Cape Town, situated as it is on a peninsula, is flanked by beautiful beaches on all sides. Long expanses of white-gold sand and a stunning natural background of soaring mountains and cliffs are just two of the many attractive features of these beaches. Without a doubt, the Cape Town area has some of the nicest beaches in South Africa, but just because the water is a gorgeous shade of aquamarine and turquoise doesn’t mean it’s particularly warm. So, if you are in quest to know about the best beaches in Cape Town, below are the list of best Cape Town beaches and all you need to know.
Top 20 Best Beaches In Cape Town
First on the list of best beaches in Cape Town is the Boulders beaches. An iconic beach, the kind that over the years has produced perfect memories for countless local families. It’s also the preferred haunt of some of the last African penguins on the planet, so treat them with loads of respect (not only 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 it gets in Cape Town.
The beach, hidden between the boulders, is sheltered from the wind. Clever penguins to have found this spot! Bring your bank card for the entrance fee, not cash (R90 per adult, R45 per child for SA citizens with proof of ID), as well as your camera or phone to snap pics of the idiosyncratic birds.
Come early to claim your patch of sand – it’s a small beach, and depending on the tide, it can get even smaller. Some boulder-hopping may be necessary to find space.
2. Buffels Bay
After a day at Cape Point Nature Reserve’s crescent beach, you’ll be an expert in every color of the rainbow. Colors range from transparent aquamarine near the shore to darker shades of these and others as one travels deeper into the ocean.
This symphony in blue is well worth the drive and admission fee, with clean, gently lapping ocean as far as the eye can see, soft sand, and plenty of braai and picnic spots. You should check the forecast to determine if there will be gusty winds (it can make for very smoky braais or sandy salads).
3. Beta at Bakoven
Beautiful waves lap onto the little, quiet beach, which is scattered with granite boulders and the occasional young family or group of friends. It’s also a common area for photo shoots, so don’t be shocked if you see one happening on the rocks.
This little, protected bay has almost no waves, making it ideal for water sports like snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and shallow swimming (if you can handle the cold, that is).
4. Fish Hoek
Warm, swimmable water, plenty of space, adequate facilities, and parking for 600 cars make this one of the most underappreciated beaches in Cape Town. It’s famous for its “golden-oldie” morning swimmers, although everyone from toddlers to retirees frequents the beach. With “wilder” Clovelly Beach tucked away in the far corner, you get two beaches for the price of one.
5. Long Beach
You won’t have to worry about finding a spot to set up your beach umbrella because the beach is large enough. There’s a lot of snow there, and the name’s a pretty accurate description: it runs from Kommetjie to Noordhoek. Stay on the Kommetjie side of the beach if you want to see dogs, residents, and surfers. It’s one of the best waves in the city, especially when the wind is blowing hard on the other side of the Peninsula.
6. Glen Beach
This stretch of beach is protected from the wind and crowds by the massive granite rocks that line either side of it. It is situated between Clifton and Camps Bay, two equally magnificent beaches.
It’s a favorite with residents and surfers, and dogs are welcome there (during the summer, before 9am or after 6pm). Beyond a quick cool down, swimming is not recommended, but if you’re looking for a more peaceful place to read and relax in the sun, here is it.
7. Water’s Edge
This hidden gem is a Simon’s Town favorite, however it does get crowded at peak periods of the year. Water’s Edge is home to a lovely, isolated bay that can be reached through a wooden gate at the end of a paved pathway that begins at the Seaforth Beach parking lot and continues past the back of Seaforth Restaurant. There is enough space to relax here, despite its location between two crowded beaches (Seaforth and Boulders).
A beach with a horizon as far as the eye can see, a colorful row of beach huts just waiting to be photographed, warm water, and soft waves rolling in in orderly sets—what more could you want? That’s why Muizies is so well-liked by both families and surfers (beginners and old hands). The good news is that it’s spacious enough for everyone (although pooch owners need to be done with walkies by 9am in summer).
9. Clifton Beaches
Clifton is home to four of Cape Town’s trendiest beaches, all of which include pristine white sand and stunning views of the Twelve Apostles, a group of massive granite formations that form the area’s famous backdrop.
Accessible through a series of steep stairs from the main road about six kilometers outside of the city center, these beaches are the site of some of the most expensive real estate in the city. To maximize your time in the sun, each is tucked away in its own little cove, out of the way of any gusty breezes that could come from the direction of the ocean.
10. Camps Bay
Camps Bay is vying with Clifton to be the best beach in Cape Town. Clifton provides somewhat better shelter from Cape Town’s famed wind, which is the sole reason we ranked it lower. Camps Bay is another Blue Flag beach in close proximity to Clifton.
The beach is large and well-connected, but parking can be a hassle on busy summer weekends; visitors should consider taking public transportation or an app like Uber instead. Sunbathers can easily have lunch at one of the many nearby eateries just across the street. The Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head may both be seen from Camps Bay.
11. Llandudno Beach
Llandudno Beach is where the locals go to get away from the hustle and bustle of Clifton and Camps Bay, which are located about 20 kilometers south of Cape Town on the way to Hout Bay. It’s a popular spot for picnics, sunbathing, and—if you can handle the chilly Atlantic—body boarding and surfing, yet it’s hidden away at the end of a winding road in an exclusive hillside community, far from the highway.
12. Mouille Point Beach
Mouille Point Beach is conveniently situated midway between the downtown area and Camps Bay, making it an ideal destination for a stroll in the afternoon. There are a lot of parking spots and it’s not too far from town to get to this beach, which goes by the name Granger Bay (something that is harder to find around Camps Bay or Clifton).
Benches dot the promenade that parallels the beach, and off in the distance is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
13. Oudekraal Beach
Oudekraal is well worth the effort it takes to get there, despite its location within the more expensive Table Mountain National Park. Tucked up on a secluded stretch of beach, locals frequent the braai pits set up right on the sand (the South African word for BBQ). There are small stones and shallow tidal pools scattered throughout the white sand beach.
To go snorkeling offshore, you’ll need a wetsuit and the fortitude to withstand the chilly Atlantic. Aside from the kelp and a few fish species, you won’t find any tropical coral. Expert scuba divers can also visit a one-of-a-kind boulder cave.
14. St. James Beach
St. James Beach on the False Bay shoreline is roughly a 15-minute stroll from Kalk Bay’s restaurants and stores. The little beach is ideal for families because of the shallow rock pools that are warmer than the open ocean and suitable for children to play in. In addition to being safe from high waves and wind, the beach is also relatively calm.
St. James, like Muizenberg, is home to a colorful collection of beach shacks that serve as a popular Instagrammable backdrop. Kalk Bay is a historic harbor and tiny hamlet about 30 minutes from the center of Cape Town, making it a popular destination for day trips from the city.
15. Queens Beach
Queens Beach is a quiet, secluded beach in the Sea Point district, not too far from the bustling Sea Point Promenade but still easily accessible. Many tourists and even some locals overlook this beach, so it rarely gets too crowded, even at the height of summer.
Queens Beach is a nice area to sunbathe or have a picnic on a summer day because it is shielded from the breeze and is within a five-minute walk from the Sea Point public swimming pool. There’s a surf break here known as the “huge and mushy” by the locals.
If you are looking for the best beaches to swim in Cape Town, I have written a detailed information on best swimming beaches in Cape Town and all you need to know.