The Ultimate Cape Town Beach Guide

The Ultimate Cape Town Beach Guide

Sun, sand, sea, surf… beach days in Cape Town revolve around the four-part S-fest.

What do you look for in a beach? Stunning scenery, good swimming, space to stretch out or, yes, maybe not too much sand! Everyone has their own preferences. Fortunately, Cape Town has a diverse and spectacular selection of beaches dotted along its Atlantic and False Bay coastlines, each with distinct personalities and attractions.

If you’re keen to escape the crowds, check out these lesser-known beaches.
Looking to waddle in a wave-free pool? Check out the best tidal pools in Cape Town.

Important notes It is advisable to visit beaches in daylight hours. Swimming in the sea after dark is not advisable. Be aware of the tides. Drinking alcohol is not permitted in public spaces. Take care of the environment and don’t leave litter behind. The Shark Spotters on the False Bay coast (Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Clovelly and Fish Hoek) are pretty effective at keeping swimmers and surfers safe and informed!

Llandudno

Best Beaches Llundudno

A fantastic curl of sand and sea at the bottom of a winding road, bordered on either end by outcrops of giant granite boulders; the rocky headland to the left is aptly named Sunset Rocks. The crowd is generally laidback and diverse: you’ll encounter surfers, groups of friends, families and tourists. Yes, the water is lose-all-feeling-in-your-legs cold, but once in, the refreshment factor on a sweltering day is unbeatable! If you’re planning to spend a while on these sands, bring beach gear and a picnic, as there are no shops or restaurants in Llandudno. There may be vendors selling water, cooldrinks and snacks during busy periods. If you’re in the mood to explore, there are a few hidden caves amid the boulders where ancestral Khoi-San strandlopers once lived.
Good to know Llandudno has Blue Flag status for this summer season.
Parking Yes, a smallish carpark; overflow in the residential streets.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Not 9am – 6pm, November – March; free-running at other times
Nearby bite to eat Head over the hill to Hout Bay’s Bay Harbour Market for a browse, beer and meal from one of many delectable food stalls.

Clifton

Best Beaches Clifton

Choosing a favourite from Clifton’s four powder-soft beaches, with their neon-blue waves and shelter from the wind, is no easy call. But we love Clifton 2nd because it caters to all, from movie stars and sun-worshippers to beachsport fundis and families. The water – as is the case with every beach on the Atlantic side – is freezing, but stalwarts will always be seen dashing in and out to cool off. So the atmosphere counts. On a perfect day, with ice-cream vendors shouting, “Granadilla lolly to make you jolly!”, seagulls screaming overhead, and that incredible smell of fresh kelp and suntan lotion in the air, there is no better place to be. Umbrellas and loungers can be rented, but bring snacks and entertainment (a book, bats or frisbee) if people-watching is not your thing.
Good to know Clifton 4th has Blue Flag status for this summer season.
Parking Not much; there is a MyCity bus stop directly opposite the beach.
Toilets At 4th Beach.
Dog friendly? No dogs in summer (November – March) except on Clifton 1st.
Nearby cocktail The Bungalow (with laidback beats and a seafood menu too) is down Victoria Road towards Camps Bay.

Beta at Bakoven

Best Beaches Beta Bakoven
Robbie Kirkpatrick

Boulder-strewn Bakoven hides a couple of gorgeous coves. At Beta Beach (to the right of the main beach), a lovely lick of water washes onto a secluded, compact strand strewn with granite rocks, families, couples, influencers (sigh) and young groups of friends. It’s also a popular spot for photo shoots. This sheltered little bay (accessed from Beta Close, off Victoria Road) has no waves to speak of, so the clear, still water is perfect for snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and shallow dips. And it’s the place to be when the nasty southeaster picks up. The shallow rock pools are in shade in the morning and, as such, are a lot more limb-numbing than later in the day, when the water is merely cold!
Parking Not much; there are two MyCity bus stops (Bakoven and Barley Bay).
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No
Nearby bite to eat Bootlegger on Victoria Road is good for breakfast, lunch, freshly squeezed juice or a good coffee.

