So you’ve arrived in Cape Town, all pasty-white and armed with your flippy-floppies, a towel and a desperate desire to get a “bronzed god”-type tan. Now all you need is a good spot where you can get your burn on. Worry not, here’s a guide to the best beach for you whether you’re a tie-dye toting hippy or a Bulgari bedecked socialite.
Starting on the Atlantic side, you’ll find Clifton with it’s nicely segregated coves – 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. 1st and 2nd are quite chilled out with families and the occasional hippy swinging some fire poi about while 3rd has the reputation of being a hot pick-up spot for homosexually inclined. The story goes that 4th beach is “Cape Town’s St Tropez.” Whoever coined that phrase has clearly never been to St Tropez, but it’s not too far from the truth – tiny bikinis and bros in boardies (not to mention the occasional speedo) can be seen strutting their stuff amidst the see-and-be-seens. There are top-notch ablution facilities as well as snack bars and the like, but get there early as the limited parking fills up quickly. Designer sunglasses are mandatory.
A little further down the coast you’ll find Camps Bay, which has a very Californian vibe about it, with a long palm tree-lined strip offering a host of restaurants and bars for post-beach drinks. Café Caprice is the sundowner spot of choice for the locals and tourists alike. It’s easily accessible by public transport and parking, while scarce, isn’t impossible.
Next you’ll find Bakoven, which isn’t very well-known. For this reason, the tiny little patch of sand is great for intimate sundowners or tanning without the fear of being brutally judged by the sculpted masses.
Llundudno beach is a firm favorite with the locals. This beautiful stretch of beach bliss has a little something for everyone; bring your hounds to play in the waves or your board to take advantage of one of Cape Town’s best surf spots. There aren’t any restaurants or snack bars, but in high season there’ll always be a vendour wandering up and down the beach with a cooler-box offering you “water for your daughter” or an “ice-lolly to make you jolly!” Parking is a nightmare though so get there early or late in the afternoon. Public transport is available but the walk to and from the bus-stop is brutal.
Not too far along from Llundudno lies Sandy Bay – Cape Town’s nude beach. Surrounded by sand-dunes, this beach is very well protected from most winds however the walk there form the parking lot will take you 15-20 minutes. Don’t forget your sun-lotion, no-one likes a burnt bum.
Hout Bay beach is great for families and has dunes to protect you from the wind. There’s also a great little harbor to visit as well as a bustling market on Saturday mornings where you can buy wind-chimes, crystals and some top-notch grub. Bring your hounds or your horses for a long walk, but only at certain times. This is a great spot for kayaking. Parking is a breeze as well as public transport accessibility.
A fair drive away you’ll find Noordhoek, but it’s well worth the mission. You can either stroll along the largely untouched 8kms of beach for the best part of the day or you can don your cowboy pants and ride a galloping steed from where Chapman’s Peak plunges into the waves to the lighthouse at the other end of the beach. Nature-lovers might enjoy taking a stroll through the wetlands amidst hobbit enthusiasts and ornithologists.
On the other side of the peninsula – where the water won’t leave your nipples hard enough to cut glass – Boulder’s beach is home to Cape Town’s penguin population. As awkward as these grumpy little flightless birds are on land, swimming with them is magical. The boulders scattered around also mean that if you get there early enough, there’s a good chance you’ll have a little cove all to yourself. Expect to pay to get in though.
Muizenberg is like, totally a surfer’s haven, bra. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned blunt-toking surfer bum, Muizenberg will have the right wave for you. Even though it’s a long stretch of beach, expect crowds in the high season. Sharks are a thing here, but vigilant shark-spotters and life-guards will prevent any Jaws-like encounters.
To wash off sea water and sand, we suggest a dip in Randy’s Watering hole @ Randy Warthog Bar & Grill !