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Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

The 10 Best Beaches in South Africa

Traveller sat at Park Guell, Barcelona

By Sarah Hemsley

Last updated: 13th June 2024

When someone mentions South Africa, the first thing that comes to mind is probably its unforgettable safari parks and game drives. But did you know it’s home to some of the world's most incredible beaches? Now you do! Here are the best beach spots in South Africa to visit and why: 

1. Boulders Beach, Cape Town

Penguins on Boulders Beach in South Africa

Ideal for: Spotting penguins

No list of ‘the best beaches in South Africa’ is complete without the mention of Cape Peninsula, particularly Boulders Beach! You know the one. It's the beach crowded with a local tribe of African penguins waddling around. These adorable birds are a must-see in South Africa. Spot them on day 1 of our 11-day Sunsets & Safaris group tour. Land in Cape Town, drop off your bags and head straight to the penguins.

2. Camps Bay, Cape Town

Camps Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

Ideal for: Sunbathing & cocktails

Not far from Cape Town city centre is the gorgeous Camps Bay. This stunning beach is much-loved by locals and tourists alike. Spend your time here sunbathing on the golden sands, playing volleyball or sipping on cocktails in one of its many trendy bars and restaurants. Admire stunning views of Table Mountain’s peaks and an unbeatable sunset. 

3. Clifton Beaches 1-4, Cape Town

Clifton 4th Beach in Cape Town

Ideal for: White sand & nightlife

Not just one, but four, of the best beaches in South Africa lay just north of Camps Bay on the western coast of Cape Town. These popular spots are a favourite with locals due to their sugary white sand, majestic water and thriving nightlife scene. Clifton 4th Beach is the most favourable as it holds a Blue Flag Status - meaning it’s one of the cleanest, safest and eco-friendly beaches, also offering great facilities. 

4. Knysna, Western Cape

Knysna, South Africa

Ideal for: Culture & seafood

Head out of Cape Town to the stunning coastal town of Knysna, on our 7-day Garden Route Road Trip. Picture shimmering lagoons, sandy beaches, and the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted. Spend your evening indulging on Knysna’s finest oysters and washing them down with a delicious South African white wine. If you want to delve into South Africa’s rich culture, Knysna is the ideal destination. Opt to take a fascinating township tour to discover Xhosa culture. 

5. Tsitsikamma National Park, Eastern Cape

Storms River Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park

Ideal for: Hiking & nature

Just along the garden route from Knysna is Tsitsikamma National Park. This stunning location offers endless beautiful beaches and coastal views. Surrounded by incredible rivers, waterfalls and coastal scenery, it’s a place where you can embrace your sense of adventure. You could kayak to Storms River or hike to the breathtaking Storms River Bridge, either way, the views across the park are surreal.

6. Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape

Traveller surfing at Jeffreys Bay

Ideal for: Waves & surfing

Further on from ​Tsitsikamma National Park, is one of the best surf spots in the world - Point Beach, Jeffreys Bay. This famous location hosts competitions attracting advanced surfers from across the world. Why, you ask? Because of its super long, steady, and perfectly-curved right-hand point break. This phenomenon means you can ride the waves with ease like never before! It’s a surfer's dream, no matter if you’re a pro or just starting out. 

7. Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape

Plettenberg Bay Beach

Ideal for: Surfing & wildlife

The next stop on our Garden Route Road Trip is another lush spot for surfers! Whilst here head to the sandy Central Beach & Lookout Beach for the best surf breaks in Plettenberg Bay. Or if you’re a wildlife lover, take an optional ocean safari to possibly spot whales and dolphins playing in their natural habitat.

8. Hermanus, Western Cape

Hermanus, Western Cape in South Africa

Ideal for: Shark conservation

Speaking of wildlife, sharks are a vital part of keeping our oceans healthy, but they’re often misunderstood. The best place to learn about this incredible species is to visit the shark conservation project in Hermanus. This non-profit organisation takes pride in protecting sharks and the ocean environment to create a better future (for sharks and the planet!) Your visit here is included on day 6 of the Garden Route Road Trip.

9. Bloubergstrand, Cape Town

View of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand Beach

Ideal for: Kitesurfing & photography

Now we’re heading back to Cape Town for the best view of Table Mountain. Photographers, get your camera ready! From the gorgeous stretches of sand, you can spot the incredible Table Mountain in all its glory. Plus, this beach is renowned for kitesurfing, so spot kitesurfers doing their thing on the twinkling water, or give it a go yourself!

10. Paternoster, Western Cape

Paternoster, South Africa

Ideal for: Scenery & fishing

Last but not least, if you’ve got spare time to explore, head up to Paternoster on a day trip. You may even spot giraffes and ostriches on the drive-up!  It’s one of the oldest fishing villages on the Western Cape and the beaches and sunsets don’t disappoint. Here you’ll enjoy dreamy sands and turquoise waters, surrounded by dainty white-washed cottages.

 

If you’re planning a trip to South Africa soonbe sure to consider these dreamy beach spots to your itinerary or check out a group tour for a memorable adventure with some of these best beaches in South Africa included! 

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