Boulders

Best Beaches Boulders

An iconic beach, the kind that over the years has produced perfect memories for countless local families. It’s the preferred haunt of some of the last African penguins on the planet, so it’s a good idea to treat them with respect (not merely because they can bite!). You’ll share the sand with lots of young families and tots, tourists and couples, and the swimming is amazing: gentle and about as warm as you get in Cape Town. The beach, hidden between the boulders, is sheltered from the wind (clever penguins to have found this spot!). Come early to claim your patch of sand – it’s a small beach, and depending on the tide, it can get even smaller. It’s part of Table Mountain National Park, so there is an entry fee, and numbers are restricted to prevent overcrowding.
Opening times 7am – 7.30pm (December + January)
8am – 6.30pm (February + March)
8am – 5pm (from April).
Cost From R45 (SA adults); R25 (SA children)
Parking Yes, but it fills up quickly.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No
Nearby ice cream Boulders Bites café (beside the parking lot) has soft-serve cones, plus coffee, bagels and flatbreads (and all the penguin memorabilia you could want!).

Fish Hoek

Best Beaches: Fish Hoek

Probably one of the most underrated beaches in Cape Town, it’s blessed with warm, properly swimmable water, lots of space, good facilities, plenty of changing rooms and showers, lifeguards and plenty of parking. It attracts all ages, from pensioners to their grandkids – and is famed for its “golden-oldie” sunrise swimmers. You get two beaches for the price of one here, with “wilder” Clovelly Beach tucked in the far corner. It’s an all-purpose beach, good for long walks, beach games, sandcastle-building, watersports and sunbathing. Head along Jager’s Walk (on the mountain side) to find rocks to bask on or, if you’re brave and a good swimmer, to leap off into the sea.
Good to know Fish Hoek Beach has Blue Flag status for this summer season.
Parking Plenty (600 spots); it costs R21 (full day from 8am); R10 (half day from 2pm)
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Not on the main beach, but free-running towards the Clovelly side.
Nearby ice cream Drifters Café at the beach sells retro-tastic soft-serve.
Nearby bite to eat C’est La Vie across the railway tracks for excellent coffee and croissants.

Buffels Bay

Best Beaches Buffels Bay

Do you speak blue? No? After spending a day on this crescent-shaped slice of paradise in Cape Point Nature Reserve, you’ll be fluent in the entire spectrum! We’re talking turquoise, cobalt, navy, ultramarine, electric and azure. With a clean, gently lapping ocean as far as the eye can see, tidal pools, soft sand and braai and picnic spots aplenty, this rhapsody in blue is well worth the drive and entrance fee. Check the weather report to see if there’s strong wind expected (it can make for very smoky braais or sandy salads). If you’re planning to stoke up the coals here or at nearby Bordjiesdrif Beach, bring your own grid and wood. And don’t feed the baboons!
Opening times Daily, 6am – 6pm (October – March); 7am – 5pm (April – September)
Cost Cash-free entry
SA residents: R100 (adult), R60 (child, 2 – 11 years)
SADC nationals: R200 (adult), R100 (child)
International visitors: R400 (adult), R200 (child)
Parking Yes
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No
Contact 021 712 7471 (visitor centre)
Nearby bite to eat The Two Oceans Restaurant (with its stunning False Bay views) specialises in seafood, served with a selection of wines. Booking is advisable. Or head to the Food Shop to grab a snack, drink or meal to enjoy at your favourite picnic spot.

Water’s Edge

Best Beaches Waters Edge

Off the beaten track, this one is considered something of a locals’ secret in Simon’s Town, although it can get full at certain times. Accessed through a wooden gate at the end of a paved pathway (which runs from the Seaforth Beach parking lot and past the back of the restaurant), Water’s Edge has a delightful, secluded bay. Despite lying between two popular beaches (Seaforth and Boulders), it offers some respite from the crowds. It’s also a haven for children, thanks to the rock pools with their fishy inhabitants, from starfish to sea anemones. The sheltered bay even has shade-providing trees lining the edges and awesome granite boulders popping out of the water. If you’re lucky, you might spot some penguins, too. Divers and snorkellers will also enjoy this haven.
Parking At Seaforth – a smallish parking lot (100 bays).
Toilets At Seaforth parking lot
Dog friendly? No
Nearby ice cream The Beach Hut in Kleintuin Road (off Seaforth Road) has excellent soft-serve (and gelato, milkshakes and toasties).

