The Best Secret Beaches in Cape Town

The Best Secret Beaches in Cape Town

Image credit: Vicky Miller

Don't fancy sharing your patch of sand with hundreds of other sunseekers? Check out our pick of lesser trodden beaches, tipped by those in the know.

With temperatures set to soar for the next few months, we thought it was time to reveal a few secret beaches – stunning stretches of honeyed sand or cool coves that remain uncrowded even on a sunny weekend in December. You might want to pack a picnic (and wear some comfortable shoes to get there), but the reward will be your very own patch of beach (and the soothing soundtrack of gently lapping waves). Paradise is a road trip away…

1. Platboom

Hidden Beach – Platboom
Image credit: Cabrinha Europe

Cape Point offers a fine selection of secluded, largely secret beaches (as you will see from our list) – but Platboom (Afrikaans for flat tree) is certainly our best pick, as it’s possibly the wildest, most unspoilt beach in the entire region.
Access runs past Dias Cross, though previous visitors recommend the north-south hike from Gifkommetjie (a 4km route).
With coastal views, and surrounding vegetation and fauna (including the occasional ostrich and baboon), the white expanses of sand are largely deserted, making this one of Cape Town’s most unique and unchartered beaches.
Why we love it There are chalk-white sand dunes and some rocky outcrops to explore, and it’s equally ideal for long, undisturbed strolls along the amazing coastline.
Secret pleasures It’s great for kite- and windsurfing, as it is very exposed – though these outdoor activities are really just for the pros. Due to its seclusion, swimming is not especially recommended, though you can certainly dip your feet into these pristine Atlantic waters!
It’s perfect for: birdwatching, photography, beach strolls and picnicking – just don’t feed Cape Point’s famous Chacma baboons.
Best time to visit during opening hours: 6am – 6pm (October to March); 7am – 5pm (April – September). Although the nature reserve is open throughout the year, spring and summertime are certainly our picks for the fairer weather.
Cost Cape Point Nature Reserve tariff: R135 (adults); R70 (children).
Where it’s hidden some 4.9km from the heart of Cape Point Nature Reserve.
Contact 021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

2. Diaz Beach

Secret Beach – Diaz
Image credit: Pinterest

One of Cape Point’s more famous beaches (though still definitely a secret unlocked by only a select few of the reserve’s numerous daily visitors), Diaz Beach makes for a truly unforgettable experience. Oh, and did we mention that it’s one of Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches, too?
Perhaps the reason Diaz remains largely undisturbed is because of the 20-minute walk from the parking lot down a rather steep set of wooden stairs. But for the stunning views alone, it’s undoubtedly worth it, as Diaz will render you breathless in the best possible way!
Why we love it It makes you feel truly alive, as you stand on its unspoilt shoreline and gaze at the crashing waves, towering cliff faces and unrivalled beauty. It is literally situated at the tip of Cape Point (on the western side) and is encircled by dramatic cliffs and wild waves.
Secret pleasures For the brave surfers and bodyboarders among us, you’ll love tackling its hollow barrels. However, swimming can be very risky here, due to the strong currents, so rather just wet your feet.
Best time to visit during opening hours: 6am – 6pm (October to March); 7am – 5pm (April – September). Try arrive early to make the most of your time and avoid the wind.
Cost Cape Point Nature Reserve tariff: R135 (adults); R70 (children).
Where it’s hidden A steep walk down from the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
Contact 021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

