Considering Cape Town is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and multiple bays, there’s no way you can avoid the gorgeous beaches it has to offer. Fortunately, that is a wonderful problem to have because who doesn’t love a little seaside town or an ocean view?! While I was visiting Cape Town, I made it one of my goals to hit up as many of these beaches and seaside towns as possible. Since I visited during the winter, I couldn’t really partake in many water activities, but I did get to experience many a sunset and amazing towns connected to the beaches. Below, I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite Cape Town beaches I know you will love as well! Read more to find out about Cape Town’s best beaches you must visit.
People usually say to “save the best for last”, but I just love Kalk Bay so much that I had to put it first on this list. If I were to move to one area of Cape Town, I’d be moving straight to Kalk Bay. This town is SO chill, laid back, and has some fun hippy vibes. If you people-watch in this town, you’ll see surfers, barefoot locals, kids walking home from school, and a few chill hippies with long dreads.
One of my all-time favorite restaurants is Olympia Cafe, and it is positioned on the main road with a view of the bay. They have fresh seafood, fun (sometimes sassy) wait staff, a new chalkboard menu daily, and killer bakery items. My cousin and I sat at a ledge -converted into a table- that overlooks the street and bay. I highly recommend grabbing a glass of wine and chowing down on some of the locally caught Kingklip fish.
Right down the road from Olympia Cafe are a few shops that are enjoyable to browse through. My favorite local shop is Kalk Bay Books, which is a small, quiet, quaint book shop. They have a lot of local literature and cookbooks, as well as some modern or classic choices.
If you’re looking for a vibrant, funky place to grab a drink or a bite to eat, head to Cape to Cuba where you can enjoy a sandy floor, swings hanging from the ceiling, and a bayside bar. We came here a bit before sunset to grab a drink and relax, and we were so glad we did. It will make the top of your list one of the coolest bars you’ll ever visit, so stop by for a mojito!
Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town
Hands down, Boulders Beach will definitely be the MOST unique beach you’ll ever visit. Curious to why? One word: PENGUINS.
Yep, you heard that right. On Boulders Beach, the wild African Jackass Penguins dive in and out of the water along the shore. If this doesn’t sound like a dream come true, then you’re probably crazy. Check out my previous blog post, ‘Visiting the Penguins of Simon’s Town‘ for more info on how to get there and how to get the best view of the penguins!
Hout Bay feels like a cozy, little nook of Cape Town, and its residents affectionally call it “Heart of the Cape”. It is located right around the corner from Chapman’s Peak, which is one of the most beautiful (yet terrifying) drives you can take! I didn’t get to spend much time exploring Hout Bay, but when I return, I’ll be sure to grab some fish and chips in this small fishing town.
When I did visit this area, I went to the Bay Harbour Market, which takes place every weekend. It is housed in an old fish factory, and it is open on Friday nights and then during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Weekly, it has more than 100 different vendors set up their booths! There are so many choices to grab a drink, try delicious food, and shop at inside the market! I visited the night market on Friday, and we had a blast dancing to the live band, sipping on local beer, and browsing the local shops’ booths. This is a ‘must’ if you’re in Cape Town on a weekend.
Another notable detail about Hout Bay is that it hosts the World of Birds. It is the largest bird park in Africa, and it also has a ‘monkey jungle’ where you can play with spider monkeys and meerkats! Um, SIGN ME UP! ;)
(Also- loling at my cousin with this funny, small monkey.)
Surrounded by gorgeous beach houses and decorated with huge boulders, Clifton is a hot spot for locals to go hang out, sunbathe, or watch the sunset. Clifton beaches are unique because they’re divided into four, equally awesome sections. Each sectioned beach has its own perks, but they’re all super close, so you can spend the day hopping around to each of them if you like! Clifton 2nd and 3rd are more tucked away in the cove, which makes them perfect for when you’re trying to escape the wind. If you’re looking for a beautiful sunset view, Clifton 1st places you at a great angle to watch the sun set over the 12 Apostles. My cousin and I walked around Clifton 4th at sunset, and it was absolutely beautiful. I loved hopping on boulders and seeing the light reflect off of the houses.
One thing I would like to mention for anyone, but mainly for my ladies, is that this area is known to have a few predators hang out around it. This reason is because the trails leading down to the beach are secluded so there is not much visibility. I read this in a Lonely Planet guidebook after I had visited, and so I now wanted to share this tidbit with everyone. There’s no reason to be scared, but just be aware in the offseason and take a buddy!
I spent a whole day walking along Kloof Road from Camps Bay to Sea Point just to enjoy the sunshine and large waves along the coast. Sea Point was the perfect destination because they have a stunning promenade right by the ocean.
I finished my walk right by the Sea Point Pavilion, which features a beachside gym, pool, and playground. Many locals were out taking a stroll, working out, or chatting while their children played. The atmosphere was joyful and bustling. I highly enjoyed taking in the scenes of the waves crashing against the shore while relaxing near the pavilion. If you’re looking for a great place to run or workout while visiting Cape Town, I’d recommend heading here to take advantage of the running trail along the coast.
Once the sun went down, I walked a few more minutes down the road to the Bootlegger Coffee Company location in Sea Point. I was lucky enough to stumble upon their happy hour, so I grabbed a local CBC brew and relaxed in the posh cafe. I’ve also tried their food and coffee, and it is delicious, so I’d recommend making a stop here after your beach stroll!
Located on False Bay, you’ll find a quaint, surfer town named Muizenberg. My cousin and I first headed to Gary’s Surf School to learn how to conquer the South African waves. Muizenberg has an area called ‘Surfers’ Corner’ which has friendly, medium-sized swells for surfing beginners (like myself). We enjoyed sounding like badasses when we told everyone how we surfed at the beach where Shark Week has been filmed. After surfing, we returned our boards and wetsuits to Gary’s Surf School then walked upstairs to Ta Da Creperie to grab a warm crepe, fresh juice, and coffee. It was the perfect treat after being thrown around by waves in the freezing water.
Muizenberg is also known for its adorable, colorful huts along the shore. I recommend heading to Knead Bakery for brunch and then walking right across the street to grab the perfect photo op in front of the huts.
At the base of the Twelve Apostles lies the luxurious Camps Bay. I was lucky enough to stay in a gorgeous Airbnb here for a few nights during my trip. We stayed in a beach condo with a stunning view of the water and walked around the beach at sunset each night. One of the highlights of staying in that Airbnb condo was that it also gave us access to the gorgeous, fancy Bay Hotel. This hotel sits right on the beach while also having the Twelve Apostles tower over its backside. We sat by the pool, sipped on wine, and listened to a street performer play his saxophone. It was one of the most glamorous experiences I’ve ever had, and I highly recommend doing the same if you visit Camps Bay.
Also located in Camps Bay is a wonderful seafood restaurant called The Codfather. They serve the freshest fish, shellfish, and sushi. If you’re wanting to treat your taste buds, you should stop by for the delectable seafood and a bottle of wine from their cellar. In the winter, they even have a cozy fireplace to warm up by!
These are my seven favorite beaches in the Cape Town area. I’d love to hear your thoughts about them or suggestions of what you think are Cape Town’s best beaches in the comments below!