We are spoilt for choice in Cape Town when it comes to beaches – spectacular white sandy beaches with a backdrop of scenic mountains. Some are small and sheltered, some are wide and expansive – some are great for watersports or beach activities and some are great for suntanning. Some are great for people watching and some are fabulous for kids – think tidal pools! Whatever your choice – the beaches in the Fairest Cape are a beautiful paradise for sun lovers and beach goers.
The Cape Point Route is quite literally a peninsula jutting into the ocean with two coastlines. In general the water temperature is warmer on the False Bay Coastline but be prepared for cold and refreshing ocean temperatures! The average temperature on the Atlantic coastline is 13°C and on the False Bay Coastline, the average temperature is 17°C.
Hout Bay Beach:
Hout Bay Beach is very popular with families as it is a safe swimming beach and long enough for a good walk or to give the dogs or the kids a run! It’s about 1 kilometre of white sand, although it is “split” in the middle by the Disa Rivers so getting your feet wet is essential to get from one end to the other. There is plenty of parking and the beach is surrounded by restaurants and close to Hout Bay town for additional refreshments and services. Paddlers (surfskiers and kayakers) come to Hout Bay for it’s protected waters. Further out to sea is “Dungeons” which produces monstrous waves braved only by surfers on the “big-wave” circuit. At the end of the beach, under the Sentinel is Hout Bay harbour and the other end is the start of Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Tucked at the bottom of Chapman’s Peak, this long expanse of white sand is very popular for beach walks and beach horse-riding. The Beach is about 4km from the foot of Chapman’s Peak to Klein Slangkop at Kommetjie. Three quarters of the way along the beach is the wreck of the Kakapo which was stranded in 1900, and makes for an excellent walk and photographic opportunity. Noordhoek is also a popular surfing beach including two spots called The Hoek and the Dunes. The backshore of the beach is often covered by a shallow tidal lagoon, much loved by a diversity of seabirds and parents with small children as the powerful surf and strong back current can make swimming dangerous. The beach has soft white sand to walk on and the views of the bay are spectacular. Because of the size of the beach you never get overcrowding that hits other beaches in summer & it serves up some spectacular sunsets. Two commercial centres are close to Noordhoek beach and offer restaurants and refreshments – Noordhoek Farm Village and The Red Herring Centre.
Kommetjie which means “Little Bowl” is named after the circular bowl-like sea basin ”Die Kom” which forms the heart of this quiet rustic seaside village and forms a natural tidal pool. This stretch of coastline is often called Die Kom. Popular for surfers, walkers and birdwatchers . It is one of the few spots on the Cape Peninsula where otters are seen regularly. The Slangkoppunt Lighthouse at the far end of the beach is the beacon and symbol of Kommetjie.
On the North-eastern section is the sandy shore known as Long Beach- a popular spot for Surfers and bodyboarders and this section of the beach is relatively sheltered when the south-easterly wind blows (mostly in summer). Once you round the point at Klein Slangkop you can wade through the Wildevoelvlei outlet stream to connect with Noordhoek Beach.
Soetwater Resort & Beach: Kommetjie
This is coastal resort occupying a narrow strip of land and is popular in summer for braais and picnics for a small entrance fee. There is a campsite and some caravan sites in the resort. There is also an environmental centre which offers educational Camps. Most of the shore is fairly rocky but there are some sandy bays and two large artificial tidal pools for safe swimming. Boat launching is not permitted in Soetwater but the area is popular with crayfish divers who find the crayfish in the dense kelp beds. (permits are required during the crayfish season). There is a good walk to the top of Slangkop (5km return), which starts at the boom on Slangkop Road near the lighthouse.
Literally translated this means white sands so it is no surprise that there is a long stretch of white sandy beach. It’s a steep walk down from the sea cliff road so is often overlooked by motorists headed for Cape Point. There is a boat launching ramp on the adjacent promontory (next to Soetwater). The natural beauty is spectacular yet it remains one of the most uncrowded beaches in the peninsula. Surfers, kite-surfers and windsurfers know it well though – particular on days when the cross shore winds blow.
Misty Cliffs Beach:
Between Witsands and Scarborough is a tiny hamlet with some houses on the mountain slope above the beach. The shore line is rocky with frequently turbulent seas but it is incredibly scenic and lovely for short walks. The area acquired its name from the sea mist that often settles over the hamlet.
