The 19 Best Cape Town Beaches

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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.

  • 1. Camps Bay

    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

    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

    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. Clifton Beach

    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 »

  • 5. Hout Bay

    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 »

  • 6. Fish Hoek

    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 »

  • 7. Glencairn Beach

    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 »

  • 8. 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 by low dunes and heath… read more »

  • 9. 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 from kitesurfing and kite-yachting to… read more »

  • 10. Bloubergstrand

    © SkyPixels / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    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 be seen across Table Bay.… read more »

  • 11. Milnerton Beach

    Milnerton Beach
    © Milnerton Beach / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    You can find Milnerton Beach around 11 kilometres or 20 minutes from the centre of Cape Town in the area known as Blaauwberg. While drawing visitors from right across the region as a result of its fantastic views of Table Mountain, its delightful white sands actually remain something of an open secret.

    Patrolled by lifeguards during the peak December season, the waters here are a little chilly compared to other beaches… read more »

  • 12. 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 around 40km (25 miles) around to Gordons… read more »

  • 13. St James Beach

    St James Beach
    © Lennon Fletcher / CC BY

    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 seaside resort.

    St James is perhaps… read more »

  • 14. Sandy Bay

    Sandy Bay
    © Gary Bembridge / CC BY

    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, Sandy Bay is a pretty stretch of white sand strewn with huge slabs of granite. The… read more »

  • 15. Seaforth Beach

    Seaforth Beach
    © Kostas Limitsios / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Though narrow, at 600 metres long Seaforth Beach in the Simons Town suburb of Cape Town has one spectacular surprise for the unprepared – penguins. Best witnessed in the early morning just after sunrise and in the early evening at sunset, African penguins waddle happily along the sands of Seaforth Beach from their better-known colony at nearby Boulders Beach.

    However, that's not the only reason to visit Seaforth Beach if… read more »