Ultimate Cape Town Beach Guide
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it’s no surprise that people travel from far and wide to experience Cape Town’s beach magic first-hand. Whether you’re looking for a stunning secluded beach escape, long stretch of white sand, something a little cooler and quirkier, the perfect fun-filled family Beach, the ultimate surfing hotspot, or a beautiful beach gem where you can simply sit back, relax, and soak up the glorious Cape Town sunshine, the Mother City has the perfect beach for every beach lover at heart.
We’ve put together the Ultimate Cape Town Beach Guide to ensure you find the ideal beach for you.
It’s ALWAYS surfing time in Cape Town! When it comes to surfing, Cape Town has it down-packed! Not only is Cape Town in a unique position as it offers avid local and international surfers EPIC surf breaks on both sides of Table Mountain, but it doesn’t quite matter which way the wild Mother City wind blows, there’s ALWAYS a great place to surf.
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, coolest waves, and a stunning year-round mild Mediterranean climate, Cape Town has established itself as one of the most highly sought-after global surfing hotspots / destinations for surfers from around the world looking to ride its stellar waves. While others simply can’t resist the pull of the ocean – Who can blame them?!
Regardless of your skill and experience level, whether you’re an avid surfing pro looking for your next big wave to chase or an enthusiastic and excited surfing first timer eager to get out there and give it a go, Cape Town has the perfect wave and surfing beach just for you.
If you’re an experienced adventurous thrill-seeking surfer looking to chase your next big wave, the following epic Cape Town surfing spots will be right up your alley:
- The Dunes at Noordhoek Beach: Experience level: Advanced
- Long Beach in Kommetjie: Experience level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Llandudno Beach: Experience level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Dungeons (one of the world-famous big-wave surf spots): Experience level: Advanced
- Crayfish Factory (between Kommetjie and Scarborough): Experience level: Advanced
If you’re a surfing newbie looking to ride your very first Cape Town wave, the laid-back coastal town of Muizenberg and its famous Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner has you covered.
Muizenberg’s famous Surfer’s Corner is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Cape Town for locals and travelers alike. But, most importantly, it is the best place in Cape Town to learn how to surf – And the best thing is, it welcomes surfers of all ages and skill levels to join in on all the surfing fun and games! Muizenberg’s gentle waves and clean lines can be surfed almost year-round – Making it the ideal Cape Town surfing spot as well as any longboarder’s paradise.
As the sea-side town of Muizenberg embodies Cape Town’s surf’s up culture in every way, it boasts a variety of places where you can rent surf boards, wet suits, and take up surfing lessons. In addition to being one of the coolest surfing spots, Muizenberg Beach is also one of Cape Town’s best blue flag swimming beaches. This means that in addition to being the best place to learn how to surf, it is also the perfect spot to enjoy a fun and blissful beach day with the whole family or your fellow beach loving crew.
Other top Cape Town surfing beaches include:
- Bloubergstrand: Experience level: Intermediate
- Kalk Bay: Experience level: Intermediate
- Big Bay: Experience level: Intermediate
- Glen Beach: Experience level: Intermediate
If kite surfing is more your thing, the West Coast beaches of Milnerton, Bloubergstrand, and Melkbosstrand are hugely popular kite surfing spots, particularly Bloubergstrand, especially when the mighty South Easter is pumping.
**Beaches: Muizenberg Beach & Muizenberg’s famous Surfer’s Corner; West Coast Beaches; Noordhoek; Kommetjie; Llandudno.
#Oh, Hi There Gorgeous!
If you’re on the lookout for drop-dead-gorgeous, beautifully tanned, perfectly toned, ultra-ripped, and seriously shredded local and international beach lovers, some of whom may look like they’ve just strutted straight off the New York Fashion Week runway – Look no further than the glorious Camps Bay and Clifton Beach, especially Clifton 4th beach.
