The Best Beaches in Cape Town - Surfing, Kiteboarding, SUP to Tanning - 2019
While Cape Town is known for its many forms of entertainment, its beaches remain one of its biggest treasures.
Whether you’re a surfer or just a regular beach lover, the Mother City has the perfect spot just for you.
Some of the best spots include Lagoon Beach, Camps Bay Beach, Llandudno beach and of course the beautiful Clifton Beach with its regular festive events.
Many surfers brave the cold waters of Cape Town beaches because of the great surf spots. Families flock to the Mother City because it offers a variety of great activities such as swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach and renting a Stand Up Paddle Board in Camps Bay.
For those who love the more glamorous side of things there are incredible hang-outs such as Shimmy Beach Club and the Grand Beach Café, where you get to enjoy the sand, sun and surf with a cocktail in hand and vibey music that sets the mood.
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Surfing Beaches in Cape Town
The Mother City is known for providing both beginner and experienced surfers with the best surfing spots. Both veterans and paddlers can indulge in perfect waves and wind. Some of the best spots include Big Bay, Muizenberg and Kommetjie.
Learn to Surf
If surfing is your ultimate must-try then the Cape of Good Hope is the place to be. With a variety of perfect surfing beaches and the best instructors available you’ll be catching waves in no time.
There are tons of surf clubs that will fit your budget with affordable board and wetsuit hires and top class lessons.
One of the ultimate surf spots, Muizenberg is known for its multi-coloured beach shacks that line the shore.
It’s the perfect spot for newbies with its beginner-friendly waves and its located just 27km outside of the Central Business District (CBD).
As a beginner, you can book a 2-hour lesson with Gary’s Surf School for R450 per adult. Alternatively, if you are feeling adventurous you can rent a wetsuit (R300) and surfboard (R300) for the day and attempt it on your own.
Big Bay Beach
Big Bay has a variety of surf schools on offer and is also home to the famous Red Bull King of the Air event. This event lures the best kiteboarders from all over the world to push the limits of altitude and flight distance in high wind conditions.
Big Bay is located 22km outside the City Centre. Situated between Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand, it is perfect for all levels of surfing skill.
Book a 2-hour private lesson with Cape Town Surf Lessons, including a wetsuit and surfboard, for R450. Prices vary with the number of people. Alternatively, you can rent a surfboard (R250) and wetsuit (R100) for the day at Surf Zone.
Kommetjie Long Beach
For those willing to take a beautiful coastal drive, Kommetjie Long Beach is the ultimate spot. For savvy beginners and intermediate surfers, this spot located 41km from the CBD offers perfect waves and exciting challenges.
Book a one-on-one lesson for R390 per person or rent a surfboard (R150 for 2hrs and R50 for every additional hour) and wetsuit (R100 for the day) from KomSurf.
More experienced surfers can head to Llandudno beach or Dungeons for stronger rips and more challenging waves.
To find this secluded not-so-secret beach, you get to drive along the beautiful Cape coastline in the direction of Hout Bay. This spot is better for the more experienced surfer as there is a strong rip and the locals get a bit edgy when you drop in on their waves.
Llandudno is fairly sheltered which makes it a great spot in most weather conditions.
This surf spot, reserved for the brave and experienced only, is located just off of Hout Bay. The waves are huge and perfect for events such as the Red Bull Big Wave Africa, which is held here annually.
The waves can reach as high as 18m (60 feet) which provides surfers with a bigger challenge and edgier surfing experience.
Surfer-aware is a mainstay here as the area is known to be home to Great White sharks, due to its close proximity to a thriving seal colony.
Kitesurfing in Cape Town
Cape Town is home to some of the most popular kitesurfing spots in the entire world! The lure?
From large waves and powerful consistent winds, to picture perfect flat-water lagoons. Cape Town welcomes all level of riders, from beginner right through to advanced.
Unlike most awesome kitesurfing spots, one of the world's most vibrant cities is only a short drive away offering endless entertainment, after a good kitesurf session.
Their main aim is to guide you through the step-by-step process of becoming a confident and independent kitesurfer!
They offer various kitesurfing courses, but by far their most popular for beginners is the 3-day intermediate course.
