Top 25+ South Africa Beaches

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...

  • Clifton Beach // Western Cape

    Clifton Beach
    © Philip Massie

    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… read more »

  • 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… read more »

  • Pennington Beach // KwaZulu-Natal

    Pennington Beach
    © Darren Glanville / CC BY

    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… read more »

  • Langebaan - Paradise Beach // Western Cape

    Langebaan - Paradise Beach
    © Werner Bayer / CC BY

    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,… read more »

  • 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… read more »

  • 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… read more »

  • 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… read more »

  • Hobie Beach // Eastern Cape

    Hobie Beach
    © Michael Jung

    Port Elizabeth's Hobie beach is considered one of the best on the so-called "Sunshine Coast", which sounds like a glowing endorsement to me! Apparently, along with mild winters, there are more sunny days over this way than anywhere else in South Africa.
    Whilst Hobie beach doesn't have the Blue Flag award some of its neighbours do, it has everything else - and more. A big… read more »

  • 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… read more »

  • Noordhoek // Western Cape

    Noordhoek
    © Andrew massyn

    Located at the foot of Chapman's Peak at the base of the Cape Peninsula are the expansive sands of Noordhoek beach. This picturesque stretch of sand runs for eight kilometre (5 mile) between the suburb of Noordhoek towards Kommetjie lighthouse.

    Given its wide, open and exposed nature it is often quite breezy at Noordhoek. This makes it a good spot for a range of kite-based activities… read more »

  • Jeffreys Bay // Eastern Cape

    Jeffreys Bay
    © Julien Carnot / CC BY

    Jeffreys Bay, in the Eastern Cape Province sits a short distance from the most southerly point along this coast at Cape St Francis. The vast golden sand beach here runs for miles along the warm, emerald waters of the Indian Ocean.

    There is so much to do, as Jeffreys Bay is one of the world's most famous (and best) surfing locations. Primarily known for its… read more »

  • Paternoster beach // Western Cape

    Paternoster beach
    © Adele Van Schalkwyk

    Paternoster is a small, laid back fishing village within a stones throw (well, 150km) of Cape Town. With its attractive cluster of whitewashed cottages and long sweep of pristine sand it is little surprise this is a popular weekend getaway spot for Capetonians. If you are a fan of seafood and like long walks on white sand beaches, watching the sun set, then Paternoster is… read more »

  • Durban North Beach // KwaZulu-Natal

    Durban North Beach
    © Michael Jung

    Set to the North of the harbour (hence the North bit) running from the Bay of Plenty and Dairy Beach is Durban's North Beach. The beach sits at the heart of the much redeveloped Durban beach-front which is aptly named "Golden Mile" or "Durbs by the sea" as some locals call it. Development of the Golden Mile began back in the 1970s when it became… read more »

  • Bloubergstrand // Western Cape

    Bloubergstrand
    © SkyPixels / CC BY

    Bloubergstrand is a suburb of on the northern fringes of Cape Town. Its meaning is literally "Blue Mountain Beach", which is owed to the fact that in the middle of the day, the rising oil on the eucalyptus leaves refracts the sun and makes the haze look blue from a distance.

    The "mountain" part refers to Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain which can clearly… read more »

  • Scarborough // Western Cape

    Scarborough
    © SkyPixels / CC BY

    Sitting on Cape Town's exposed Atlantic Seaboard, at the base of the long finger-like peninsula which extends to the Cape of Good Hope, is the little beachside village of Scarborough. Despite being only a short drive from the city the beach here feels pretty wild and sits on the edge of the Cape Point Nature Reserve. The large swathe of white sand beach is backed… read more »