Simply put, if you’re looking for beyond beautiful people – the beyond beautiful beaches of Clifton 4th Beach and Camps Bay is definitely where it’s at!
Situated in one of Cape Town’s most sought-after and affluent suburbs, Clifton’s 4 beaches are arguably some of the best and beautiful (hence its beautiful and breathtaking allure) in the country, if not the world. Referred to as the ‘French Riviera of South Africa’, as well as ranked 2nd on NatGeo’s best beach list, Clifton Beach is at the heart of Cape Town’s vibrant beach scene.
Clifton Beach is made up of 4 beach coves, namely Clifton 1st, Clifton 2nd, Clifton 3rd and Clifton 4th Beach, each separated by giant granite boulders. The stunning Twelve Apostles Mountain Range backdrop, soft white sand, crystal clear water, and cool and captivating vibe that embodies each of Clifton’s four beaches creates the ultimate beach playground for those eager to soak up the Cape Town sunshine, all while enjoying a blissful sun-kissed beach day in Cape Town.
All 4 of Clifton’s beach coves has a personality of its own, each attracting a slightly different crowd of people and beach loving locals and tourists.
Clifton 4th Beach is the biggest and most popular of the four coves. It is most commonly frequented by cool, chic, and trendy beach goers who absolutely love basking in the Cape Town sun, sunbathing, and tanning their toned bodies to tip top perfection. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you see a famous celebrity (or a few) strut on by – Clifton’s 4th beach is THE place to see and be seen and is wildly and widely notorious for epic celebrity sightings.
A stunning Cape Town beach with a great vibe and electric atmosphere, there is no better place to enjoy a fabulous beach day during summer in Cape Town. Clifton 4th also holds Blue Flag status, an international award given to beaches that are clean, safe, offer great amenities, and implement environmentally conscious initiatives.
**Extra insight / tip: In addition to Clifton 4th Beach, Clifton 2nd and 3rd beach also sees and attracts a great deal of traffic / action from a beautiful, cool, hip, hot, and happening younger crowd. In fact, it is deemed the chosen beach hotspot for just about everyone, predominantly a chic crowd of 20- somethings looking to have a great time, soak up the marvelous Mother City beach sunshine, catch a tan, and enjoy every second of the cool Clifton beach vibe.
Located just down the road from Clifton Beach you’ll find the gently curving crescent and pure slice of beautiful beach paradise that is Camps Bay – one of the most (if not THE most) popular and highly sought-after beaches on the Cape coast. Oh boy are you in for a treat as this breathtaking beach stunner attracts an equally breathtaking beach-loving crowd!
Boasting a stunning long stretch of white sand, clear turquoise water, fringing palm trees, a vibrant and trendy strip of restaurants, bars, sunset cocktail and hangout spots (known as the famous Camps Bay Sunset Strip), and a lively energy you absolutely can’t resist, Camps Bay is pure beach perfection.
Perfectly complimented by a picturesque backdrop of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, Lions Head, and the glorious Atlantic Ocean, it’s no surprise that the captivating Camps Bay has established itself as the ultimate Cape Town beach hotspot among locals and tourists alike. Not to mention the fact that the alluring Camps Bay has made its grand debut on countless Instagram feeds, travel bucket-lists, postcards, and travel magazines. With everyone looking to experience just a second of that glorious Camps Bay beach magic!
To top it off, both Camps Bay and Clifton Beach are deemed two of the most magnificent sunset spots in Cape Town. Clifton’s giant granite boulders, and the Camps Bay beachfront and tidal pool are the best spots to watch the spectacular Mother City sun go down.
**Beaches: Clifton Beach, particularly Clifton 4th Beach (as well as its 2nd and 3rd Beach) & Camps Bay.
#Sporty Beach Fun in the Sun
There’s nothing quite like being sun-kissed, salty-haired, and sandy-toed as you sit back, bask in the blissful beach beauty, and soak up the sensational Cape Town sunshine. However, did you know that Capetonians are actually quite an active crowd, and this certainly applies to their beach escapades too!