This beach curves gently round a small bay and is particularly inviting on a hot summers day. The tropical appearance belies the cold water though! It is often only wetsuit clad surfers, bodyboarders and divers who venture into the water. There is also a strong rip current and a strong shorebreak which is created by the steep beach slope so it is not a popular swimming beach. The Schuster’s River outlet at the southern end of the beach does offer a good paddling spot for children though. It is never very crowded and is also a popular beach for kitesurfers and the point break is frequented by surfers. There is a restaurant in Scarborough town and a small refreshment kiosk ‘Mickey’s Mousetrap’
The Cape of Good Hope Section of Table Mountain National Park Beaches:
Often referred to as “Cape Point” the reserve was incorporated into Table Mountain National Par in 1998 and is a pristine, rugged coastline with nine small secluded beaches. Throughout the reserve you are likely to spot animals such as baboons, bontebok, eland, zebra and ostriches. The area is teeming with birdlife
This beautiful beach is accessed from the first turn-off from the main road after the reserve entrance on the western side of the reserve. It’s a small, sandy beach with a rocky point – and again surfers come to ride the right point-break when there is an incoming tide and the SE wind blows. A small stream flows across the beach into the sea and at times a shallow lagoon forms which attracts a variety of seabirds. Angling, crayfish diving and spear-fishing is prohibited here as it is a ‘no-take’ zone in a marine protected area.
This beach is accessed from the circular drive branching off the main road to Cape Point. A path leads from the parking area on the coastal cliff to a lookout platform with gorgeous views to the north of the bay below. The path descends down a steep slope to the beach below, but once at the bottom it is possible to walk along the coastline to Platboom beach. As such most visitors to this beach are hikers who do the 3 hours circular walk from Gifkommetjie Beach car park to the headland in the north, known as Hoek van Bobbejaan. The coastline below Gifkommetjie is popular for shore anglers.
Access to this beach goes past Dias Cross within Cape Point Nature Reserve and the parking area overlooks a sandy beach. Most visitors have hiked the recommend north-south route from Gifkommetjie (approx 4 km- 2 hour walk) to get there. The beach itself is wild and magical and unspoilt – it has white sandy dunes but there are rocky areas along the edge of the beach and no beach facilities to speak of. There is some wonderful kite and wind surfing – but should only be used if you are experienced as the beach is very exposed. It’s a great spot for picnics but please do not feed the baboons.
This sandy stretch of beach lies just off the northern point of the Cape of Good Hope Promontory – which is the true SW tip of Africa. There are two footpaths that lead to the sandy stretch of beach through some dense fynbos. There are some rock pools , best viewed at spring low tide, allowing for fascinating discoveries of marine life. The fishing and diving here are excellent. It is a great bird watching site as many pelagic birds can be seen soaring on the air currents off the rock ledges.
Dramatically surrounded by sheer craggy cliffs, this beach is situated at the tip of Cape Point. It is one of the most scenically beautiful beaches in Cape Town and probably one of the most photographed too! There is a steep set of wooden stairs that leads down to the beach from the parking lot at Cape Point and although it only takes about 20 minutes -very few people make the effort to walk down as getting up can take twice as long! It is worth the effort to stand on the beach and gaze up at the cliffs and watch the waves crashing against the cliffs. Some intrepid surfers enjoy the barrels but due to the strong currents very few swimmers jump into the ocean. The beach will give you the sensation of the power of nature and on most occasions you will have the beach to yourself.
On the False Bay Coastline you find a sandstone area, with some caves and sea access. This is not strictly speaking a beach but it is a well-known fishing and diving spot that can only be reached via a very steep, zigzagging path down to the rock ledges. Rooikrantz means “red cliffs” and refers to the reddish colour of the sandstone slopes.
Buffels Bay Beach:
This is the Cape of Good Hope‘s most popular recreation area – it is the only sandy beach on the east coast curving gently round a half-moon bay. A tidal pool offers safe swimming and there is a slipway for launching boats. The rocky shoreline to the south has rock pools and gullies to explore and behind this is a long grassy patch dotted with picnic and braai sites. Baboons do associate this area with food leftovers and can be a nuisance. Buffels Bay is frequented by scuba divers viewing the wreck of the Tania and the kelp forests. Spear fishermen and crayfish divers are common and in calm conditions bodysurfers and body boarders enjoy the waves in the bay. It is not uncommon to see sea kayakers having lunch here as their stop on a scenic paddle to Cape Point. Buffels Bay is also a compulsory check point for the annual Cape Point Challenge – a tough srufski race that begins at Witsands and ends in Fish Hoek.
On the other side of the Buffels Bay Beach (but reached by a separate road) is Bordjiesrif which is less crowded than Buffels Bay but is also one of the most sheltered spots in the reserve. Although the shoreline is fairly rocky, there is also a large tidal pool and grassed lawns with picnic sites. It has always been a popular fishing spot (Bordjiesrif – means little plate reef- the shore drops away into kelp beds and relatively deep water) .