Muizenberg

Best Beaches Muizenberg

A beach with the widest horizon anyone could wish for, a colourful row of selfie-perfect beach huts, gentle waves that wash towards shore in neat sets, and warm water! No wonder Muizies is so popular with families, pooch owners and surfers (beginners and old hands). Fortunately it’s big enough to accommodate everyone. A flotilla of surfers and boogie-boarders (and SUPers and windsurfers) can be seen in the water from dawn to dusk; this is the place to go for lessons, surfboard and wetsuit rentals, skateboarding on the boardwalk, and long walks on the beach (or along the promenade to St James). With dozens of cafés lining the beachfront, just steps from the sand, there’s no need to pack a picnic or snacks.
Good to know Muizenberg has Blue Flag status for this summer season.
Parking Yes, lots (but it can still fill up!)
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Not 9am – 6pm, November – March; on a leash at other times
Nearby ice cream Majestic Cafe has been doling out delicious soft-serve cones (with a Flake) for over 50 years; Kristens Kick Ass Ice Cream has recently opened behind Knead; or try Milk Beach, where there are also waffles, and seriously good milkshakes.
Nearby bite to eat Take your pick for surfer-style munchies – options include Tiger’s Milk, Free Bird, Knead, Lucky Fish & Chips, The Commons (vegetarian) – or head over the train tracks to Empire Cafe or The Striped Horse.

Long Beach (Kommetjie)

Best Beaches Long Beach

There will be no issues with space to park an umbrella on these sands. Long Beach is, indeed, a vast expanse of white powder that stretches all the way from Kommetjie to Noordhoek. If you enjoy watching the antics of dogs and surfers, stay put on the Kommetjie side. It’s one of Cape Town’s top surf spots; when the southeaster’s pumping on the other side of the Peninsula, the waves here are good. The water is beautiful to look at but cold to swim in. If you’re up for a good stroll, it’s eight kilometres to Noordhoek – or just go halfway to the Kakapo shipwreck, bits of which poke out of the sand like a steampunk sculpture. It’s great for dogs to roam off-leash. If you’re determined to dip, or need a safer spot for little kids, there’s Die Kom, a large tidal pool with a beach and rock pools near the lighthouse.
Good to know Be cautious and alert on the less-populated part of the beach (if you’re walking towards Noordhoek). Contact Komwatch on 082 327 7783 for safety alerts.
Parking Yes, a small area in Surf Way; overflow into residential streets.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Yes, free-running allowed.
Nearby bite to eat AndRoc’s food truck at Kommetjie Beach (weekends only), for legendary breakfast burgers, toasties and plunger coffee.

Glencairn

Best Beaches Glencairn

About four kilometres from Simon’s Town lies Glencairn, with its family- and dog-friendly beach, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, rock-pool exploring and long strolls – including along a recently revamped coastal walkway. There is also a small wetland at the mouth of the Else River, with footpaths to explore. Being on False Bay, the water is warmer, and there are sharkspotters and lifeguards on site. On the southern side is a tidal pool (built in the 1920s), holding a portion of the beach protectively within its walls. It offers safe swimming for little ones and good snorkelling. Surfers and bodyboarders opt for the northern end, with its small reef bank. Glencairn is also popular with kayakers and, on windy days, kitesurfers can get some good air time.
Parking Ample; large area lining the beach
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Yes, free-running allowed.
Nearby bite to eat Blended Health Cafe (in Glen Road, off Main Road) for saintly but delicious bowls, burgers, toasties, smoothies etc – and tapas dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.

Glen Beach

Best Beaches Glen Beach

This beach enclave, flanked by large granite boulders, is nestled between gorgeous sisters Clifton and Camps Bay, and shares all of their best attributes (beautiful views, soft golden sand, gorgeous blue sea, no wind) but without the crowds. It’s popular with locals and surfers. Swimming, beyond a quick cooling off, is not advised but if you want a quieter spot to read and sunbathe, it’s perfect. Glen Beach is not particularly big – although it is long enough for Fido to get a good run in – but it does have front-row seats, with a sun-warmed wall to lean against, for those incredible Atlantic sunsets.
Parking In Victoria Road; there is a MyCity bus stop opposite
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Not 9am – 6pm, November – March; free-running at other times
Nearby cocktail Chinchilla’s rooftop is the spot for sundowners (beats, sushi, glam drinks). Or check out SurfShack, Café Caprice or Firefly Café…

Queen’s Beach

Best Beaches Queens Beach

Several small beaches and rock pools line the Sea Point Promenade – while most are fairly exposed to passersby, and therefore quite busy, Queen’s Beach is a little off the beaten path (even though it’s just five minutes’ walk from the Pavilion Pools). It’s sheltered from the wind and is perfect for some time out spent sunbathing and reading. There’s a shallow gully between the rocks to take safe dips to cool down. It also offers an exciting environment for curious kids to explore (starfish-filled pools, beautiful shells to collect). Lingering from late afternoon provides lovely sunset views. It’s the very epitome of a city beach, close to restaurants and other attractions, and easily accessible.
Parking Yes, a fairly large parking lot; it’s also a MyCiti bus stop.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No, but they are welcome at neighbouring Sunset Beach.
Nearby ice cream Head to the outdoor food court at the Pavilion Pools; alternately, Crumbs & Cream is up Church Road.
Nearby cocktail The closest terrace bar (for sundowner views) is at Strolla at the Peninsula Hotel. Or head further down Beach Road to Grand Pavilion – or to the Mojo Market in Regent Road.