Let’s be honest, with all that action, how can you possibly resist joining in on all the fun and games as you enjoy some amazing sporty beach fun in the sun? Trust us, you’ll definitely be tempted to get in on the beach action – and we don’t blame you one bit! From beach volleyball, soccer, an eventful game of beach bats, and even some touch rugby with a sandy twist, Capetonians love themselves some good ol’ beach sports.
And where does all this exciting beach sports go down you ask? Well, none other than the captivating Camps Bay Beach. The sheer size of Camps Bay – boasting a stunning long stretch of white sand – means it’s practically made for relishing in all the riveting beach sports of all sorts – Undoubtedly making Camps Bay the center for thrilling beach activities with beach volleyball courts pretty much being a permanent fixture during Cape Town’s summer months. There are even a ton of fun and thrilling tournaments that take place during summer!
Clifton 2nd beach is another popular spot for beach sports in Cape Town, especially among students. Clifton 2nd Beach has firmly established itself as the chosen beach hotspot for just about everyone, predominantly attracting a cool and trendy crowd of 20- somethings looking to have a good time, soak up the glorious Cape Town beach sunshine, catch a tan, and enjoy the ‘lekker’ Clifton beach vibe. Instead of lounging on the beach, the more active beachgoers / beach sport loving crowd can opt to enjoy a day of fun-filled beach volleyball, a game of beach bats, and of course tossing around a frisbee in this secluded cove instead.
Clifton 2nd Beach is known for its more relaxed atmosphere and laid-back vibe compared to the lively and vibrant Camps Bay.
**Beaches: Camps Bay & Clifton 2nd Beach
#Blissful Beach Strolls & Long Beach Walks
There are few things more relaxing, tranquil, and serene than enjoying a blissful beach stroll or lovely long walk on the beach – It truly is food for the soul! As Cape Town is home to a vast array of amazing beaches, many of which are known for their long stretches of white sand, often extending further than the eye can see along the magnificent Cape coastline, you definitely won’t be hard-pressed to find a beautiful beach for a blissful beach stroll in Cape Town.
Some of the best and most picturesque beaches for enjoying relaxing long walks are Noordhoek, Melkbosstrand, Muizenberg, Bloubergstrand, Table View, Milnerton, and Sunset Beach. That’s not all – Hout Bay Beach, Fish Hoek, and the gorgeous Camps Bay Beach are also incredibly popular for enjoying an invigorating early morning walk or glorious sunset stroll – Which is by far our favourite kind of beach stroll. Let’s be honest, a stunning sunset stroll along one of Cape Town’s most breathtaking beaches is truly unparalleled!
**Beaches: Noordhoek; Muizenberg; Melkbosstrand; Bloubergstrand; Table View; Sunset Beach; Milnerton; Camps Bay; Fish Hoek; Hout Bay Beach.
#Fun-Filled Family-Friendly Beaches
The fact that Cape Town is home to such a vast and incredible variety of fantastic beaches means there’s a beach for absolutely EVERYONE! Boasting tons of wonderful family-friendly beaches located all around the Mother City not only gives your kiddos the awesome opportunity to have tons of beach fun in the sun and splash around in the amazing shallow rock pools, but gives you the much-needed peace of mind knowing that your kids are safe and having an absolute ball of a time!
Some of the best family-friendly beaches in Cape Town are Muizenberg Beach – besides sandcastle building, fun beach adventures, and swimming in the cool ocean waters, kids can also learn how to surf at the famous Muizenberg’s Surfers Corner – how exciting is that?. Other great family-beaches include Hout Bay Beach, Fish Hoek, Llandudno, Oudekraal Beach, the iconic Boulders Beach and its famous African Penguin Colony, Camps Bay, and Clifton Beach which holds Blue Flag status, an international award given to beaches that are clean, safe, offer great amenities, and implement environmentally conscious initiatives.
