If you're keen for a beachy trip to South Africa, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice, as the country's coasts offer up a diverse array of appealing options. Here is a guide to some of the best beach destinations in South Africa.
Beach lovers simply can't go wrong with a trip to Cape Town, where there's always a beach nearby your South African hotel. From the picture-perfect Camps Bay Beach, overlooked by the spectacular Twelve Apostles and lined with trendy places to eat, drink and be merry, to the rugged and windswept shores of Noordhoek, there's a coastal paradise for every type of beachgoer. Clifton's four beaches, naturally sheltered from Cape Town's wind, are perfect places to watch the sun go down, while aspiring surfers and bodyboarders would love the surf at Muizenberg. Along with soft sand and gentle waves, Bloubergstrand offers one of the most iconic views of Cape Town's Table Mountain, framed by sea and sky. You'll find beautiful hidden coastal gems all along the Cape Peninsula, including the secluded Platboom Beach in the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve, and the wild and gorgeous Scarborough Beach a little further up the coast.
This coastal city is another perfect holiday destination for beach enthusiasts, with its balmy sub-tropical climate and warm Indian Ocean water. North Beach is a popular spot for everyone from surfers and swimmers to joggers and dog-walkers. Umhlanga Rocks, home to the beautiful whalebone pier, is another bustling beach that is a short distance from Gateway, South Africa's biggest shopping mall. For those looking to avoid the busiest beaches, Umdloti Beach, a little north of Durban, is a beautiful option. It boasts quiet rock pools and a lagoon that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Durban's uShaka Beach is great for surfing and kayaking, and just to the south, you'll find uShaka Marine World, a fun family destination with a world-renowned aquarium and water park.
Plettenberg Bay, better known by the locals as 'Plett', is a seaside resort town on the Western Cape's famous Garden Route. Its pristine beaches are a popular local tourist destination and get quite busy during the summer months of December and January, but it's a fun a friendly place even when it's bustling with people. There are many things to see and do in the area, from hiking and bird-watching to eating at one of Plett's great restaurants. The Lookout Deck restaurant offers delicious food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere along with an unobstructed view of the bay, and its sister restaurant, Equinox, is a mouth-watering gourmet experience.
Situated on the Wild Coast of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, Coffee Bay is a small town with many natural wonders to be explored. With its black cliffs and white sand, Coffee Bay beach is a spectacular gem. It's a great place for surfing, swimming, walking, horse-riding or simply lazing in the sunshine. A magnificent hike along the coast leads to the Hole in the Wall, a stunning rock feature carved over centuries by the force of the waves. Local accommodation options include Swell Eco Lodge, with its pretty rondavels, stunning views of the sea and cattle roaming nearby - a taste of rural life on the Wild Coast.
On the west coast of South Africa, the Atlantic Ocean makes the sea much colder, but this doesn't deter the surfers from riding the fantastic waves at Eland's Bay. In addition to being a major surf spot, the bay is also perfect for activities like diving, rowing, sailing and whale-watching. The area is also known for its caves; Eland's Bay Cave is the only cave in Africa where ancient rock paintings can be found so near to the coast.
Another west coast gem is Langebaan, where you'll find beautiful beaches on the lagoon, with crystal clear waters. It's the ideal place for water sports such as windsurfing and yachting, and there are many fantastic accommodation options available with stunning views of the lagoon, such as the West Coast Life beachfront accommodation, including the award-winning Crystal Lagoon Lodge.
Have you been to South Africa? What would you recommend?