid Atlantic Ocean, so expect to find some pretty icy water if visiting a beach on this side.
The beaches located in False Bay, on the other hand, are much warmer and are suitable for swimming. Although you won’t get the warm bath waters of Durban or Mozambique, False Bay can reach up to almost 70º F during the summer and is very pleasant.
Extra Tips for Visiting the Beaches in Cape Town
🔴 Always wear sunscreen, even on cold days. The sun in South Africa is very powerful and you might not even realize that you are getting sunburned until it is too late.
🔴. Don’t leave your belongings unattended while you’re at the beach. Although this is the case for many beaches around the world, it seems to be especially important in Cape Town. Either take turns swimming in the water or try to ask a nearby family to watch your things for you.
🔴. Be aware of your surroundings if you are on the beach by yourself. Some of the more isolated beaches have had past reports of theft. Although it doesn’t happen often, it does happen.
🔴. Drinking in public is not legal in Cape Town; however many locals do it discreetly. If you want to bring your bottle of wine for sunset on the beach, do so at your own risk. And always make sure to properly throw away any trash you bring onto the beach.
The Wrap-Up: Best Beaches In Cape Town, South Africa
Experience the pure beauty of pristine beaches all around Cape Town. Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, and no trip to South Africa would be complete without a visit to these amazing beaches with the most breathtaking coastal landscapes.
Although they might not have the same balmy ocean waters of a tropical beach, the beaches in Cape Town are definitely worth exploring.
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