3. Preekstoel

Hidden Beach – Preekstoel
Image credit: Tanya Michelle

The West Coast is a land of flourishing fynbos reserves, peaceful fishing villages and pristine beaches, including this 25km stretch of sandy coastline near the Langebaan Lagoon. The beach is named for the preekstoel (preacher’s pulpit in Afrikaans), a rock formation that juts out of the sand at the point where it touches the water, providing convenient shelter for those frolicking in the shallows below.
Why we love it for the long stretch of sandy coastline, pressed up against rugged cliff faces. There’s even a rusted shipwreck to add to the mystique.
Secret pleasures The warm waters are suitable for swimming, snorkelling and fishing, and the length of the beach makes it ideal for a long walk. Though braaing on the beach is not permitted, there is a braai area and picnic spot next to the Langebaan Lagoon.
Best time to visit Spring, when the West Coast comes alive with colourful wild flowers.
Cost West Coast National Park tariff: R50 – R70 (adults, depending on season) ; R25 – R35 (children, depending on season)
Where it’s hidden West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.
Contact 022 772 2144, moipone.thathane@sanparks.org or reservations@sanparks.org,
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

4. Olifantsbos Beach

Secret Beach – Olifantsbos
Image credit: Ellie Shepley

This small, sandy beach in the Cape Point Nature Reserve is edged by wild, natural fynbos, and its stretch of coastline offers you the chance to discover at least three shipwrecks, which bear testament to the ferocity of the infamous Cape of Storms.
It is also a marine protected area and has a nearby shallow lagoon, which draws wonderful coastal birdlife to the area.
Why we love it Not only is it one of Cape Point’s best-kept secrets, it even has its own secluded guesthouse – a little, self-catering cottage nestled at the foot of a rocky outcrop and overlooking the peaceful, windswept beach. (Booking in advance is advisable.)
Secret pleasures Great birdwatching (and sometimes the occasional bontebok sighting too), several well-marked hiking trails (including the Shipwreck and Sirkelsvlei Hikes), and delightful beach walks along its pristine shoreline. Surfing is also great here, especially when there’s an incoming tide and the southeaster blows.
Best time to visit during opening hours: 6am – 6pm (October to March); 7am – 5pm (April – September)
Cost Cape Point Nature Reserve tariff: R135 (adults); R70 (children)
Where it’s hidden the first turn-off after the Cape Point Nature Reserve entrance on the reserve’s western side.
Contact 021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

5. Dalebrook

Hidden Beaches Cape Town – Dalebrook
Image credit: Ed Babb

Kalk Bay’s tidal pools are a popular attraction, but not all visitors to the sleepy seaside village have discovered Dalebrook Pool, and those that have are reluctant to share it.
Why we love it The pool is maintained by the City Council, which combined with the natural barracuda effect provided by the waves, produces a particularly clean swimming area (as well as a secluded one, since the popular St James Tidal Pool tends to draw most of the crowds).
Secret pleasures The tidal pools are enclosed by man-made cement walls, which are still low enough to allow the occasional wave to break over, gently buffeting the pool’s occupants and making for a particularly enjoyable yet safe swimming experience.
Best time to visit Those who prefer warmer water will want to visit during the summer, though an icy dip during the winter can be quite invigorating.
Cost Free
Where it’s hidden Off Kalk Bay Main Road, opposite Dalebrook Road. A small subway goes under the railway line, providing easy access to the pool.
Contact viv@scenicsouth.co.za
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

6. Smitswinkel

Hidden Beaches Cape Town – Smitswinkel
Image credit: Pierre S

This secret bay brings to mind stories of intrepid adventurers exploring newly discovered shores, scribbling notes in their journal, as they emerge from the foliage to find a hidden cove. To say that the beach is secluded would be an understatement. The only way to reach it is via a 15 to 20-minute hike down the trail from the surrounding cliffs – or by boat.
Why we love it The spectacular views of the bay, and the fact that most visitors are content to enjoy the views from the road above, rather than follow the trail all the way down to the beach (if they even know there’s a trail at all). It goes without saying that you’re unlikely to encounter crowds here. The few holiday homes there are don’t even have electricity.
Secret pleasures The calm and clear waters are suitable for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Divers will enjoy exploring the remains of several ships that were scuttled in the bay, creating an artificial coral reef where numerous underwater creatures have made their home.
Best time to visit The beach lies off the beaten track and, as such, is ungoverned by rules and regulations. Of course, the downside is the lack of lifeguards, so you’ll want to visit during daylight hours when you have clear line of vision, especially taking into account the short hike required to reach the beach.
Important note As mentioned above, there are no lifeguards on duty here, nor any of the other facilities you’d expect to find at tourist-oriented beaches. Also bear in mind that any gear you bring with will have to be carried down the trail, so travel light.
Cost Free
Where it’s hidden Next to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, around 20 minutes from Simon’s Town. The trail leading down to the beach is marked by small signposts.
Contact 021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

