Best 25+ South Africa Beaches

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South Africa isn't just about great game reserves and safaris; set amidst this stunning natural landscape are also some of the finest beaches in the world. Whilst it might not be on every beach lover's bucket list South Africa shouldn't be overlooked with its turquoise waters and pristine white sands; it's a beach destination that doesn't always receive the praise it deserves.

Boasting 3,000 km of coastline lined with thousands of beaches from the famous Wild Coast in the east to the sun-drenched bays in the west, summer holidays in South Africa can be about both exploration and relaxation. And what's more is that many of these pristine beaches are also backed by breath-taking coastal hikes.

Also along this coast is the Western Cape known as the Garden Route where you'll find popular Plettenberg Bay with great beaches in Robberg and Lookout backed by spectacular mountain views.

Durban is the main city on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline with South Beach and Durban's Golden Mile being the places to be along the golden sandy shores. Margate sits on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal and is a great family beach with its golden sands, palm trees and rock pools.

On South Africa's Eastern Cape you'll find a wide range of different beaches; from family friendly sands around Port Elizabeth to the dramatic shore of the Wild Coast. Hobie Beach in Algo Bay has calm, clear and warm waters that make it the beach for watersports, while fascinating shipwrecks and rich coral reefs sit beneath the surface. This coast is also home to Jeffreys Bay, which during June and August produces some of the best surf on the planet.In this region you'll also find the Wild Coast. Here are stunning secluded beaches that are backed by milkwood trees. Perhaps the most popular is here Mdumbe Beach near to Coffee Bay and is an unspoilt gem, often quiet and empty except for surfers on the beach.

The Best South African Beaches...

  • 1. Camps Bay // Western Cape

    Camps Bay
    © jborzicchi

    Camps Bay is without doubt Cape Town's premiere beach. Located in an upmarket suburb of this South African city, the beach here is as spectacular as it is popular. The palm fringed stretch of white sand that make up Camps Bay sits between the towering Lion's Head and equally imposing Twelve Apostles. This is the Atlantic coast and the ocean here is both beautiful and powerful; sparkling and turquoise often… read more »

  • 2. Llandudno Beach // Western Cape

    Llandudno Beach
    © Gorillabutter / CC BY

    Set between Hout Bay and Camps Bay on Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard, Llandudno Beach is only about 15 minutes from the city centre. Unsurprisingly, this is one of Cape Town's most popular beaches and is a particular favourite with families.

    The pretty little crescent of white sand that forms Llandudno beach is flanked by giant, weather-worn boulders. To the rear of the beach is a stunning backdrop of steeply rising mountains… read more »

  • 3. Boulders Beach // Western Cape

    Boulders Beach

    Situated on the western side of Cape Town's False Bay is the delightful sheltered cove of Boulders Beach. Crystal clear water meets soft white sand in a series of little "covelets" between enormous, weather worn granite boulders which date back half a billion years.

    Boulders is undoubtedly one of Cape Town's finest beaches, but that isn't why it is also one of South Africa's best known. It is actually due… read more »

  • 4. Coffee Bay // Eastern Cape

    Coffee Bay
    © matejh

    Coffee Bay is situated on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape and the beach's name in a way reflects this. The story goes that in 1893 a ship carrying coffee beans was driven ashore here during a storm. Somehow a fair few of these beans managed to take root and so the bay was named. Unfortunately you'll be wasting your time looking for said plants as the soil was… read more »

  • 5. Clifton Beach // Western Cape

    Clifton Beach
    © Philip Massie
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    Sitting right next door to Cape Town's other premiere beach (Camps Bay) is Clifton beach. The backdrop here is equally stunning with one of Cape Town's best known mountains, Lion's Head, rising up directly behind and the Twelve Apostles looming to the south. The sugar-white sand that forms Clifton is dived up into four, just about distinct, beaches. These are rather imaginatively named 1st to 4th beaches and are basically… read more »

  • 6. Hout Bay // Western Cape

    Hout Bay
    © Werner L

    Hout Bay (in English, it means 'Wood Bay') is a picturesque resort and fishing port that lies 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of the city of Cape Town. Surrounded by magnificent mountains on all but one side, Hout Bay backs onto the famous Table Mountain National Park to the north and majestic Chapman's Peak range to the south. The dramatic Sentinel watches over proceeding to the west and protects town… read more »