Smitswinkel Bay Beach:
This tiny enclave on the eastern border of the reserve is accessed by a 15-20 minute walk down the hill to the beautiful and uncrowded cove. Most people take pictures from the road and don’t venture down to this hamlet where there are a smattering of privately owned holiday homes, with no electricity. The beach itself is quite small but there is a good wave for bodysurfing and it is suitable for swimming. It is good spot to see the licensed trek-fishermen pulling in their haul and there is a lot of activity on the beach when the fishermen come in with a catch as everyone gets involved to help! The striking Judas Peak watches over the beach and the souls who play beach bats & frisbee, picnic, angle, and snorkel there. It is also a popular dive site as during the 1970’s – 5 ships were scuttled in to the bay to form an artificial reef – where there is now an underwater world of fish, corals, anemones and nudibranchs.
Millers Point: Simon’s Town
This is the main boat-launching spot on the southern side of the False Bay Coast so Millers Point is well used by anglers and divers. There are 2 small beaches, a tidal pool and some sheltered coves for excellent snorkelling in the kelp beds around the giant granite boulders. There are some lawns behind the tidal pool with picnic and braai sites. A small fee is charged over weekends and in peak holiday season and there is a boat-launching fee. The area in and around Millers Point is excellent for recreational scuba divers with a choice of popular dive sites including Partridge Point, Castle rock, Pyramid , whittle rock and the Smitswinkel wreck dives. Millers Point is also a launch spot for surfskis and seakayaks.
Fishermans Beach: Simon’s Town
This pretty little beach on the outskirts of Simon’s Town has an arc of white sand and is surrounded by picturesque granite boulders. It’s safe for swimming and snorkelling. There is a lovely grassy slope between the beach and the road offering an alternative place to sunbathe.
Franks Bay Beach: Simon’s Town
Just north of Fisherman’s beach is Frank’s Bay (often called Froggy Pond). This beach is also bordered by the trademark granite boulders of this stretch of coastline which help provide some shelter from the wind. There are shallow rock pools amongst the boulders and a narrow strip of sand which is also strewn with small boulders
Windmill Beach: Simon’s Town
Tucked away behind the golf course, the beach is accesses off Bellevue Road and found at the end of Links road. Windmill Beach is similar to its neighbour Boulders Beach, surrounded by large granite boulders which act as a windbreak making Windmill one of the most sheltered beaches on the False Bay Coastline. The white sandy beach slopes into two gullies. The water is flat and calm so ideal for families with children, due to the safe swimming. There is some excellent snorkelling in the deeper water and it is often used as a training site for novice scuba divers. You can even sometimes spot penguins on this beach.
Although Boulders is famous for its’ penguin colony, the main breeding colony of penguins is actually on Foxy Beach. Boulders itself is still home to penguins and the beach is sheltered by granite boulders creating a natural tidal pool. Voted best beach for kids worldwide by the UK Telegraph one year, it is a great beach for hanging out with your children and seeing one of the Cape’s Star attractions (the penguins) in their natural environment at the same time- this is probably the only beach where a penguin is likely to swim by or waddle past you.! At high tide the white sandy beach can be a bit limited in terms of space, so beachgoers start draping themselves over the boulders instead. Further our snorkellers explore the world under the water and it is not uncommon to see the seakayakers further out. Boulders Beach has been incorporated into Table Mountain National Park and there is a conservation fee to enter the beach. A wooden boardwalk forms a pathway along Willis Walk to the main viewing platforms at Foxy Beach.
Part of Table Mountain National Park – this is the main breeding colony of African Penguins in Simon’s Town. The first breeding pair arrived in the early 1980’s and the colony has now stabilised at approximately 3 500 – 4 000 birds. Visitors cannot actually step onto the sand but there are viewing platforms and sign boards to see the penguins. As of 1 Nov 2013 the entry fee for adults is R55 and R25 for Children.
Seaforth Beach: Simon’s Town
This narrow stretch of sandy beach is about 600m long with lots of parking (mostly used for visitors to the African Penguin Colony however). The beach is next to a restaurant and there are a lot of curio vendors operate stalls next to the parking area. The beach itself is popular with families as the swimming is calm and safe in the shallow water. There is a shaded grassy area for picnics behind the beach.
Simons Town‘s Long Beach:
This long strip of white sand on the edge of Simon’s Town is a gently sloping beach with very few waves. There is no shade and it’s not particularly sheltered from the summer winds but it is well used by the seakayakers and surfskiers who launch and paddle from here (there is also plenty of close, accessible parking)
This beach opposite Dido Valley is not well frequented as there is poor beach access and the train line runs between the road and the beach. It’s not a great beach for swimming or sunbathing but anglers do sometimes cast a line here. A little off-shore lies the wreck of the Clan Stuart – the engine block can be seen above the water so it is a good dive site for novice divers.
