Cape Town Beach Guide
Couples visiting Cape Town on a beach holiday or romantic getaway can choose from several great beaches.
Just remember that the waters of the Atlantic Seaboard around Cape Town are always cold, with average sea temperatures of around 13˚C during the summer months of November to February.
However, air temperatures average 28˚C – perfect for sunbathing and beach games. Here is a selection of the best beaches around Cape Town.
Camps Bay Beach (Atlantic Coast)
Unwind on Cape Town’s most exclusive beach, an 80m-wide, 750m-long white-sand beach that shelves into a picturesque bay framed by wave-lashed rocky headlands.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe, join a game of Frisbee or volleyball and people-watch the ‘beautiful people’ who flock to the beach ‘to see and be seen’. Cool off in the tidal pool or with a cold drink at one of the popular bars and restaurants that line the beachfront road, or brave the cold waters and go swimming, surfing and windsurfing.
Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers for hire, wind-free barbeque spots, toilets and showers. There are no lifeguards on this beach. Victoria Road offers a great choice of bars, gourmet restaurants and nightclubs.
Set between the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean and a grassy palm-fringed verge that flanks Victoria Road, Camps Bay is overlooked by the dramatic Twelve Apostles at the foot of Table Mountain. The trendy beach is home to some of South Africa’s most expensive real estate.
Camps Bay (below map) sits on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, around 5km southwest of Cape Town, a 20-minute drive from the city centre.
Clifton Beach (Atlantic Coast)
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on one of four small white-sand beaches that lie separated by large granite boulders. The largest of the numbered (1 to 4) beaches is a family favourite, around 150m long, while the other beaches are popular with the local singles crowd.
Go swimming in the shallow, wind-sheltered turquoise waters, relax on the beach with friendly locals and watch rainbow-striped paragliders float overhead (from the top of nearby Lion’s Head to land at the Maiden's Cove end of Clifton Beach).
The four beaches are only accessible by climbing down a series of steep steps from the cliff top, where desirable residences cling to hillside slopes overlooking the beach. Lifeguards are on duty on weekends. Take your own umbrella, food and drinks as there are no facilities.
Overlooked by the dramatic Table Mountain, Clifton Beach is located over the headland from Camps Bay Beach and is around 15 minutes by car from the city centre.
Llandudno Beach (Atlantic Coast)
Unwind on the white sands of this 450m-long beach that shelves into a picture-perfect cove framed by huge granite boulders. Sunbathe on the soft white sand, go swimming at the southern end of the beach and enjoy surfing and body boarding at the northern end.
Bring your own umbrella, food and drinks, as there are no facilities on the beach, except for lifeguards. Picturesque Llandudno Beach – perfect for viewing sunsets – lies beneath a bush-covered rocky hillside overlooked by nearby Mount Rhodes. The beach sits at the end of a narrow road that winds through an exclusive suburb, around 20km from Cape Town.
Sandy Bay (Atlantic Coast)
Get an all-over tan on Cape Town’s unofficial nudist beach, which is framed by picture-perfect rocky coves and backed by wild sand dunes and mountain slopes. Access is by a 20-minute walk from the nearest car park or by clambering across rocks from nearby Llandudno Beach. Sandy Bay is also popular with gay men.
Hout Bay Beach (Atlantic Coast)
Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this kilometre-long crescent of white sand facing the sheltered waters of Hout Bay. Surrounded by picturesque mountain peaks and edged by bush-covered sand dunes, this family friendly beach offers safe swimming close to a choice of bars, restaurants and shops, which are in the adjacent fishing village of Hout Bay.
Come for a day, relax on the beach and enjoy delicious seafood at Mariner's Wharf. Or join a cruise from Hout Bay's harbour to see the Cape fur seal colony on Duiker Island.
Blouberg Beach (Atlantic Coast)
Discover majestic views of Cape Town and Table Mountain from two beaches. The 600m-long crescent of white sand at Big Bay is ideal for surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing, while a 400m-long beach shelves into the shallow waters of reef-protected Little Bay, framed by wave-lashed rocks, and best visited for sunbathing and family outings.
The long, seemingly endless strands on either side of Big and Small bays are the perfect spots for long walks and beachcombing. Or relax with a cocktail on the terrace of the Blue Peter Hotel, which sits on a rocky plateau overlooking the beaches with views across the bay to distant Table Mountain – a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Blouberg Beach is located on the other side of Table Bay, around 25km north of Cape Town.
Noordhoek Beach (Atlantic Coast)
This 300m-wide, 4km-long white-sand beach is also known as Long Beach and is perfect for horse riding, kite flying, jogging, walking and surfing. There are neither lifeguards nor facilities on the beach. Framed by mountain peaks, Noordhoek is one of the Cape’s wildest beaches, sitting around 34km south of Cape Town.
Muizenberg Beach (False Bay)
Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this kilometre-long beach that stretches along the bay for more than 10km. Go swimming in the calm and shallow waters, learn how to surf in the gentle waves or go beachcombing and walking on this long beach.
Facilities at this one-time fashionable beach resort include a swimming pool, waterslides, changing rooms, toilets, showers, lifeguards and a choice of small cafes. Enjoy fresh seafood at one of the restaurants that are housed in old Art Deco beachfront buildings. Muizenberg Beach is 27km from Cape Town, approximately a 25-minute drive.
Fish Hoek Beach (False Bay)
Unwind on the white sand of this 1.7km-long beach that shelves into the sheltered waters of Fish Hoek Bay, framed by soaring mountain peaks. This is regarded as one of the safest swimming beaches in the Cape Town area, with calm clear water. Surfing and boogie boarding are also popular here. The middle section of the beach is used as a launch spot for catamarans and windsurfers.
Stroll the scenic Jager's Walk from the south side of Fish Hoek Beach to Sunny Cove; this wheelchair-friendly pathway meanders through a rocky seascape with access to sheltered natural rock pools that are perfect for swimming.
Facilities include a children's playground, seats and a cafe. The town is just a stroll away and offers a choice of restaurants for hungry beachgoers. Look out for whales during calving season from August to November.
Although it does not seem to perturb the locals much, sharks are sighted fairly often in the bay between September and March; shark spotters are employed to warn swimmers. Fish Hoek is just south of Muizenberg, a half-hour drive from Cape Town.
Boulders Beach (False Bay)
This boulder-strewn white-sand beach is famous for its resident colony of around 800 African penguins, which inhabit a fenced-off section of the beach easily seen from the two viewing platforms. Nearby are several idyllic secluded beaches edging small coves framed by giant granite boulders.
The waters here are two to three degrees warmer than on the Atlantic coast and offer excellent snorkelling and swimming for families with children. Boulders Beach is located on the outskirts of Simon's Town, around 30km from Cape Town, a 45-minute drive.
› Cape Town Beach Map