7. Maclear Beach

Beaches Cape Town – Maclear
Image credit: Natalie Soares

This quiet, isolated beach is yet another Cape Point gem, reached by following one or two fynbos-lined footpaths. Considered one of the most secluded beaches around, it lies just off the Cape of Good Hope, meaning it literally sits pretty near Africa’s most southwesterly point.
Why we love it The views are truly spectacular and it’s no wonder that years ago, Irish-born South African astronomer, Sir Thomas Maclear (after whom the beach is named), used to bundle his family into the horse-and-cart on Sunday mornings and travel all the way from Observatory just to picnic there.
Secret pleasures Picnicking, exploring rock pools, excellent diving, as well as crayfish, yellowtail and other kinds of fishing.
Best time to visit during opening hours: 6am – 6pm (October to March); 7am – 5pm (April – September), as well as spring low tide when the rockpools are at their best and there’s more beach to enjoy. There is also ample parking nearby, making it more accessible than Cape Point’s other beaches.
Cost Cape Point Nature Reserve tariff: R135 (adults); R70 (children)
Where it’s hidden close to the Cape of Good Hope, in the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
Contact 021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

8. Water’s Edge

Cape Town Beaches – Water's Edge
Image credit: Christoph

Off the beaten track, this one is considered something of a local secret in Simon’s Town.
Found at the end of paved pathway – running from the Seaforth Beach parking lot and past the back of Seaforth Restaurant – this beach offers a delightful, secluded bay, stunning views and a largely private day at the beach in one of Cape Town’s most popular seaside locations.
Why we love it It has the added benefit of lying between Seaforth and Boulders Beaches, which famously draw the crowds, yet it remains relatively undiscovered… In fact, most people don’t even know it exists! It is also a haven for children, making it a family-friendly option.
Secret pleasures largely untouched rockpools – inhabited by starfish, sea anemones, molluscs and other interesting sea creatures – as well as a pretty, sheltered bay, complete with shade-providing trees and awesome granite boulders. If you’re lucky, you might spot some penguins too. It makes for wonderful picnicking, swimming, diving and snorkelling, with great exploration fun and castle-building opportunities for the little ones.
Best time to visit during the day whenever the weather is best (or the other False Bay beaches are too crowded).
Cost Free
Where it’s hidden between Seaforth and Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.
Contact 021 786 8440, simonstown@capetown.travel
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

9. Windmill Beach

Windmill Beach Simon's Town
Image credit: Sally Sivewright

The lesser-known sibling of Boulders Beach, and similar in appearance, this spot is tucked away behind the golf course in Simon’s Town, surrounded by granite boulders that make for a conveniently sheltered swimming area.
Why we love it A colourful array of sea life dwells among the rocks, and since it’s around the corner from the penguin colony, you’re bound to see some visitors of the flippered variety. The water is shallow and sheltered by the boulders, making for a safe swimming area that kids love, especially if a few penguins happen to flop by.
Secret pleasures Great for swimming, snorkeling and picnicking. Since the reef contains such a diversity of sea life, it’s a popular diving spot, and especially ideal for novice divers due to the protected nature of the cove. Dogs are also welcome.
Best time to visit On a calm day, when there’s no swell. Winter is best as the swell is usually low. The site is relatively sheltered from the wind but can get rough when there’s a southeaster.
Important note There are no lifeguards or shark spotters on duty, and facilities are minimal. There’s a fresh-water shower, changing rooms and public toilets (though they’re not in the best condition).
Cost Free
Where it’s hidden Simon’s Town, behind the golf course. Accessed via Bellevue Road. Parking is available at Links Crescent, which is your first right after the golf course.
Contact 021 786 8440, simonstown@capetown.travel
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

10. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach Western Cape
Image credit: Jacobo

If you fancy sunsets and long walks on the beach, get them both – along with a view of Table Mountain that’s ready-made for postcards.
Why we love it It’s a lesser known alternative to Melkbos and Blouberg, free from the holiday hordes. It also offers some of the best views to be had from any beach in the Cape, with Table Mountain and Robben Island as the backdrop.
Secret pleasures Picnicking, sunbathing, swimming and bodyboarding. It’s also rated as the third best windsurfing spot in the world, after Hawaii and New Zealand.
Best time to visit As the name suggests, you’ll want to be here during late afternoon, so you can enjoy the spectacular sunsets.
Cost Free
Where it’s hidden Blaauwberg
Contact 021 550 1111
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

You’ll also find peace and quiet at…

Gifkommetjie Beach (Cape Point)
Frank’s Bay (aka Froggy Pond, Simon’s Town)
Fisherman’s Beach (Simon’s Town)
Witsands (Scarborough)
Beta Beach (Bakoven)

Research: Tamlyn Ryan, Alicia Chamaille and Matthew Flax

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 12 December 2016

32 Responses to “The Best Secret Beaches in Cape Town”

  1. Barend

    If you want to visit Cape Point or any Park under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Board or Cape Nature on a regular basis, consider buying a Wild Card. Then you get free access for day visits

    It seems expensive, as a couple (2 people) cost about R800. But that is just 3 visits to Cape Point. And then you can go as often as you like. It also works at Boulders, West Coast Park at Langebaan, etc. etc.

    Reply
  2. Mona

    Holbaai, between Blouberg and Melkbos, long stretches of sandy beaches.

    Reply
  3. Wendy Williams

    I definitely understand why all the beaches inside Cape Point is a secret because they so expensive to access

    Reply
  4. Michele

    Thanks for sharing. Will def. make an effort to visit sometime. If its not easy to access then I doubt you will find overcrowding.

    Reply
  5. Janice Barlow

    Thanks for sharing, holistic living and enjoying nature.

    Reply
  6. James

    As a surfer and an environmentalist, as well as being a local cpt guy, I can assure you that none of these types of “secrets revealed” articles make an impact to the degree the negative ppl have commented they have. I regularly seek out awesome quiet beaches and uncrowded spots and my work has allowed me to see some of the most secluded areas in the western cape. In my opinion, the main reason they are uncrowded is not owing to them being unknown, but rather the vs t that they require a little more effort to reach than the usual run of the mill spots. That and the fact that over and above the difficulty level to reach them (I.e hiking up and down stairs or a bit of wall to get there), the fact that many are relatively isolated spots, makes ppl think twice about safety concerns, both for themselves and their valuables. Please understand, crime in our country is a real element to consider when deciding where to go. So is cost, travel time/traffic/access etc. I have have my vehicle stolen from the carpark at dappat se gat while I was surfing in the middle of the day during the week. The very fact that it was quiet and isolated made it the perfect place for the crime. Just my two cents. He who seeks, is often rewarded.

    Reply
    • Aqueel

      James James James…. what you say is very true. Also some people are just lazy and that’s life but some really cool spot here that I’d like to check.out

      Reply
  7. Gregory Lewis

    I have certainly been aware of the beaches in the Cape Point nature reserve and know that it will remain unspoiled because our locals don’t like to pay the entrance fee to the reserve. Lol. I have been there on many occasions and can vouch that no other people have been making a special effort to be on those beaches.

