Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Cape Town Beaches

Llandudno © Maxime Guilbot
Llandudno © Maxime Guilbot

Cape Town has some truly gorgeous beaches, but the most glamorous are on the Atlantic Ocean where the water is unbelievably cold. Even the locals tend to keep their swims short. The most popular choices include Camps Bay beach, a long, wide stretch of silver sand packed with locals and tourists alike and backed by a strip of trendy bars and restaurants.

Another favourite is Clifton, where four beaches, imaginatively named First, Second, Third and Fourth, are situated beneath exclusive houses and apartments, set into the cliff that protect sunbathers from the harsh southwesterly wind.

First Beach is the largest and most popular with families (the steps are shorter), Second Beach is preferred by the hip crowd, and Third and Fourth are usually frequented by locals and, when the waves are up, surfers. The small suburb of Llandudno, 15 minutes south of Camps Bay, is home to one of the most scenic beaches in South Africa, popular for sundowners on the rocks or long days in the sun.

Despite its popularity, Llandudno is seldom too crowded. This is partly because there are no bars or restaurants here, the nearest being at Hout Bay, another 10 minutes south. Hout Bay's long beach is popular with families and walkers but is not as stunning as its neighbours.

False Bay is also blessed with lovely beaches and these tend to be more family-friendly and less trendy. The most popular beach for beginner surfers in Cape Town is Muizenberg, which provides the ultimate playground for beginners, with plenty of surf schools.

The Muizenberg and Fish Hoek beaches of False Bay are also wonderful for swimming as the water in False Bay is much warmer than on the Atlantic side. For long walks and horse riding, the lovely Noordhoek beach is ideal.

To see the Cape Town penguin colony, pay a visit to the picturesque Boulders Beach in Simonstown, where the loveable birds suntan and swim. Sharks are a problem in Cape Town, particularly in False Bay, and many beaches have shark spotters on duty: visitors should pay close attention to the flags on the beach which advise whether it is safe to swim. A siren will go off to warn swimmers in the water if a shark is spotted nearby.