Ultimate List of the Best Beaches in South Africa!

spellbound travels ultimate list of the best beaches in south africa

Are you ready for a beach vacation like no other? Look no further than South Africa, where you’ll find some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. From the breathtaking coastline of Cape Town to the wild beauty of the Eastern Cape and the warm waters of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has something to offer every beach lover. So if you’re ready to explore the best beaches in South Africa, let’s jump into it! 

The Beaches in South Africa 

South Africa boasts a coastline adorned with breathtaking beaches, each offering a unique slice of paradise. It’s a must-visit destination for beach lovers worldwide!

Beach Safety in South Africa 

While South Africa being home to a plethora of beautiful beaches, there are a few things to be aware of when preparing for a beach day! 

  1. Check tide times – Pay attention to tide schedules, as low tide can reveal hidden hazards while high tide can pose risks with strong waves and rip currents.
  2. Weather and water temperatures – Always check the forecasts before heading to the beach. The water temperatures throughout the country can be icy so it’s important to know before you jump right in! 
  3. National parks – Many beaches in South Africa are part of national parks. Respect their rules and guidelines to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife. 
  4. Long days at the beach – Protecting yourself from the sun’s strong rays with sunscreen, hats and umbrellas to avoid sunburn and heatstroke. 
  5. Know the sharks – Some beaches are known for white shark sightings and while it’s not often that you hear of shark attacks, you should be aware of shark warnings and follow safety protocol. 
  6. Safety in Central Cape Town – Although Cape Town beaches are popular, always exercise caution with your belongings and avoid secluded areas. If you’re driving to the beach, park where there is an attendant watching. If you can, go with a group for extra protection & make sure you have travel insurance before booking your trip. I always use SafetyWing!

Want more South Africa content? here are a few other blogs you might like: 

Best Beaches in Cape Town 

If you only have a short time in South Africa, you’ll likely be spending most of your time in Cape Town. After spending 6 months living and working in Cape Town and its surroundings, I unlocked the best beaches in the area! Most are super close to the city centre, making it easier than ever for the best beach days. 

Getting Around Cape Town 

While you can easily hire a car in Cape Town, it’s probably easiest to use Uber and/or Bolt to get to and from beaches in the area. It’s extremely affordable compared to the cost of Uber in other countries and then you don’t have to fear people breaking into a rental car. 

I knew many people whose rental cars were broken into in Cape Town so if that’s your plan, don’t leave anything of value in sight when you leave the car. Put it all in the boot or take it with you! Car batteries are often stolen from cars that are left unattended so that’s just something to keep in mind. There are car parks with parking attendants that will watch your vehicle, however, you’re expected to pay them when you leave. There isn’t a set rate but people generally give anywhere from R20 – R50. 

Clifton Beach 

Nestled between the mountains and the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Clifton Beach is a series of four pristine beaches. The soft white sand and stunning surroundings make it a popular spot for sun-seekers. It’s certainly a go-to when you’re in Cape Town and if you only have time to make it to one beach, it should be Clifton! 

While all four beaches are worth checking out, I personally liked 1st and 2nd the best. During peak summer months, many people will offer umbrellas to shade you from the sun for about R50 ($2.80 USD). 

Camps Bay Beach 

With the Twelve Apostles as its backdrop, Camps Bay is a favourite among both locals and tourists. The palm-fringed shoreline and crystal-clear waters are perfect for a relaxing day in the sun. Camps Bay is also riddled with many restaurants, bars and shops to keep you preoccupied when you need a little break from the sun. 

Camps Bay is one of my favourite places to watch the sunset in Cape Town! You can sit atop boulders with a few friends to watch the sunset with drinks and snacks (sundowners). 

Pro tip: Stop by Okja for an iced coffee and croissant and thank me later!

Glen Beach 

If you like the vibe at Camps Bay but want a less busy beach area, Glen Beach is your best bet! It offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. 

Saunders Rock Pools

Looking for an enchanting coastal experience? These natural tidal pools, carved into the rocky coastline, provide a safe haven for swimmers and families to enjoy the ocean’s beauty without the waves’ intensity. 

The clear waters teem with marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkelling and exploring the underwater world. As the tide recedes, fascinating rock formations emerge creating an idyllic setting for relaxation and sunbathing. 

