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The city of Cape Town, South Africa abounds in natural beauty – from mountain tops to vineyards to an incredible shoreline. While there are numerous Cape Town tourist attractions to see, the Cape Town beaches are not to be missed!
In fact, it would be easy to spend entire Cape Town holiday on the soft sand beaches. Taking daily beach walks in the morning, dipping into the turquoise waters in the afternoon and gazing at the sunset over the ocean in the evening makes for an ideal Cape Town vacation!
The 3 Best Cape Town Beaches
During our visit to the city, we were staying in Hout Bay – and as we traveled from the Cape Town airport to our apartment, we got our first glimpse at the stunning Cape Town beaches along the dramatic western coastline. We were absolutely mesmerized by the view of the South African shoreline…and knew it would be where we would spend much of our time.
The high cliffs, extensive stretches of powder white sand and intense blue water are the common characteristics of the best beaches in Cape Town. The beaches near Cape Town CBD are a must-see when visiting the Mother City. Our list of beaches of Cape Town includes the top beaches – as well as a Cape Town map of beaches and helpful trip planning information.
#1 Clifton Beach, Cape Town
Located closest to Cape Town CBD, Clifton Beach, South Africa often ranks in worldwide Top 10 Beaches Lists – and makes almost every list of Best Beaches in South Africa. It’s easy to see why – as the Clifton beaches are pristine.
Clifton Bay Cape Town is one of the most affluent neighborhoods with some of the most prestigious Cape Town homes overlooking the famed stretch of sand. Clifton Beach is comprised of 4 beaches – simply numbered 1 through 4. The beaches are easily accessed from Victoria Road.
The southernmost Clifton Beach, #4, was awarded the Blue Flag for its high standards and is the most popular of the four.
#2 Camps Bay, Cape Town
The Camps Bay beach, just south of Clifton Beach, is the second most-popular of the Cape Town, South Africa beaches. The Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town faces directly west out to the Atlantic Ocean – which makes it a great sunset beach in Cape Town.
The famous Cape Town mountain – Table Mountain National Park, along with the famed Twelve Apostles Mountain – proudly stands in the background. The scene is truly picture-perfect.
The Camps Bay Beach South Africa has fine, white sand and the beach is wide and long – perfect for walking. The main street that runs parallel to the shore offers several beachfront Cape Town bars and restaurants with ocean-view seating. The Chinchilla Rooftop Cafe is a top-rated beach bar in Cape Town.
Top Tip: Glen Beach marks the north end of Camps Bay. It is known to be a quieter beach with big boulders and soft sand – and it’s a great surfing spot.
#3 Hout Bay, Cape Town
The Hout Bay Beach is crescent-shaped South Africa beach surrounded by mountains on three sides. The beach, which is popular with local families and residents, marks the beginning of the Chapman’s Peak Drive.
With the nearby marina and market, making a trip to the Hout Bay Beach can become a full-day outing. For tips of how to spend your day, read out list of Top Things To Do in Hout Bay.
Top Tip: Sandy Bay, located on the west coast of the Hout Bay neighborhood, is a secret beach that can be accessed by a short trek. Just be aware that it is frequented by nudist beach goers.
More Beaches in Cape Town, South Africa: False Bay
We have highlighted our three favorite Cape Town beaches that are closest to the Cape Town CBD – but the beaches on False Bay are worth making the effort to see. Fellow travelers may want to include the following False Bay beaches in their Cape Town Itinerary.
Kalk Bay Beaches
There are several exceptional beaches around Kalk Bay worth visiting. Fish Hoek Beach is a pleasant beach that is ideal for swimming and whale spotting.
St. James Beach is a top spot for tidal rock pools and is memorable for the colorful beach shacks that line the shore.
Muizenberg Beach is a favored surfing beach and also features vividly painted beach huts.
Boulders Beach is best known for the colony of penguins that resides on it – but it’s also a fabulous place for swimming, strolling and simply enjoying the sea air.
Nearby Windmill Beach and Fisherman’s Beach are surrounded by large granite boulders, creating sublime swimming holes. Plus, it’s a fantastic place for kayaking.
Pro Tip: Use our Guide to Visiting the Simon’s Town Penguins.
Dias Beach (or Diaz Beach)
Located on the southern tip of Cape Point, Dias Beach is a remote beach that sits between the Cape Point Nature Reserve and the Cape of Good Hope. In order to get to the beach, trekkers must use the boardwalk pathway.
Cape Town Beaches Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive, online map that will help you to find your way to the Best Cape Town Beaches!
Planning a Vacation to Cape Town Beaches
Now that you know where to find the best beaches in Cape Town, we have a few tips that will help you plan your trip to South Africa!
Cape Town Beach Vacations: Where To Stay
During our visit to Cape Town, we wanted to be close to beaches, with an easy route to the city. We settled on staying in Hout Bay in an Airbnb apartment.
It was within easy walking distance to the Hout Bay Beach. Furthermore, to get around, we could hop on a city bus or the Hop On Hop Off bus to get to the CBD to see Cape Town Sights – as well as area attractions, like Cape Town Vineyards.
Travelers who would rather stay in a hotel in Hout Bay should check price and availability at the seaside Chapman Peak Beach Hotel.
Hotels near Camps Bay
If you are looking for more Cape Town waterfront hotels, there are many to choose from around Camps Bay. We recommend looking at the Camps Bay Hotel, The Bay Hotel. It is a popular choice for Cape Town beach getaways!
What You Will Need for a Trip to Cape Town
Travelers planning to visit beaches in Cape Town will want to make sure they pack the right things for their trip. We have a few tips on what to pack for South Africa – but you can find our complete packing list and top packing hacks on our Travel Packing page.
The Right Shoes for Your Trip
You may think you will be fine going barefoot to the beaches in Cape Town, but we can assure you that you will need shoes. We recommend packing a comfortable sandal or flip flops that will protect your feet from hot sand and will withstand the steep trails and stairs that are required to get to some of the best Cape Town beaches. Find our top picks in our write up of Best Travel Shoes.
Water Protection Case
Water and cell phones do not mix! Don’t let a water-ruined phone ruin your trip to Cape Town beaches. Pack a waterproof case in your day bag where you can store your handheld electronics while at the beach.
While some Cape Town hotels provide beach towels, not all do. Rather than taking up precious room in your luggage with a bulky beach towel, pack a multi-use wrap that is thinner and lighter…and functions perfectly fine as a beach towel.
The sun in Cape Town is intense – and even more so on the water. Be sure to bring enough sunscreen for your trip. We also recommend bringing a good pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed travel hat, as well as your other everyday travel items.
South Africa Travel Insurance
More For Your Trip To Cape Town
Read our top tips and detailed guides to plan your Cape Town trip!
- Visiting Table Mountain
- A Cape Town Walking Tour
- Best Cape Town Itinerary
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Cape Town Wine Tasting
- Penguins Of Boulders Beach
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