South Africa’s Top Beaches

South Africa is blessed with a vast coastline peppered with magnificent beaches spanning four provinces. 

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In many cases, we can trek to the beach for a weekend, and at best, your nearest beach is just a few hours away by car. Yet all too often we fly off to discover beaches in distant corners of the world when the best beach holidays are on our doorstep in South Africa. It’s time for us to rediscover our own superb beaches. 

Here are a few tips on where to find the best swimming beaches for your holiday in South Africa. 

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The top beaches in the Western Cape 

Looking for the best beaches in Cape Town? The Mother City is home to the famous Camps Bay Beach and the Clifton Beaches, where the sand is white-hot, the water is icy-cold and the action is sizzling! These beaches are popular and vibey, and best for showing off your tan. For more serious swimmers there is the warmer False Bay side which offers Muizenberg – also incredibly popular with surfers – and Fish Hoek, ideal for families, dog walking, and ice cream! 

Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg Beach, Fish Hoek Beach, Camps Bay Beach, Clifton Beach

Eastwards, the coast is awash with beautiful beaches including Hermanus and Arniston. If you want a more secluded beach, look no further than tranquil De Hoop on the Southern Coast. Then there is Victoria Bay in George – a surfer’s paradise – and who has ever heard of Noetzie Beach near Knysna, overlooked by three famous castles? Elegant Plettenberg Bay has a string of blue-flag beaches – including Robberg Beach – while Jeffreys Bay beach at the end of the Garden Route is regarded as one of the best surfing beaches in the world. 

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Plettenberg Bay Beach, Arniston Beach, Hermanus Beach, Robberg Beach

The most beautiful beaches in the Eastern Cape 

Port Elizabeth and East London both have some of the best sandy beaches in South Africa and are highly popular with holidaymakers. Take a drive to Port Elizabeth’s Sardinia Bay beach, easily one of its most scenic beaches. While East London’s beaches are all popular we do have to mention that just 25km outside of the city lies Gonubie Beach, and while it is not quite a local beach its Blue Flag status definitely makes it a “must-see” attraction.  Then not to be overlooked are the hamlets of Kenton-on-Sea and charming Port Alfred where soft sand, great surf, and warm water is a highlight. 

Some of the quietest and most beautiful beaches in South Africa are to be found on the appropriately named Wild Coast and while they are less accessible, it is well worth the effort. Lazy days on the beach are punctuated by great seafood lunches and cool evenings at dusk as you sip a sundowner – no dressing up required.    

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Port Elizabeth beach

The best beaches in KwaZulu Natal 

Both Durban South and North Coast are sprinkled with charming towns and an abundance of superb beaches. Noteworthy is Umhlanga Beach just north of Durban which features in the Top Ten Beaches in South Africa, as does Ballito and Salt Rock. Umhlanga is also home to the famous Oyster Box Hotel, so spoil yourself for a short stay and splurge on their plump oysters and superb curry buffet.  

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Umhlanga Beach, Ballito Beach, Port Shepstone Beach

If you have never been to Ramsgate, Southbroom, or Port Shepstone you are missing out. Take a break at the Blue Marlin Hotel overlooking the ocean and lagoon. Finally, the great wetland parks from St Lucia to the Mozambique border offer a string of the best beach destinations in South Africa. These are very popular and it is easy to see why when you find yourself in paradise. The most easily accessible beaches for relaxing and swimming are Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay. 

There are too many beautiful beaches to mention here so just stick a pin into a map of the South African coastline and chances are you will have discovered one of our best beach holiday destinations. Take a look at our Beach Holidays for both local and international seaside holidays. 

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