Beta Beach 

This beach is a local fave for its tranquility and stunning vistas. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, the soft sand and clear waters create a serene setting, perfect for unwinding and sockaing up the beauty of the Cape’s coastal charm. 

Bakoven Beach 

Found between Camps Bay and Beta Beach, Bakoven offers an intimate coastal escape. With its sheltered location and picturesque surroundings, this small sandy haven is ideal for quiet sunbathing and leisurely walks along the water’s edge!

Llandudno Beach 

This secluded beach is a hidden gem on the Atlantic seaboard. Its pristine white sand, large granite boulders and mesmerizing sunsets make it an ideal place to unwind. Keep in mind that Llandudno can get a little windy some days but this makes for a great surf beach (depending on the day). 

If you don’t surf, don’t worry because you can explore around the large boulders and might even catch a few seals poking their heads out of the water! It’s certainly a picturesque beach and one I visited many times while I was in Cape Town.

Boulders Beach

Located near Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach is famous for its colony of adorable African penguins. Enjoy a unique beach experience as you share the sand with these charming creatures. There is a R178 (~$10 USD) entry fee for international visitors (adults) but it’s certainly worth it! 

Make sure to check the tide times and the weather before you go for the optimal experience. And if you want a more secluded spot, walk along the beach to the very end and you’ll have more penguins to yourself. 

Be careful when passing by the penguins because they will bite people that get too close! My friend had the unfortunate luck of being bitten by one but other than that they’re harmless when they swim past you in the water.

Oh and bring a good camera because you’ll want to keep those memories forever!

Muizenberg Beach 

This colourful beach is known for its iconic beach huts and is a surfer’s paradise. Beginners can take advantage of the gentle waves and take surf lessons or hire a board for around R100 for a few hours, making it a great spot for water sports enthusiasts!

Even if you don’t surf, Muizenberg is a cool spot with many cafes and restaurants and a cool boardwalk trail that takes you over to some smaller beaches in the area. If you’re planning to spend a few days there, don’t forget to check out the Blue Bird Market as well. It has amazing food and drink options for all and is a fun place to socialize. 

Hout Bay Beach 

Located in the heart of a fishing village, Hout Bay Beach is a coastal gem. With its sweeping golden sands and breathtaking mountain views, it offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. Visitors can take a scenic walk, enjoy water sports and fresh seafood! 

Bloubergstrand Beach 

Just a short 20-30 minute drive from Cape Town is Blouberg! It boasts some of the most awe-inspiring views of Table Mountain across the bay. This long stretch of sandy shoreline is a haven for water sports enthusiast, offering excellent conditions for kite surfing and windsurfing. It’s a must-visit destination! 

Best Beaches in the Western Cape 

The Western Cape of South Africa is blesses with a diverse array of beaches that cater to every beachgoer’s desire. Outside of Cape Town, you’ll find remote and unspoiled beauty! 

Kogelbay Beach 

If you’re after an untouched paradise, Kogelbay Beach is the place to be. The unspoiled natural beauty and crashing waves make it a must-visit spot for adventurers. You’ll also find it fairly empty during the shoulder seasons and sometimes you might even have the entire beach to yourself! 

The backdrop at this beach is one I’ve never seen before and if you’re a fellow skateboarder like myself, you can skate down the most scenic road just above the beach and get some insane photos like these 👇🏼

Paternoster Beach

This charming fishing village offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city life. Enjoy long walks on the beach, sample fresh seafood and immerse yourself in the local culture!

Elands Bay Beach

Tucked away in the wild and rugged West Coast, this is a hidden paradise for nature lovers and surf enthusiasts! Its expansive shoreline draw visitors seeking a remote escape. This Blue Flag status beach offers excellent surfing ocnditions and is also a bidwatcher’s dream, with the Verlorenvlei Estuary being a birding hotspot. 

As the sun sets over a dramatic landscape, Elands Bay beach is the perfect spot to connect with nature. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also wild camp in this area and sleep in a cave! It’s one of the best memories I have from my time in Elands Bay and something I’d recommend doing if you have the time. While it can be a challenge to bring all your gear up into the cave, it’s worth it to catch a sunset from there and unzip your tent to incredible views the next morning! 

Kraalbaai – West Coast National Park

Kraalbaai is an ideal place for a weekend away from Cape Town! It’s along the shores of the Langebaan Lagoon with bright blue, pristine water. It’s a popular destination for water enthusiasts, swimmers, families and groups of friends.