Miller’s Point

Best Beaches Millers Point
Robbie Kirkpatrick

About 5km beyond Simon’s Town, past Boulders en route to Cape Point, is beautiful and remote Miller’s Point. It’s divided into two sections. The first turn-off leads to a caravan park, the Black Marlin restaurant and a beach; the other leads to Rumbly Bay, with its boat-launching sites, another boulder-dotted beach and a stunning tidal pool. There are incredible views across the rocky bay, changing rooms and a grassed picnic and braai area. It’s also a great spot for kayaking, snorkelling, surf skis and scuba-diving, with popular dive sites nearby. Be careful when parking as there are baboons in the area – don’t approach or feed these sneaky rascals.
Cost R19 (adults); R7 (children) on weekends and during peak season
Good to know Between Boulders and Miller’s Point are two smaller beaches and rocky coves worth a look: Frank’s/Froggy Pond and Fisherman’s Beach, with the same calm water, patches of grass and flat boulders for suntanning. Dogs on leads are allowed at these two.
Parking Yes, quite a lot of space.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No
Nearby bite to eat The Black Marlin is the obvious choice – sit on the shady, sea-view terrace (booking recommended).
Nearby treat Further along, on the road to Scarborough, The Scone Shack specialises in heavenly scones, plus other desserts with ice cream, and milkshakes (Friday – Sunday only).

Camps Bay

Best Beaches Camps Bay

Pristine white sand, brilliant blue water, towering mountains behind (which provide some protection from the southeaster), lawns and a Miami-style palm-lined promenade. What more could you ask for? Well, there’s also that sexy summer buzz created by the beautiful people that flock here, and the sidewalk cafés and bars packed with happy patrons. But back to the beach – there’s loads of space (an almost 2km stretch of it), rock pools to explore and proper waves for bodysurfing. Vendors will supply you with on-beach refreshments if you’re too lazy to stroll across the road. There’s also a lovely tidal pool (to the left of the beach) if you prefer calm waters.
Good to know Camps Bay Beach has Blue Flag status for this summer season.
Parking All along Victoria Road, but it can fill up quickly (if you’re desperate, there’s paid parking at The Promenade mall). There are a couple of MyCiti bus stops.
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? Not 9am – 6pm, November – March; free-running at other times (except at the tidal pool)
Nearby ice cream Gelato Mania for a treat to suit everyone (including vegans and diabetics), plus sorbet, waffles and pancakes.
Nearby cocktail Chinchilla’s rooftop is the spot for sundowners (beats, sushi, glam drinks). Or check out SurfShack, Café Caprice or Firefly Café…

Blouberg

Best Beaches Blouberg

The stretch of icy Atlantic coastline stretching north out of Table Bay and heading up the West Coast is a kitesurfing mecca (thanks to the pumping wind), and also offers the longest seaside promenade in Cape Town (or a seemingly endless beach walk, if you prefer to stroll on the water’s edge). Of Blouberg’s two popular beaches, offering that iconic, much-photographed view of Table Mountain, Small Bay (or Kleinbaai) has “family day out” written all over it. It has soft beach sand for the children to run around on, a jungle gym with a slide, and a grassy braai area. Catch it on a calmer (less blustery) day, and it’ll be simply lovely.
Good to know There are dozens of places to access this bay, but head to Pelegrini Street – you’ll find a park with wide steps that lead straight onto a smaller section of beach with calm waters.
Parking Yes
Toilets Yes
Dog friendly? No
Nearby ice cream There is a soft-serve kombi at the Ons Huise cul de sac in Stadler Road (there is also a small section of beach here, but no swimming allowed).
Nearby bite to eat The Blue Peter Hotel, on the water’s edge in Popham Street, has been there for decades – tuck into chicken wings, burgers, pizzas, etc at wooden tables on the lawns.
Nearby cocktail On the Rocks has a stunning view from its terrace and a menu of premium and classic drinks like pina coladas, mojitos and margaritas.

Which are your favourite beaches? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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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: 20 December 2023

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