Cape Town Beaches, South Africa

/ The Beaches of Cape Town
Western Cape Attractions

Cape Town Beaches, Western Cape

Cape Town's most famous beach, Clifton
Cape Town's most famous beach, Clifton

The Mother City has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and something to offer everyone. It is no surprise that South Africa was one of the first countries outside of Europe to earn blue flag status for some of her beaches - there are three on offer in and around Cape Town.

The blend of 2 oceans (the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean) and hence 2 different styles of beach, divided by a 1000m high peninsula, leaves Cape Town an unrivalled holiday destination.

The west side of the Cape Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, has a very definite style of beach. This is where the more fashionable set go to see and be seen, particularly along the Atlantic Seaboard, also known as Cape Town’s "Riviera", which stretches from the V&A Waterfront on the north shore of Table Mountain up as far as Hout Bay and is connected by one of the most picturesque, scenic drives along Victoria Road.

Camps Bay Beach on the Atlantic Seaboard
Camps Bay Beach on the Atlantic Seaboard
Beaches here enjoy longer sunshine hours, incomparable sunsets and more protection from the "Cape Doctor" (Cape Town’s infamous south easterly) than the False Bay side of the Cape peninsula. There is a spectacular selection of unspoilt beaches with seas that are usually 3 to 4 degrees colder than the Indian Ocean but this doesn’t seem to worry anyone soaking up the sun against the backdrop of blue skies and white sands.

North of the Atlantic Seaboard are the beaches of Blaauwberg and Table Bay. These sport the picture-postcard views of Cape Town over Table Mountain and Robben Island and tend to be more popular with locals, particularly kitesurfers. Beyond Hout Bay, beaches such as Noordhoek and Scarborough are less frequented but no less beautiful, rather they’re where the locals can get away from the crowds.

St James Beach on the Indian Ocean Coast
St James Beach on the Indian Ocean Coast
The east side of the peninsula, on the warmer Indian Ocean, is generally more laid back and not as frenetic as the Atlantic coastline, although in peak season these family oriented beaches can still become pretty busy. These beaches are favoured by locals who live in the southern suburbs of Cape Town who don’t need to drive far to get to a beach.

False Bay is a huge arc that curves from the Helderberg beaches on the east side of the bay to Cape Point on the west end.

Some argue that the closer beaches are to Cape Point the colder they are but the general rule of thumb for beaches on the Indian Ocean is that they’re three to four degrees warmer than the Atlantic beaches. These are great swimming beaches. Most of them are manned by lifeguards and shallow waters extend quite far out so that swimming and paddling are relatively safe.

Additional Reading:
If you are planning to spend time on any of Cape Town's glorious beaches during your holiday in the Cape, see our articles ...
Cape Town's 5 top beaches with kids, top 3 fashionable beaches, top 3 beaches to avoid...
A Beach in Cape Town for every time under the sun
Surfing in Cape Town
Diving in Cape Town.

Cape Town Beaches

Atlantic Ocean Beaches

Table Bay Beaches

Where: North of Clifton, ± 20 km from Cape Town
Includes: Blouberg’s Big Bay and Little Bay, Table View, Dolphin and Milnerton

Go there for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kite flying, swimming, paddle skiing ...
see the beaches of table bay

Atlantic Seaboard Beaches

Where: From the V&A Waterfront to Hout Bay
Includes: Clifton, Camps Bay, Bakoven, Llandudno, Hout Bay

Go there to be seen, to people watch, for less wind, tanning, swimming, sundowners ...
see the beaches of the atlantic seaboard

South Atlantic Beaches

Where: South of Hout Bay stretching to Cape Point
Includes: Noordhoek, Long Beach, Witsands, Misty Cliffs, Scarborough

Go there for walking, horse riding, surfing, natural beauty and to escape the crowds ...
see the beaches of the south atlantic

Cape Town Beaches

Indian Ocean Beaches

False Bay Beaches

Where: The western coast of False Bay, from Cape Point to the start of the Helderberg
Includes: Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Boulders, Smitswinkelbaai, Macassar

Go there for swimming, sun bathing, paddling, walking, surfing, body boarding ...
see the beaches of false bay

Cape Helderberg Beaches

Where: The eastern coast of False Bay, ± 45 minutes from Cape Town
Includes: Gordons Bay, Strand, Bikini beach, Kogel Bay

Go there for family outings, swimming, sun bathing, windsurfing, surfing, fishing ...
see the beaches of the cape helderberg

Also see

Outside of Cape Town

Hermanus Beaches

Where: +/- 2 hours drive from Cape Town on the south coast of the Western Cape
Includes: Onrus Beach, Grotto Beach, Kammabaai and Langbaai Beach

Go there for whale watching, sun bathing, swimming, angling, surfing ...
see the beaches in Hermanus

View Western Cape Destinations

Visiting the Cape
Also see Cape Town Events to see whats happening or check out Things To Do in Cape Town to view activities by category, including water sports, sightseeing activities, arts & crafts and many more.

South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. With eight world heritage sites, a multitude of game reserves and national parks, over 1350 ha of national botanical gardens, and exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture, South Africa offers the traveller a unique and inspiring experience. Enjoy your stay in Cape Town!
The Beaches of Cape Town, South Africa
Western Cape / Cape TownWestern Cape