Wait! There’s more! Cape Town’s West Coast is also home to an incredible variety of great family-friendly beaches, some of which include Bloubergstrand, Big Bay, Table View, and Melkbosstrand.
**Beaches: Muizenberg Beach; Oudekraal Beach; Boulders Beach; Hout Bay; Fish Hoek; Llandudno; Camps Bay; Clifton Beach; Bloubergstrand; Big Bay; Table View; Melkbosstrand.
#Stunning Beach Sunsets
There is no denying that the Mother City is pure sunset bliss. Known for her stunning sherbet coloured sunsets that set the sky alight in a beautiful celebration of colours, Cape Town boasts some seriously spectacular sunset spots and beachy sunset gems, all of which you should add to your Cape Town bucket-list right away – Especially if you’re a head-over-heels sunset lover.
Are you ready to admire and experience some of the most sensational beach sunsets in the world? Let’s do it!
Some of the top beaches to watch the glorious Mother City sun set over the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain, the beautiful city of Cape Town and beyond are Bloubergstrand (one of our personal favourites as it showcases the very best view of Table Mountain in the entire Mother City), Llandudno Beach (particularly from its giant granite boulders), Camps Bay (especially the Camps Bay beachfront and Camps Bay tidal pool), Clifton Beach, Diaz Beach in Cape Point, Sunset Beach, Boulders Beach, Glen Beach, Beta Beach, Hout Bay, and Noordhoek Beach. And that’s merely scratching the beach sunset surface!
Cape Town sunsets are notorious for their breathtaking beauty, which means watching the sun go down from just about anywhere in Cape Town is bound to be unforgettable.
**Beaches: Bloubergstrand; Llandudno Beach; Camps Bay; Camps Bay Tidal Pool; Clifton Beach; Sunset Beach; Boulders Beach; Diaz Beach; Glen Beach; Beta Beach; Hout Bay; Noordhoek.
Check out our ‘Best Sunset Spots in Cape Town’ blog for more amazing Cape Town sunset spots. Alternatively, if you’re up for a bit of an adventure, our ‘Top 5 Secret Sunset Spots in Cape Town’ blog is perfect for you – Trust us, you definitely won’t regret it one bit!
#Escape the Beach Crowds
Are you eager to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and escape the large holiday beach crowds? No problem! One idyllic beach escape or secluded beach hideaway coming right up! During Cape Town’s peak summer holiday season, huge crowds of locals, tourists, and travelers flock to Cape Town’s most popular beaches to enjoy a fabulous day of sunbathing, soaking up the summer sunshine, and taking a refreshing and invigorating dip in the cool ocean waters.
However, besides Cape Town’s world-renowned beach stunners and wildly popular beach hotspots, the Mother City boasts several stunning beach hideaways, secluded sandy escapes, and hidden beach gems, ideal for escaping the huge beachgoing crowds. Although these amazing beaches are not fully immune to crowds, they certainly offer local and international beach lovers a more peaceful, tranquil, and relaxed beach experience.
Some of the best secluded and serene beaches in Cape Town include, Scarborough, Kommetjie, Llandudno, and Bakoven Beach – All of which are beloved local beach favourites.
**Beaches: Kommetjie; Scarborough; Llandudno; Bakoven Beach.
#Marine Life & Animal Sightings + Beach & Ocean Adventures
While Cape Town’s abundance of beautiful beaches are best known for their picturesque surroundings, endless stretches of white sand, exhilarating beach adventures, activities, and experiences, spectacular sunsets, and so much more, they also offer something for animal and marine life lovers.
Located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Cape Town, along the vibrant False Bay coastline, just beyond the naval base in Simon’s Town, the cool, quirky, and charismatic Boulders Beach and its remarkable colony of African Penguins has captured the hearts of beach lovers from all around the world. Boasting large granite boulders, a stunning swimming bay, rockpools, and a spectacular backdrop, it will almost feel like you’ve escaped to your own little piece of beach paradise.