A warm, shallow, flat water lagoon attracts 1000’s of tourists from all around the world to take advantage of this perfect beginner’s kite spot.
The conditions here are absolutely perfect for kitesurfing lessons.
Known for its incredibly strong winds; “The Cape Doctor” and iconic views over Table Mountain.
Bloubergstrand is home to the world’s largest kitesurfing competition. You will catch the world’s top riders practicing for the Red Bull King of the air competition from December onwards.
Family Outing to the Beach
If surfing or kite surfing is not your forte then you’ll be pleased to know Cape Town also offers a great selection of beaches perfect for family outings and group activities.
Hangout at the Beach
Those who wish to experience a lazy day of sunny bliss can pack a cooler and relax on beautiful beaches such as Fish Hoek beach and Bloubergstrand.
Only a 20 minute drive from the city, Bloubergstrand is known for its beautiful soft white sand beach and the iconic view of Table Mountain.
This beach is perfect if you have little ones, they love discovering the cool creatures of the Atlantic Ocean while they splash around in the numerous tide pools.
When you’re done adventuring, swimming and tanning you can enjoy a hearty meal, or just a light snack, at one of the many restaurants along the shore. Best of all, ice-cream vans are always parked close by, after all what is a family beach outing without a soft serve and a flake!
If safety is your biggest concern, then Fish Hoek beach will be ideal for you. It is located on the Indian Ocean side of Table Mountain and is one of the safest along the coastline.
The waves are gentle which makes it perfect to swim in for both adults and children. There are a number of great restaurants nearby, it’s always a treat to try out the iconic ‘Kalky's fish and chips’ in Kalk Bay which is just a short drive away.
Activities at the Beach
Families who are hungry for adventure and exciting activities should try out some of iconic attractions Cape Town has to offer at beaches such as Boulders Beach and Camps Bay.
Boulders Beach provides visitors with the ultimate experience of penguin fun, snorkelling and sunbathing. Due to its sheltered location the water tends to be much warmer which makes it ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
Visitors are advised to head there early in the day to cash in on a nice shady spot as the beach can get packed very quickly.
The Madagascar penguins will bring out the kid in you and the joy in your kid, however they are still wild animals and can bite when they feel threatened. As they say in the Madagascar Movie, it’s best to just “Smile and Wave, Boys”. Older kids can explore the large boulders and even snorkel for some underwater exploration in the clear waters.
The beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park and if you don’t have a Green Card, the Boulders Beach entrance fee (1 Nov 2017 - 31 Oct 2018) is R70 per adult and R35 for children under 11. If you do have a Green Card, be sure to bring it along for discounted rates.
It is open 7 days a week and the summer times are as follow:
- Dec-Jan (7:00-19:30)
- Feb-March (8:00-18:30)
- More Info: Boulders Beach
Camps Bay SUP
Older kids are prone to get bored without some mindful activities which is why Camps Bay Beach is the ultimate spot to keep them busy.
The beach offers Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) boards to rent which is perfect for days when the water is nice and flat.
Adults can partake in the festivities too by renting paddleboards for R150 an hour from Café Caprice, prices can always be negotiated for longer rentals.
Be warned that the water can be quite chilly and it might be wise to rock out in a wetsuit if you aren’t accustomed to Atlantic temperatures.
Finding a Sunny Spot to Suit your Needs
Not everyone who visits the Mother City is crazy about surf and sand but she has something special prepared for you too. If you are more into glamping than camping, spots like Shimmy Beach Club and the Grand Café and Beach will be ideal for you.
I Want the Sand but I Don't Want to Lie on It
Cape Town is known for having a superb night life scene and has some great places. Some spots even allow you to claim you went to a beach vibe, without having to do any real setup labour, which is definitely a win-win situation in our book.
Shimmy Beach Club
Shimmy Beach Club is a lovely place to enjoy a few chilled cocktails with friends. You can find this exclusive hideaway in the grubby Cape Town harbour just past the fish factory.
Shimmy beach comes complete with an infinity pool, sun loungers, white couches and a stunning view which is why it’s the perfect spot for the Cape Town elites.
During the day you can lie with a cocktail in the sun and once the sun sets, Shimmy is known for its world class nightlife.