    Reply
  8. AB

    Hoekom is van julle mense so negatief? As jy dan te bang is jou kar is nie veilig nie, vat die rooi bus en gaan vir ‘n dag toer. Jump on, jump off. En hoekom sal jy nou kos koop by ‘n plek wat jou dag gaan spoil, as jy dan ‘n piekniek mandjie kan saamvat.

    Reply
    • Ashveth Thamen

      Sad that we have to pay for the beaches that’s been here for millions of years through the evolutionary process…
      That being said…it is what it is…If you want to go to pollution and crime free beaches you’ll have to pay for them…I certainly will make an attempt over the next few months to visit all of them…Thanks for sharing…

      Reply
  9. Ethan

    Articles like this tends to lead to destruction of the very resource it is loudly announcing to everyone. Places like these are few and far between and should be discovered by those who take the time and effort to do so. Not a selfie-induced crowd disconnected with the real world in search of their next Instagram conquest. Stupid article!!!!

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      We’re sorry you feel that way, Ethan. Our feeling is that nature is a free resource for all to enjoy. Which is why we shared the article. I doubt the selfie-obsessed crowd would be interested in any of these spots, anyway – surely they would prefer to hang out at the see-and-be-seen mainstream beaches?

      Reply
  10. Jen

    Well, they certainly aren’t a secret anymore…

    Reply
  11. James

    When visiting beach number 8 stay WELL clear of Seaforth, their food (if you can call it that) will ruin your day entirely.

    Reply
  12. Jay

    Awesome article, thank you. Sad to see a comments here about wanting to keep the undiscovered beauty of our exquisite country all to themselves. Sies is all I can say. Nature does not hold itself back for a select few only – only humans (particularly Capetonian humans) could be that selfish and entitled.

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      We felt the same way, Janine – about nature being for all to enjoy. That’s why we shared it. Also, there’s nothing quite like stumbling on a list like this when you’re a tourist in a foreign country…

      Reply
  13. yushi

    Cosy beach/bay past camps bay. What a beautiful little secluded spot.

    Reply
    • Mona

      Yes, Cosy Bay down the narrow stairs, underneath the Morning Glory Meadow, Stunning and secluded, been going there for about 20yrs, never more than 5ppl on the beach

      Reply
  14. Keith

    As a Capetonian now living in Gauteng, you folk have nothing to fear. The type of people who make an effort to find these wont be a burden. they are 0,001% of the hordes anyway.
    jille moet tjill…8-)

    Reply
  15. Amit

    Surely the point of “secret” beaches is not to publish them on the internet??
    This kind of article does not serve the sanctity of those spaces. Rather write an article of how to meet interesting people who might help you discover such places. And leave some things to be discovered off the internet.

    Reply
  16. Callum

    Please dont share this. Why the hell would you publish this!? I love our beaches and would prefer the secret beaches remain secret. Thanks for letting everyone that immigrates to CPT for december know where they can come overcrowd the locals. Much appreciated. Ffs

    Reply
  17. Zena

    Dappat se gat is also beautiful.

    Reply
  18. mandy croucamp

    You can add Slangkop beach which is between Kommetie and Noordhoek beach – access via Wireless Road just before Kommetjie. Highly recommend Olifantsbos with is fantastic ship wrecks:)

    Reply
  19. Bernardine Bruce

    I just love smitswinkel, will definitely make a turn there soon.

    Reply
  20. Dani

    I want to know where the beach on the cover pic is (the main article photo)…
    Is that even in Cape Town? That place with the wooden walkway looks amazing! <3

    Reply
    • Tamlyn Ryan

      Hi Dani,
      Yes, it was taken outside Cape Town at Cape Point. Pictured is the walkway whereby visitors can access Diaz Beach, a truly stunning beach!

      Reply
  21. Wayne

    Love Smitswinkel Bay.
    Just a reminder, that no one tells you about.
    If you go down there, you will probably have your car broken into
    Something to think about

    Reply

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