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Cape Town Beaches - Cape Town Landmarks and Attractions

Cape Town Conferences > Cape Town > Landmarks and Attractions > Cape Town Beaches

Cape Town has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and something to offer everyone. The blend of 2 oceans and hence 2 different styles of beach, divided by a 1000m high peninsula, leaves Cape Town an unrivalled holiday destination.

The west side of the Cape Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, has a very definite style of beach. This is where the more fashionable go to see and be seen, particularly along the Atlantic Seaboard, also known as Cape Town’s "Riviera", which stretches from the V&A Waterfront on the north shore of Table Mountain up as far as Hout Bay and is connected by one of the most picturesque, scenic drives along Victoria Road. Beaches on the west side of the Cape Peninsula enjoy longer sunshine hours, incomparable sunsets and more protection from the wind than the False Bay side of the Cape peninsula. There is a spectacular selection of unspoilt beaches with seas that are usually 3 to 4 degrees colder than the Indian Ocean.

North of the Atlantic Seaboard are the beaches of Table Bay. These sport the picture-postcard views of Cape Town over Table Mountain and Robben Island and tend to be more popular with locals, particularly kitesurfers. Beyond Hout Bay, beaches such as Noordhoek and Scarborough are less frequented but no less beautiful, rather they’re where the locals can get away from the crowds.

The east side of the peninsula, on the warmer Indian Ocean, is generally more laid back and not as frenetic as the Atlantic coastline, although in peak season these family oriented beaches can still become pretty busy. These beaches are favoured by locals who live in the southern suburbs of Cape Town who don’t need to drive far to get to a beach.

The beach at False Bay is a huge arc that curves from the Helderberg beaches on the east side of the bay to Cape Point on the west end. Some argue that the closer beaches are to Cape Point the colder they are but the general rule of thumb for beaches on the Indian Ocean is that they’re three to four degrees warmer than the Atlantic beaches. These are great swimming beaches. Most of them are manned by lifeguards and shallow waters extend quite far out so that swimming and paddling are relatively safe.

anchor bay cape townAnchor Bay has a tiny, little beach from which many sea kayakers embark. It's the promenade that draws people here. This walkway is right near the sea and is a haunt of joggers, walkers, dog walkers and families.

bikini beach cape townBikini Beach is a small beach and one of Cape Town's three Blue Flag Beaches, which means it has a high level of water quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety. It is popular for sunbathing as it is sheltered from the wind. Kogel Bay (or Cool Bay) is just around the corner from Bikini Beach and is essentially a surfers beach, but has a long stretch of white sand and a couple of exciting caves.

bloubergstrand cape townBloubergstrand has some lovely rock pools and the viewpoint from here of the bay and Table Mountain has graced many a postcard.

clifton beach cape townClifton
is an extremely popular hangout for locals and international jet setters - you’re here to be seen and to share space with the latest designer costumes and sunglasses. Clifton has four beaches called 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th beach and has blue flag status, not least because of the turquoise water and white sands. These beaches are Cape Town’s premier beaches, divided by granite boulders and packed with beautiful people in summer.

camps bay cape townCamps Bay just up the road from Clifton, is a long, sandy beach with palm trees and a fantastic promenade lined with trendy restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars. Here Cape Town's fashionable set mingle with visitors to the city against one of the most beautiful backdrops of Lion’s Head and the 12 Apostles. The beach is very popular for sundowners and in hot weather it’s a beach paradise. From Camps Bay you can walk to Glen Beach - a small beach set in a little enclave and great for surfing - and Maiden’s Cove, which is very much a family beach just in front of the Glen Country Club. Bakoven Beach gets a mention because of its natural beauty - big boulders, white sands and a gorgeous setting. But it’s smallish and zealously protected by territorial local residents.

fish hoek cape townFish Hoek beach is very popular with pensioners and families and its calm waters offer plenty of space for games, swimming, walking and exploring. The walkway that hugs the right hand side of the beach makes an enjoyable Sunday afternoon stroll and is a good place for spotting whales that come right into the bay during season. Clovelly Beach adjoins Fish Hoek beach on the far left hand corner of the beach and tends to be used by young surfers.

glencairn beach cape townGlencairn beach is great for swimming and sunbathing or for spotting great whites, which shouldn’t deter you from the waters as there is more chance of being killed by a falling coconut in Thailand than by a shark in South Africa!

