Best beaches in Cape Town

South Africa's most cosmopolitan city is also home to some of the world's finest beaches. Set amongst some spectacular natural scenery the beaches here can be divided into three distinct regions. To the east of the imposing Cape Peninsula are the long, sweeping sandy beaches of False Bay such as Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. These beaches are slightly more sheltered from the powerful Atlantic waves than the beaches which run along the western side of the Cape Peninsula. False Bay is also home to some of the biggest great white sharks found anywhere in the world although they are mostly concerned with the fur seals which breed on Seal Island several miles offshore.

The beaches of the Atlantic Seaboard are somewhat more spectacular and home to some of the country's most expensive real estate. Camps Bay is a prime example with its powder white sand beach and stunning backdrop of the mountains of the peninsula. The beaches here are often quite small and strewn with large rock formations giving each cove a seperate, more intimate feel.

Heading north along the west coast the beaches once again become wider and flatter with sand dunes replacing mountains as a backdrop. Bloubergstrand is a fine example of such a beach; a short drive from central Cape Town this often windswept coast is popular with kitesurfers, but anyone can enjoy the views back to Table Mountain.

  • Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa jborzicchi

    Camps Bay

    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... read more »

  • Clifton Beach, South Africa Philip Massie

    Clifton Beach

    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,... read more »

  • Hout Bay Werner L

    Hout Bay

    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... read more »

  • Boulders beach, Cape Town

    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... read more »

  • Llandudno beach - Cape Town Gorillabutter / CC BY

    Llandudno Beach

    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... read more »

  • Scarborough beach - South Africa SkyPixels / CC BY

    Scarborough

    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... read more »

  • Noordhoek Strand - Cape Town Abspires40 / CC BY

    Noordhoek

    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... read more »

  • Muizenberg beach huts

    Muizenberg

    Sitting at the western end of the huge curve of sand that make up False Bay, Muizenberg is rightfully one of Cape Town's best known beaches. The beach is around 200 metres of soft white sand which backs onto the laid back seaside town of Muizenberg.

    The sandy stretch which forms the northern shore of False bay itself goes on for ever. Well... read more »

  • Sandy Bay Beach Cape Town Gary Bembridge / CC BY

    Sandy Bay

    One of Cape Town's most inacessible beaches it is not entirely surprising that Sandy Bay is also Cape Town's only recognised naturist beach (although it is still unofficial). The beach is located just around the corner from upmarket Llandudno at the base of the rugged peaks of the Twelve Apostles mountains. Like neighbouring Llandudno... read more »

  • St James Beach - Cape Town Lennon Fletcher / CC BY

    St James Beach

    The Cape Town suburb of St James is located on the western side of False Bay, at the base of the Cape Peninsula. The name relates to the Roman Catholic churhc of St James which was built here in the 19th century for the Filipino fishermen who worked from adjoining Kalk Bay. With the coming of the railway the area flourished, bcoming something of a... read more »

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