  • 7. Zinkwazi Beach // KwaZulu-Natal

    Zinkwazi Beach
    © Editor / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Along the Dolphin Coast is the little resort town of Zinkwazi. The protected beach here is an beautiful stretch of golden sand surrounded by incredible indigenous forests with tropical palms. The bathing waters are protected by shark nets and lifeguards are here during the holiday season, which makes it safe for swimming. Beyond the dunes, at the rear of the beach, is a large lagoon which is an estuary of… read more »

  • 8. Wilderness Beach // Western Cape

    Wilderness Beach
    © ilf_

    Wide, wild, and unspoilt, Wilderness Beach has pet-friendly sands coloured a rich golden hue which continue on for more than a kilometre in length.

    Located along the Garden Route coast of South Africa's Western Cape province, the beach is backed onto by vegetation-clad dunes topped with homes looking out across the ocean blue.

    A short distance from the city of George, it is the Indian Ocean that laps the sands of Wilderness… read more »

  • 9. Fish Hoek // Western Cape

    Fish Hoek
    © Derek Keats / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    Offering a wide, flat expanse of white sand running for 1.5 kilometres in length, Fish Hoek Beach lies in the town of the same name on False Bay on the Cape Peninsula a short drive away from Cape Town. Facing east into the bay, its waters are much warmer that other beaches on the peninsula, with temperatures of 24°C not uncommon from December to March.

    During these months, visitors will find… read more »

  • 10. Grotto Beach // Western Cape

    Grotto Beach
    © Olga Ernst / CC BY

    When you step onto Grotto Beach, you can't fail to be impressed by the vast expanse of sandy beach stretching out to the blue ocean. The beach seems to go on forever with the beach town of Hermanus to one end and a backdrop of mountains and wilderness the other. There is plenty of room on this beach to play games or throw down your towel but it you prefer… read more »

  • 11. Glencairn Beach // Western Cape

    Glencairn Beach
    © Derek Keats / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Kitesurfing

    Glencairn Beach can be found on the western shores of False Bay, in the suburb of Glencairn, which is roughly four kilometres north of Simons Town on the Cape Peninsula.

    Easily reached thanks to a train station and plenty of parking, Glencairn Beach is largely used by locals as a place to exercise and let their dogs run around, however it also sees its fair share of water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfers… read more »

  • 12. Pennington Beach // KwaZulu-Natal

    Pennington Beach
    © Darren Glanville / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming
    • Surfing

    Visitors can discover the attractive and unspoilt Pennington Beach 75 kilometres south of Durban, the region's foremost city, on KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast. Attractive to many because of its relative lack of development, the town of Pennington sits above its beach on a hillside that provides great views across the expanse of the Indian Ocean.

    Alluring to native birdlife as well as humans, snorkelling, surfing, and swimming are all popular past… read more »

  • 13. Park Rynie Beach // KwaZulu-Natal

    Park Rynie Beach
    © Anthony Webb / CC BY

    Found on South Africa's southern stretch of Indian Ocean coastline, on what has been designated the Umdoni Coast in KwaZulu-Natal, Park Rynie Beach is such a beautiful destination that a small resort town has developed around it.

    One of the region's more rugged beaches, Park Rynie Beach is a blend of rock pools and good quality sand, with the rocks often separating the sand from the ocean. There number below the… read more »

  • 14. Nature's Valley // Western Cape

    Nature's Valley
    © Paul Venter

    With a name like Nature's Valley, it's fitting that this beach lies on the stretch of South African coast known as the Garden Route. Reaching from sheer cliffs at one end to the mouth of the Groot River at the other, Nature's Valley Beach is approximately one kilometre in length.

    Its pristine sands are matched by the Indian Ocean and the national park which encloses it - Tsitsikamma, meaning "clear water"… read more »

  • 15. Langebaan - Paradise Beach // Western Cape

    Langebaan - Paradise Beach
    © Werner Bayer / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Kitesurfing

    This aptly named Paradise Beach is found on the eastern shore of the Saldanha Bay in not far north of Cape Town. A long sweeping crescent of white sands and the blue ocean, the immediate backdrop are steep dunes with stunning mountain views beyond. This is a busy resort beach and there are any number of activities available; you can go fishing, sailing, surfing, and more. In fact, you… read more »