godon's bay cape townGordon’s Bay, regarded as one of the safest swimming beaches, has wonderful sheltered rock pools great for exploring and paddling.

hout bay cape townHout Bay is a protected harbour bay great for walks and horse riding with spectacular mountain surrounds and views over the Holland Hottentots Mountains in the distance. The Chapman’s Peak side of the beach is better for sunbathing and swimming is good here as the waves are gentle. Fish and chips are the order of the day and a stroll along the pier to view the fishing boats is a treat, particularly if you can spot the odd Cape Fur seal or whale, during season.

llandudno cape townLlandudno, set in an exclusive neighbourhood, is one of the most photogenic beaches in Cape Town and definitely one of the most beautiful. If you’re not a strong swimmer then settle for a dip as the currents are strong but great for surfers and sunsets here are notorious. Parking can be a bit of a headache but this does mean it doesn’t get too crowded.

long beach cape townLong Beach at Kommetjie is just that, a long, sandy beach very popular with surfers. There is also a large tidal pool here great for swimming and families with some spectacular views.

milnerton beach cape townMilnerton is well known for its lighthouse, which sits virtually on the beach and is great for swimming as, unlike Dolphin beach, it is manned by lifeguards. There are also a number of beach cafes and restaurants here.

misty cliffs cape townMisty Cliffs, situated below a conservation village of the same name, is wonderfully remote with some of the most awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic. Waves here can get notoriously big, so it isn’t really a swimmers paradise and even surfers take along an extra fin. It is popular with locals, divers and those wanting to escape it all.

muizenberg cape townMuizenberg, very popular during its heyday in the '60s and '70s, is where every surfer learns to cut his teeth and one of the most racially integrated beaches in Cape Town. Synonymous with the colourful beach huts that make their way onto picture postcards of Cape Town, this very long beach can get pretty busy during peak season but the waves are not too powerful and there are other facilities here such as put-putt courses and water slides so that it never feels crowded.

sandy bay cape townSandy Bay, a bit of a clamber across the boulders from Llandudno or a walk from the car park, is enclosed by sand dunes and well protected from the wind. It’s Cape Town’s nudist beach and not as busy as the other beaches, possibly because of the walk. But you can escape the crowds here and don’t have to be naked in order to experience the beach.

scarborough beach cape townScarborough Beach is large with plenty of sand for sunbathing, popular with surfers and body boarders and has some beautiful views. Because it’s so far from Cape Town (it's the last residential suburb before Cape Point), it never gets crowded here although it can get busy in summer. When the wind blows, it’s an ideal spot for flying kites and kitesurfing.

st james beach cape townSt James Beach is not very wide or big and it can get rather crowded in summer, but it offers a delightful tidal pool which is great for children. During high tide big waves can break against the tidal pool wall. A similar tidal pool can be found in Kalk Bay (Dalebrook Pool), just a little further down the main road. Danger Bay Beach, nearby, is much quieter and tends to be used by local residents.

strand cape townStrand has a long 5km stretch of white, sandy beach ideal for long walks. Fishing and surfing and wind surfing are very popular here as the waves are quite good. There is also an Olympic sized, centrally heated swimming pool at Strand.

table view cape townTable View has a number of restaurants and venues for sundowners and Dolphin beach is the first of this series of beaches reached from the M14 and is synonymous with kitesurfing.

witsands cape townWitsands, between Kommetjie and Scarborough, is popular with surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers alike. For locals, this is a haven as it’s further from Cape Town and thus not very well known. The beach is big and there are plenty of sand dunes, which contribute to the beauty of the natural surrounds.

onrus beach cape townOnrus Beach, which is adjacent to a warm, calm lagoon, is ideally suited to family outings, where small children can play in the calmer waters of the lagoon, and larger children and adults can brave the waves. This beach is overlooked by the reknowned restaurant, the Milkwood, making an ideal stop to quell hunger pangs. Onrus beach is also a favourite haunt for local surfers, so if you are skilled, or simply looking for a place to test your skills, this would be it.

grotto beach cape townGrotto beach is another local beach that offers excellent facilities in the form of a restaurant play park and well maintained ablution facilities. A favourite with locals and tourists alike, endless stretch of white sand also makes it an excellent location to take the dogs for a walk, something which many a pet owner can be seen taking advantage of. In fact, many of the beaches in Hermanus allow pets and making Hermanus a great choice for families who can’t bear to leave their four legged friends behind.

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