South Africa boasts some of the finest beaches in the world. From the pristine coastal stretch of Kwazulu Natal's Cape Vidal to the Eastern Cape's wildest Wild Coast…, from the penguin colony of Boulders Beach in the Western Cape to the sun-drenched shores of Camps Bay - when it comes to beaches, we win, hands down.
Long Beach, Noordhoek - Western CapeThe Blue Flag concept is an international campaign that has been keenly adopted by South African tourism, environmental and hospitality authorities. The Blue Flag award is a way of informing local and foreign visitors that accredited beaches are clean, safe and most importantly - environmentally safe. Currently, the following beaches have Blue Flag status:
Cape Town Municipality:
Clifton 4th Beach - Cape Town
Mnandi Beach - Strandfontein
Grotto Beach - Hermanus
Kleinmond Beach - Kleinmond
Dolphin Beach - Jeffrey's Bay
Nelson Mandela Municipality:
Humewood Beach - Port Elizabeth
Wells Estate - north of Port Elizabeth
Hibberdene - South Coast
Penguin at Boulder's BeachLucien Beach - South Coast
Margate Main Beach - South Coast
Marina/San Lameer - South Coast
Ramsgate - South Coast
South Beach - Durban
Umhlanga Rocks - north of Durban
It must be said that our beaches are so much more than a haven for sun-worshippers and surfers….. there is so much to see and do along our dramatic coastline. Here are some of the choice beaches in South Africa:
Camps Bay Beach - Cape Town:
Camps Bay beach in Cape Town is undoubtedly the Western Cape's answer to St Tropez, the Gold Coast and LA's Venice Beach all rolled into one. The beautiful beach is a popular haunt of the fashionistas of the world and offers spectacular views of Lion's Head and the Twelve Apostles. Sunsets on Camps Bay beach are a real treat….and if you have had enough of beach life, the trendy restaurants and bars nearby are perfect for a delicious meal or a spectacular sundowner.
Clifton - Cape Town:
Clifton lies on the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town and is known by film crews and fashion magazines around the world as `the perfect beach location'. Enormous granite boulders divide the four sandy beaches that make up Clifton. This is the Cape's millionaire's row and the beach is the favourite spot for international models and film-stars, although our local folk love it too….!
Blouberg Beach - Cape Town:
For lovers of photography, Bloubergstrand (Blouberg beach) in Cape Town is the perfect spot to take fantastic pictures of Table Mountain. If the weather is clear then this beach also offers the opportunity to snap up your own memories of Robben Island - Nelson Mandela's famous prison `home' for over twenty years. There are super outdoor restaurants nearby for snacks-on-the-run or lazy lunches.
Boulders Beach - Cape Town:
The famous Boulders Beach in Simon's Town is certainly not your average sea, sun and swimming kind of beach. This well-known tourist spot is home to the jackass penguins (or African penguins) - and for locals and international visitors a visit to this fascinating habitat is a real treat. Boulders falls under the Cape Peninsula National Park and there is a small entrance fee for visitors, which covers the upkeep of this natural sanctuary. A visit to Boulders offers fantastic photographic opportunities and the enormous granite boulders that give the beach its name are the perfect backdrop to any picture.
Kites on Grotto Beach - Hermanus:
The sleepy town of Hermanus is known for one thing: whale watching. Tourists love to visit this part of the world during Spring to catch a glimpse of the famous Southern Right Whales that are abundant in this region. Grotto Beach in Hermanus was recently awarded Blue Flag status for the 3rd time in a row because of its pristine environmental standards and excellent facilities.
One of the friendliest family beaches in the Western Cape, Muizenberg can be found on the False Bay seaboard. It must be noted that the ocean here is several degrees warmer than that of the Atlantic seaboard, which makes it very popular with those who love to swim. Muizenberg offers fantastic sunsets and is the ideal spot for a relaxed beach picnic. Nearby, are a few lovely restaurants that offer exquisite freshly caught seafood. Not to be missed.
The Garden Route is known for its natural scenic beauty. Not only is the area a forest within a forest, the beaches are spectacular.
