When you combine the plethora of Blue Flag beaches with the country’s gorgeous scenery, delectable food scene, and fascinating culture, South Africa is a destination that deserves more than one visit.
And while the shining stars of the country’s beaches are in Cape Town, those willing to venture off the beaten track will find a treasure trove of unspoilt coastline.
So if you want to plan a trip around sun-worshipping, here are some of the best beaches in South Africa you need to add to your bucket list.
Grab your flip flops, and get ready to drool.
The Best Beaches in South Africa
- 1 The Best Beaches in South Africa
- 1.1 1. Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town
- 1.2 2. Llandudno Beach in Cape Town
- 1.3 3. Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay
- 1.4 4. Grotto Beach in Hermanus
- 1.5 5. Dolphin Beach & Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay
- 1.6 6. Kraalbaai in West Coast National Park
- 1.7 7. Thonga Beach in Kwa-Zulu Natal
- 1.8 8. Clifton Beach in Cape Town
- 1.9 9. Cape Vidal in Kwa-Zulu Natal
- 1.10 10. Boulders Beach in Cape Town
- 2 Seas the Day
- 3 Subscribe
1. Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town
There are many beaches in Cape Town well worth a visit, but a trip to Camps Bay is non-negotiable.
With white-sand beaches, the towering 12 Apostles mountain range in the background, trendy nearby cafes and views for days, it’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa.
Imagine lounging on the pristine beach underneath a swaying palm tree as a pizza is delivered straight to your beach towel.
Local Italian restaurant, Col Cacchio lets you phone in your order, and voila!
Delicious, wood-fired pizza without moving a muscle.
2. Llandudno Beach in Cape Town
Just down the road from Camps Bay beach is the uber-exclusive neighbourhood of Llandudno. Nestled between some of the most expensive mansions in the city, it boasts one of the best beaches in Cape Town.
The turquoise waters, soft white sand, and large granite boulders make Llandudno Beach look like a slice of the Seychelles – without the hefty price tag.
Surfers flock here to tackle ‘The Gat’ aka The Hole – a surf spot known for its mammoth waves.
If you’re more of a hiker, Llandudno Beach is near the start of the Oudeschip hiking trail. The path hugs the coastline, cuts through South Africa’s popular nudist beach, Sandy Bay, and ends at the Harvest Capella Shipwreck.
3. Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay
Along the East coast of South Africa is the iconic Garden Route – a top tier road trip destination that can take WEEKS to explore in its entirety.
So it’s not surprising it’s home to some of the best beaches in South Africa. The crowning jewel in the Garden Route’s crown? Robberg Beach.
Located in the sleepy coastal town of Plettenberg Bay, it stretches for 4km from the Beacon Isle Hotel to Robberg Nature Reserve.
During the winter months, the beach offers some of the area’s best shore-based whale spotting, and you can usually see dolphins playing in the surf as well!
Head inside Robberg Nature Reserve and tackle the hiking trail to find a more secluded beach. Along the way, you can usually see (more like smell) the local bob of seals, and if you’re lucky, a Great White stalking its mid-afternoon snack.
Entrance: Free or R50.00 per person to get into Robberg Nature Reserve
4. Grotto Beach in Hermanus
Speaking of whale watching, it doesn’t get better than the Blue Flag Grotto Beach in Hermanus.
Touted as a premier whale-watching destination, you can glimpse these gentle giants nursing their young while lounging on your beach towel.
The massive beach is 18km long and has more than enough space for everyone (even in the busy summer months).
5. Dolphin Beach & Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay
Next to the Garden Route is where you’ll find another top South Africa destination: Jeffreys Bay, or as the locals call it, J-Bay.
Known around the world as the surf capital of South Africa, surfers from around the world flock here to ride the iconic right-hand wave at Supertubes.
It’s considered one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world and the annual World Surf League (WSL) holds its championship on the beach every July.
For sunseekers, head 2km down the road to the Blue Flag Dolphin Beach. As its moniker suggests, it’s a fantastic place to spot dolphins as you unwind on one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in South Africa.
6. Kraalbaai in West Coast National Park
Drive one-hour up the coast from Cape Town, and you’ll arrive at the coastal paradise of West Coast National Park.
The area is living proof that Mother Nature loves to show off her skills from time-to-time.
Kraalbaai Beach offers beach-goers crystal clear turquoise waters, and jaw-dropping scenery that feels like a part of the Maldives got lost.
As you drive in from the entrance, keep an eye out for Red Hartebeest, Eland, Springbok and Caracals. And if you’re beach hopping in the spring (September), you’ll be greeted with hundreds of blooming wildflowers!
In true South African fashion, there’s plenty of spots to set up a braai. Pack yourself some boerewors, “Klippies en Cola” and spend the entire day splashing around in the lagoon, kayaking or kiteboarding.
Entrance: R64.00 for South African citizens and R94.00 for SADC nationals and international travellers.
7. Thonga Beach in Kwa-Zulu Natal
It’s not hard to see why Thonga Beach is one of the best South African beaches.
This glittering jewel in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal boasts incredible snorkelling and off-shore scuba diving.
More than 1,200 fish species call the reef here home, and there are dive sites for newly minted Open Water divers to more experienced Dive Masters.
Plus, if you time your trip just right, you can watch endangered sea turtles lay their eggs, or the hatchlings breaking free from the sand and racing to the ocean.
The only snag? It is a private beach in South Africa. You’ll need to check-in to Thonga Beach Lodge to experience this part of the Elephant Coast.
8. Clifton Beach in Cape Town
When most travellers picture a beach day in Cape Town, Clifton Beach is usually at the forefront of their mind.
Serving up not one, not two, not three but FOUR beaches of white sand and gigantic boulders, its incredible scenery makes it a top sunset spot in Cape Town, and an all-around crowd-pleaser.
Besides the serene views, the coastline is between Three Anchor Bay and Camps Bay takes the title as the most expensive suburb in South Africa.
As you devour your latest summer read on the beach, the luxurious houses of Cape Town’s millionaires will look down on you with their yachts bobbing in the distance.
It’s basically South Africa’s version of St Tropez!
No wonder Black Mirror decided to use Clifton as the filming location for their “San Junipero” episode. A fictional town where Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is a Place on Earth plays for eternity in the background.
9. Cape Vidal in Kwa-Zulu Natal
Cape Vidal is located inside iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a 3h 30min drive from the bustling city of Durban.
This remote slice of South Africa offers up unspoiled landscapes, log cabins a stone’s throw from the beach and enough adventure activities to keep you busy for your entire trip.
But what makes Cape Vidal truly magical are the wildlife sightings. Situated inside the park, you won’t have to look hard to spot hippos, monkeys, buck and other animals roaming about.
Entrance: R51.00 per person + R5.00 community levy + R61.00 per car with 1-5 passengers
10. Boulders Beach in Cape Town
Of course, no best beaches in South Africa list is complete without a mention of Boulders Beach.
After all, it’s not every day that you can take a dip in the ocean and swim past wild African penguins!
Located in Simon’s Town along the Cape Peninsula, it’s the perfect pitstop en route to Cape Point National Park.
The beach (albeit small) has some of the bluest water you’ll ever see, and the large granite boulders protect it from strong currents, making it one of the best swimming beaches in Cape Town.
If you want to get the most out of a beach day here, check the tides. At high tide, most of the beach disappears, and you’ll be left fighting for an inch of space with other beachgoers.
Low-tide on the hand is when the penguins are most active, and more beach is available for you to set up your umbrella and enjoy a day in the sun.
Entrance: R39.00 for South Africans (must show a valid ID), R76.00 for SADC nationals and R152.00 for foreign travellers.
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