February 10, 2020
Who wishes they were in Cape Town right now? We certainly do. To console ourselves, we've picked our five favourite beaches in and around the city so we can gaze at them wistfully while we plan our next trip...
Not only is Llandudno our favourite beach in Cape Town, it’s close to being our favourite beach in the entire world. About 12 miles south of the city along the Atlantic Seaboard, a steep winding road leads down past upmarket holiday homes and apartments to this glorious sandy cove, sheltered either end by giant, smooth granite boulders. It’s a wonderful sunbathing spot, with outstanding sunsets, but the water is jaw-clenchingly freezing so be warned.
Noordhoek is a small hamlet at the southern end of Chapman’s Peak Drive, with a film-set-worthy beach that stretches all the way to the village of Kommetjie about three miles further south (triple that if you were to drive between the two, as the road detours inland). This broad sweep of white sand mainly attracts beachcombers, surfers and horseriders – powerful waves and often fierce winds mean swimmers and sunbathers are better off sticking to more sheltered spots. Try Horseriding Cape Town if you fancy a ride.
Camps Bay is one of the most perfectly situated city beaches in the world and one of the most exclusive places to stay in Cape Town. The beach is backed by tall palms and grassy parkland, and a main drag buzzing with pavement cafes and expensive cars. Beyond the commercial strip, residential roads lined with tucked-away homes snake up over the slopes of the Twelve Apostles, where the clouds roll down from Table Mountain at the end of every day. Camps Bay is easily reached via Cape Town’s excellent hop-on hop-off bus service, so has a good mix of locals and tourists.
Over on the opposite side of the peninsula, Muizenberg had a slightly faded air for many years, though there’s been much regeneration in recent times. But its beach is long and clean, and comes complete with a row of cheery Victorian ‘bathing boxes’ – making this one of the most photographed spots on the Cape. The waters here are safe for swimming, and it’s an excellent spot to learn to surf. Try Gary’s Surf School or Surfshack Surf School for lessons.
Back in the city, the four separate coves that make up fashionable Clifton sit in front of the priciest stretch of real estate in South Africa – hardly surprising when you consider these luxury apartment buildings often have direct beach access and the most coveted views in town. Numbered one to four, the beaches are safe for both swimming and surfing, with First Beach usually the least crowded, Second and Third beaches filled with the young and the beautiful (Third Beach is generally considered a gay-friendly beach), and the Blue Flag Fourth Beach most popular with families, partly due to a less steep approach.
Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to South Africa from London Heathrow.