Noetzie in Knysna:
A little way from the arty town of Knysna, you will find the little town of Noetzie, famous for the three romantic beach castles situated on the beach, and keen photographer's can't help but snap up the opportunity to take pictures. Not too far away you'll find the pristine sands of Buffels Bay, definitely worth a visit for some serious rest and relaxation.
Beach in Plettenberg Bay:
`Plett' is one of South Africa's favourite holiday playgrounds, and for good reason. The gorgeous bay is home to two incredible beaches, namely Robberg and Lookout Beach. Robberg beach is a real winner with visitors for it's whale watching success rate and Lookout Beach offers incredible views of the Outeniqua Mountain range. Lookout, predictably, is the perfect spot to catch a bright pink sunset…..as it fades over the ocean's horizon.
The beaches of KwaZulu-Natal are a veritable wonderland for any outdoor-lover. The Natal coastline is blessed with fantastic weather all year round and the beaches along both North and South Coasts are absolutely sublime.
The Eastern Cape is home to some fine beaches. The beaches of Port Elizabeth and East London are surfing hotspots and the Wild Coast is famous for its craggy landscapes and extravagantly beautiful beaches that go on as far as the eye can see.
Cape Vidal, Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park
The beach at Cape Vidal in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park has to be one of the finest in the country. Here, long stretches of snow-white sand go on forever and ever…. This is a wonderful spot for a long, languid stroll followed by a dip in the ocean to cool off. It is a real adventure to explore the many rock pools along this beach, and the area is also known as an excellent spot to sight humpback whales during October.
Not too far away from the bustling city centre of Durban lies Umhlanga Rocks. The beaches of Umhlanga come alive during the South African school holidays, and offer a veritable feast of fun for the whole family. Wonderful rock pools, excellent swimming areas, warm tidal pools and a bona fide working lighthouse all make a visit to Umhlanga a worthwhile experience. Of course the fact that the beachfront restaurants and ice-cream parlours are just a stone's throw from the ocean are also a major plus factor.
Durban South Beach, Durban
South Beach is known to some as the Miami of Durban. This fantastic beach has achieved Blue Flag status because of its pristine condition, and locals as well as our international visitors absolutely adore the place. There is so much to do at this beachfront - why not visit the Sea World aquarium and enjoy the antics of performing dolphins and penguins, or visit the shark tank and test your nerves. Alongside the beachfront there are local hawkers selling authentic goods - Zulu beadwork and baskets, beautiful woodwork and handicrafts - and you may even get to catch a ride with the local rickshaw….!
Margate, South Coast
Margate Beach lies along what is known as the Hibiscus Coast, and is the fun capital of the Kwa Zulu-Natal South Coast. A fantastic stretch of beach draws the crowds during holiday season. This is hot chocolate sundae and hamburger heaven…and that's just for starters. There is lots to see and do in an around Margate's Main Beach, so don't forget to visit the local restaurants, shop up a storm at the village shops or lose your heart to the local artists and their beautiful wares. Margate's Main beach has also been awarded Blue Flag status for the quality experience it offers to visitors and for the fact that the area is environmentally sound.
Port St John's, Wild Coast
A favourite destination along the Wild Coast, Port St John's offers up an incredible stretch of coastline. Second Beach at Port St John's is a tropical paradise and nature lovers find it hard to leave this haven. The beaches of Port St John's are fantastic for swimming and a nearby lagoon is a great place to have fun in the sun.
Humewood Beach, Port Elizabeth
The friendly city is known for its wonderful beaches, protected gently by the curves of Algoa Bay. These sandy playgrounds are superbly safe for swimming and surfing. King' Beach is a favourite, but it's Humewood Beach that is hauling in the accolades. The beach recently won Blue Flag status and for good reason. Not only does the beach offer best environmental practice, there are also top-class facilities for visitors. Don't forget to include a visit to the nearby Snake Park and witness the playfulness of the dolphins at the Oceanarium.
East London's Best
A visit to the laid back city of East London would not be complete without exploring the thriving beach culture. The beachfront area is a wonderful combination of sand dunes, rock outcrops and wonderful views of the ocean. Orient Beach is great for swimming, and the black rocks of Eastern Beach are great for taking photographs and exploration. Nahoon Beach and Gonubie Beach are spectacular for long walks.