Shelley Beach: Glencairn
A tiny sandy cove next to Shelley Point – a small rocky headland. The Beach is accessed from Glencairn station, however it is not well used. The nearby tidal pool at the point is more popular and it is an excellent spot to watch whales in season as this seems to be one of their favourite inshore spots.
Glencairn Beach is a slightly longer sandy beach with fewer crowds than Fish Hoek Beach. It’s a good swimming beach and there can be a few waves for bodyboarders and surfers at the northern end where there is small reef break. On the south side of the beach is a tidal pool for safer swimming. On windy days a few kitesurfers will get some air time. Mostly it is a gentle beach for families and dog walkers.
Fish Hoek Beach :
This is a wonderful beach for long swims in relatively warm safe water and ideal for families. The entire 2km stretch of sand suitable for playing and sunbathing. At high tide the waves can lap against the beachfront promenade. Volunteer lifeguards are on duty on weekends and during the busier summer season. There can be some good breakers for bodyboarding and body surfing, but most surfing will only ride the larger waves at the northern end of the beach on the Clovelly side. The middle section of the beach is used for launching surfkis and hobie cats from the various clubhouses. Licensed Trek fishermen also use the beach and cause a lot of activity when the boat comes in with a catch. There is plenty of parking (pay to enter), a children’s play park and a beachfront restaurant (with a take-away outlet & ice-creams). The catwalk , named Jager’s walk, is a gently undulating path along the seafront to Sunny Cove. Shark spotters are on duty and for the first time a shark exclusion net has been set up for the 2013/2014 summer season. At the Clovelly end of the beach – the Silvermine river flows across the beach into the sea.
Kalk Bay Beach:
Better known for the vibrant fishing harbour and restaurants, there is however a small beach within the harobur precinct where children often swim and play. Due to the harbour activity the water quality is not as good as other beaches in the area. Two tidal pools slightly further along in front of the Brass Bell restaurant provide alternative swimming area. The first tidal pool is known as Bishops Pool and the 2nd one is called Kalk Bay pool.
Dalebrook Beach is a shallow tidal pool and a sandy strip behind the rocky shoreline so it is popular with families. Kids can paddle and explore the rockpools. The adjacent area forms part of the Dalebrook Marine reserve which is a wave cut platform- which has created a shelf of rock and has a rich diversity of intertidal marine life. The beach is accessed via a subway under the train line.
Popular with local residents – this relatively small sandy beach has a strong backwash and large dumping waves but is very well used by surfers who access the reef break that is slightly further out to sea. Access is from the St James tidal pool via a path across the grassed area behind the point.
St James Beach:
St James beach is uniquely picturesque due to the colourful bathing boxes that have given it global fame. It is a sheltered beach with a tidal pool for safe swimming along this rocky stretch of coastline and it is a wonderful beach for families, with a lovely sandy patch of beach. The beach can get crowded on summer weekends. Local surfers ride the reef break here too. Access to the beach is via a subway under the railway line.
The walkway to Muizenberg from St James along the sea wall is a pleasant sea-side stroll.
Known for its surf culture, Muizenberg beach has moderate waves making it ideal for learning to surf. It is a long stretch of beach so you don’t have to hang out with the surf crowd. Long walks, colourful beach huts, a putt-putt(mini golf), an outdoor swimming pool and Super Tube (water slide) make it a great beach to visit. Muizenberg itself is about 200 metres in length but is the first continuous strip of sandy beach that stretch 40km all the way to Gordon’s Bay. Muizenberg has once again been awarded Blue Flag beach status for the summer of 2013/2014. There is plenty of parking along the strip known as surfer’s corner with restaurants, shops and surfing schools. There is a lovely walk along the seafront from Muizenberg to St James. Muizenberg Beach is the main swimming beach (& is sometimes called West Beach, as it lies to the west of the Zandvlei outlet) .
East Beach is on the other side and gives way to Sunrise Beach– with a large parking area & a Sunday flea market. It is also very popular with the kitesurfers due to the prevailing south-easterly winds.
So whether you visit the beach at morning, noon or night, whether you run, walk, surf or swim, whether you are with friends, family or solo – there is a beach to suit your needs in the Cape Peninsula! We welcome you to Beach-ville!
Cape Point Route offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. We will happily arrange group activities, transport and extended programmes.
Call 021 782 9356 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za