What makes a visit to Boulders Beach extra special is it’s cute and charismatic colony of African Penguins that have claimed the beloved Boulders Beach as their own. Home to a thriving population of African Penguins, Boulders Beach and its African Penguin Viewing Site, is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with these magnificent tuxedo ocean locals. This undoubtedly makes visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach a bucket-list worthy experience in every way and something absolutely everyone who travels to Cape Town should experience at least once in their lives.
Besides seeing the African Penguins from the iconic African Penguin Viewing Site, you can enjoy a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as swimming, kayaking or even enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side. It’s no surprise that this stunning sheltered beach is among the most visited and sought-after beaches in Cape Town.
**Note: Visitors will need to pay an entrance fee (which forms part of a conservation project) to gain access to the African Penguin Viewing Site and Boulders Beach. Your ticket is valid for the entire day. You can choose to exit and re-enter as it suits you (this only applies to the day your ticket was purchased).
**Visit the SANParks website for more information regarding Boulders Beach’s Conservation Fees.
Between June and December, whales can be seen frolicking in the water off of the Cape Coast, especially in False Bay where they come to mate every year. While these big ocean beauties can be spotted from several beaches around the Cape Peninsula, False Bay’s Kalk Bay Beach and St James Beach are by far the best beaches to spot and witness these spectacular ocean giants play around and splash about – It truly is a magnificent sight to behold!
Closer to the CBD, Cape Town’s famous dassies can often be seen foraging in the foliage around the more secluded beaches like Bakoven and Oudekraal Beach at the back of Table Mountain.
Going snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals is a particularly popular adventure experience in Cape Town. The famous Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island, in Hout Bay is home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals. If you’re up for an exhilarating ocean adventure, Hout Bay’s Duiker Island is the ultimate destination to go snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals. These spirited ocean beings are known to be incredibly inquisitive, playful, and interactive with divers – Undoubtedly making snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals an unforgettable bucket-list ocean adventure absolutely everyone should get to experience.
**Beaches: Boulders Beach; St James Beach; Kalk Bay; Oudekraal Beach; Bakoven Beach; Hout Bay (Duiker Island).
#Best Blue-Flag Beaches
Blue Flag is a status given by the Blue Flag Organisation to beaches that adhere to a certain standard of safety, cleanliness, amenities, and environmental standards.
Here is a list of all of Cape Town & the Western Cape’s top Blue-Flag Beaches of 2022 / 2023:
- Silwerstroomstrand – City of Cape Town
- Clifton 4th – City of Cape Town
- Camps Bay – City of Cape Town
- Llandudno – City of Cape Town
- Muizenberg – City of Cape Town
- Strandfontein – City of Cape Town
- Mnandi – City of Cape Town
- Bikini Beach – City of Cape Town
- Melkbosstrand – City of Cape Town
- FishHoek – City of Cape Town
- Kleinmond – Overstrand
- Hawston – Overstrand
- Grotto – Overstrand
- Castle beach – Overstrand
- Onrus – Overstrand
- Struisbaai – Cape Agulhas
- Witsand – Hessequa
- Preekstoel – Hessequa
- Lappiesbaai – Hessequa
- Jongensfontein – Hessequa
- Gouritzmond – Hessequa
- Stilbaai Wes – Hessequa
- De Bakke – Mossel Bay
- Hartenbos – Mossel Bay
- Klein Brak – Mossel Bay
- Santos – Mossel Bay
- Glentana – Mossel Bay
- Wilderness – Garden Route District and George Municipality
- Brenton-on-Sea – Knysna
- Buffalo Bay – Knysna
- Robberg 5 – Bitou
- The Waves – Keurboomstrand – Bitou
- Nature’s Valley – Bitou
- Lookout – Bitou
- The Dunes – Bitou
- Singing Kettle – Bitou