It’s no secret that we at Timbuktu love the Ocean. We also appreciate everything that comes with it, especially a great beach, and with our office situated in the heart of Cape Town, we’ve got some of the best ones right on our doorstep. But it’s not just Cape Town – there’s an abundance of beautiful beaches all over South Africa, and we’ve come up with a list that includes some of the classics, as well as couple of insider gems, only for local’s eyes (until now). Whether you’re looking for the best waves, the most secluded tanning spot, or the best scenic boardwalk, our list of best beaches in South Africa has something for everyone. Because at the end of the day, life is a beach, right?
1. Robberg Beach
People say this blue-flag beach is the Garden Route’s finest. You can walk for kilometres along sands that seem to stretch forever, and chances are, you’ll spot some dolphins while doing so. The beach is also known for shore-based whale spotting, particularly in the winter months when the southern right whales visit Plettenberg Bay. A must-stop on your Garden Route road trip, and number 1 on our best beaches in South Africa list. For more incredible beaches and sceneries from all over South Africa we highly recommend howfarfromhome.
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West Coast National Park
This stunning lagoon is the West Coast’s best kept secret. Well not anymore, but it’s too magnificent not to include it in our best beaches in South Africa round up. Driving through the West Coast National Park into the lagoon, one could easily think of a beach in the Maldives – there’s gin-clear, turquoise water, an idyllic jetty, and even a couple of houseboats floating in the bay. You can also combine your beach explorings with a hike or a birding adventure in the surrounding fynbos.
3. Camps Bay Beach
Our very own Mother City has some unforgettable beach spots, but no trip to Cape Town is complete without visiting Camps Bay. The 12 Apostles tower above the glitzy beach-burb to the left, and Signal Hill and Lion Head watch over the powdery-white sand to the right – a perfect sundowner scenario if ever we saw one! So, grab a drink in one of the bars on the Strip, or sit on the rocks next to the tidal pool and learn why Capetonians can’t stop shouting about their extraordinary sunsets.
4. Thonga Beach
Imagine staying in a thatched bush suite, enveloped by a coastal dune forest, and, peeking through the vegetation, the glittering Indian Ocean just ahead of you. That’s all on offer at Thonga Beach in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Thonga offers access to some of the best snorkelling and off-shore scuba diving in the country, and, depending on the time of year you visit, you can watch turtles laying eggs. To make your stay even more perfect, check out eco-friendly Thonga Beach Lodge.
5. Llandudno Beach
Visit Llandudno at high tide, and you’ll bump into more than a few surfers, enjoying the small swell and south-easterly wind. But even if you’re just visiting for a spot of beach relaxing, you’re in for a treat – gaze up at the Twelve Apostles, little Lion’s Head and the stunning Karbonkelberg Mountain as you sun bake. A five-minute drive takes you over the hill from Llandudno to the village of Hout Bay, where plenty of restaurants offer tasty sea food straight from the sea after a long day at the beach (Photo credit: Faine Pearl).
6. Gonubie Beach
Gonubie beach doesn’t only attract dolphins – I mean, just look at this image. It also offers a wonderful boardwalk with fantastic views across the sea, as well as man-made tidal pools for splashing in. Everything you could want from a beach that should be on every best beaches in South Africa list.
7. Kogal Bay Beach
Kogel Bay is located between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els, and borders Clarens Drive, a 20-kilometre scenic route that boasts spectacular whale-watching along largely undeveloped parts of the coastline. Amongst locals, the beach is popular for outdoor barbecuing – because who doesn’t enjoy a view like this while waiting for the meat to be served?! Extra tip: Visit the Kogelberg Nature Reserve when you’re in the area, a vast protected area, known for its fynbos and wildlife.
8. Coffee Bay
This beach is an all-rounder, smack bang in the heart of the Wild Coast. Talk a long stroll along the water’s edge, feel the wind in your hair and horseback ride along the sand, or just relax and work on your tan – everything just comes effortlessly in Coffee Bay. And if you want a little extra adventure, swim through the Hole in the Wall and find yourself completely alone overlooking the Indian ocean.
9. Langebaan Beach
Langebaan’s sugar-white sand, flat turquoise water, and cross shore winds that make it the ultimate playground for water-lovers, kite suffers in particular. Capetonians also prefer the rather mild Peninsula temperatures of the water on the West Coast (compared to the Mother City). Faine, who took this amazing photo, is a passionate diver – join her underwater and watch some of her mesmerising free diving here.
10. Kommetjie Beach
There are some things that make a beach truly special, like a good story or an old lighthouse. Kommetjie has both and therefore deserves a spot on best beaches in South Africa. If you’re interested in hearing why South Africa is one of the only countries in the world still with Lighthouse Keepers on staff, then join one of the guided tours. And the view down the white sands of Kommetjie Beach from the top of South Africa’s tallest cast iron lighthouse is, needless to say, sensational.