Make sure to book the Kraalbaai house boats for one of the most spectacular weekends! Booking fills up quickly during high season so grab a spot early. 

Pringle Bay Beach

Another spot with sandy shores, flanked by rocky outcrops. Withbeautiful views and charming small-town atmosphere, Pringle Bay Beach is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. 

Betty’s Bay

This Blue Flag beach offers a gorgeous setting with rocky shorts, soft sandy stretches and ocean views. It’s a popular spot for picnices, beach walks and even penguin spotting at nearby Stony Point!

Best Beaches in the Eastern Cape 

The beaches in the Eastern Cape come with its own unique charm. Natural onders and culture experiences await and there is something for every traveller! 

Hobie Beach 

Located in the vibrant coastal city of Port Elizabeth, Hobie Beach is a popular family destination with its warm Indian Ocean waters and green hills. The beach offers excellent water sports opportunities and a laid-back atmosphere! There are modern facilities, nearby restaurants and cafes, making it an ideal spot for a fun-filled day by the sea. 

Coffee Bay 

For a more remote and off-the-beaten-track experience, Coffee Bay is the place to go. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, this beach offers a chance to connect with nature and relax in peace. 

Best Beaches Along the Garden Route 

The beaches along the Garden Route of South Africa are a coastal wonderland, each with its own allure. From the golden shores of Mossel Bay, offering water sports and scenic views to other captivating beaches int he area, this route promises beach lovers a memorable adventure. 

Robberg Beach

To get to this beach, you’ll need to enter the Robberg Nature Reserve for R60. Plan to spend an entire day at this reserve and if you can go during the shoulder seasons (November was when I went and it was spectacular!), you’ll avoid the crowds and have many spots to yourself. 

The entire area is not only a haven for beach lovers but also offers opportunities to spot marine life, including seals and whales! The soft white sand, clear water and large sand dunes are just the cherry on top.

Plettenberg Bay 

Plettenberg Bay Beach has expansive sandy shores, azure waters and verdant cliffs. It’s surrounded by Robberg Nature Reserve and not only offers opportunities for sunbathing and swimming but also wildlife encounters with seals, dolphins and even whales gracing the waters. 

Don’t forget to stay until sunset because you might be lucky enough to catch one of the best sunsets of your life here (I sure was)!

Best Beaches in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal 

Unlike beaches found in the rest of the country, Durban and KwaZulu-Natal are renowned for their warm waters! 

Golden Mile

Durban’s Golden Mile offers a fantastic beach experience with warm waters and golden sand. Extending for approximately 4 miles along the Indian Ocean, it offers a perfect blend of sun, sand and surf. It’s the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy beachfront entertainment. 

Sodwana Bay

Calling all divers and snorkelers! Sodwana Bay is a mecca for marine life enthusiasts, with its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine species. You can expect to see colourful fish, turtles and even whale sharks here! 

Apart from the underwater exploration, Sodwana Bay has picturesque beaches with soft sand and towering dunes, ideal for beachcombing. 

Best Beaches in the Northern Cape 

The Northern Cape of South Africa may be known for its arid landscapes, but it’s also home to some hidden beach treasures. The best beaches in the area provide a unique coastal experience. 

Noup Beach

This is ont the best places ot experience the raw beauty of the wild coast. During winter months, the high tide creates a captivating sight. It’s also a great spot to catch Southern Right Whales, adding to the allure of this beach on the Sunshine Coast. 

While Noup Beach might be off the beaten track, it’s stunning scenery makes it a beautiful place to escape the cold waters of the Northern Cape. 

Hondeklip Bay Beach 

Looking for giant boulders and fascinating tidal pools? This beach is your best bet! During high tide, the waves crash against the rocks, creating a mesmerizing sight. 

Which of These Beaches in South Africa Will Be Your Fave? 

So there we have it! 

The best beaches in South Africa. Whether you’ve been to these beaches before or you’re about to explore them for the first time, you’re going to love them. 

I can’t wait to get back to South Africa to spend more time at these beaches but in the meantime, you can follow my adventures as a full time traveller on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube! 

I’ll see you shortly with a new one. 


Amy xx

📌 Like this post or found it helpful? Say thanks by buying me a coffee, saving this post or sharing with a friend 👇🏼

Leave a Reply