There are always cool events happening and it’s known for a full house every Sunday in summer with Submerged Sundays where Goldfish, a local DJ duo perform with varying opening acts. If you are in Cape Town for one of these, it’s a must.
- Shimmy's Latest Events: Here
The Grand Cafe and Beach
The Grand Café and Beach is in a secluded cove just below the Oranjezicht market in Granger Bay. This too is a recreated beach and offers a less exclusive but still trendy atmosphere. It is situated on the edge of the shore with stunning views of the other side of the bay.
It can seat up to 1000 people and is popular in summer for sundowners, parties and weddings. The spot is one of the musts on any traveller’s Summer Bucket List.
- The Grand's Latest Events: Here
I Want the Beach but Not the Sand
For those who prefer the beach views to the sand, Cape Town offers a variety of beach side hotels such as The Bay Hotel and Dolphin Beach Hotel.
The Bay Hotel
For those who want the beach view whilst remaining in the lap of luxury, the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay is ideal. It offers views from the ocean-facing pool and an on-site spa. With the Twelve Apostles behind you and the ocean spanning ahead, the location of the Bay Hotel is unrivalled.
Dolphin Beach Hotel
If you’re searching for a beautiful beach hotel with an affordable rate, the Dolphin Beach Hotel is a 4-star gem situated on the edge of Blouberg with views of the sea and Table Mountain.
It also offers a spa and outdoor swimming pool. They have a divine restaurant, the Blowfish which offers seafood, sushi and delectable cheesecake.
Cape Town Weather
Anyone who has been to Cape Town will agree that every day is a four seasons day. The Cape of Storms constantly surprises with its sudden change in weather.
When travelling to the beautiful coastal city it is always wise to check the weather from trusty sites such as Windguru Cape Town but also pack for both cold and sunny days.
Whether it is winter, summer or spring you’ll be surprised at what Cape Town’s weather might bring. Always prepare for sunshine and rain when getting ready for a lovely day of sun, surf and exploring.
Cape Town summer, the most popular time for a beach holiday, spans from November to February each year. One of the biggest benefits of summer time in the Cape is basking in the sunlight from 5:30 am to 7:40 pm.
When preparing for a beach outing on a summer's day always pack sunscreen, hats and even an aloe-enriched after sun lotion to take the sting out of the summer sun. The daytime temperature is known to sit at about 28 °C (82.4F) but has been known to reach a sweltering 42 °C (107.6F).
Thankfully the blustery South Easterly wind will always cool things down but on the rare occasions when the wind is at rest, it might be best to find a cool shaded spot.
Where summer days contain some surprises, winter days are simply unpredictable. On most days there will be wind and low temperatures with a splash of rain, but a nice 25 °C (77F) day has been known to slip into the mix.
Winter is the ultimate time for surfers and kite surfers to come out and play while risking the cold for the ultimate waves. Beaches such as Blouberg and Big Bay are generally crowded by these adrenaline junkies as it provides them with the perfect balance of waves and wind.
With the weather being unpredictable it is always wise to rely on short term weather forecasts for a more accurate prediction. For those “live in the moment” type adventures, Windguru Cape Town offers a three-day weather forecast in addition to a long-term forecast.
The site is perfect for those who want to take an in-depth look at not just the weather but also the wind, swell and precipitation.
Wind Guru for Surfers
Windguru is the perfect weather forecaster for surfers and kite-surfers as it provides information on wave height, swell, direction, period and wind speed for the day.
With the information provided by this site, surfers will always be one step ahead… at least for a minute or two before the weather changes course.
Wind Guru for Everyone Else
Windguru might seem like a complicated site if you are just looking for a regular weather forecast. However, the site does offer a simpler forecast for everyday travellers and locals.
To access the less complicated and cluttered forecast all you have to do is go down to the bottom of the table and check the “WRF 9km” for an accurate 3-day weather forecast.
The forecast will tell you all you need to know about the wind speed, direction, temperature, precipitation and cloud cover – all you need to plan a day out with the family.
Cape Town really is the perfect place to be during any season, sporting an almost endless list of outdoor and entertainment activities.
World class beaches for all types of visitors make it the ideal spot for adrenaline junkies, sun lovers and beach bums. It further proves why Cape Town was voted the best city in the world by Telegraph Travel!
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