Beaches with cold waters (13C – 19C in summer)
Camps Bay in winter (July). Cape Town is behind the camera.
Strand Beach in False Bay, about 40km from Cape Town, is a 2km hunk of sand with a variety of waves to suit all ages, rock pools for kiddie fun, views of Table Mountain and the Hottentots Holland Mountains and plenty of non-sand Strand entertainment options, including Water World and the Helderberg Nature Reserve.
Grotto Beach (Blue Flag), attached to pleasant – though middle-age spreading – Hermanus town, is long and white, with dunes, a mountain backdrop, a small playground, a barbeque area (known as a braai in South Africa) and a nearby restaurant, has the unusual attraction of whale watching from the beach July-December (picture above left).
Sandy Bay is the nearest nudist beach to Cape Town (can’t help but remind me of a famous nudist camp in UK called Sandy Balls. Really! ) and also popular with gays. It’s a ten minute drive past Camps Bay, near the good surf spot of Llandudno. After parking at Sunset Rocks the pretty beach is a 15 minute walk.
One side of Camps Bay provides good surf for wave riders, while attractive and interesting Cape Town is less then ten minutes drive away. Waves are on the chunky side but the east side has rocks that give some protection for toddlers.
Camps Bay is the city’s favourite strand of sand, with good access, facilities, and stunning views, though the surf can be tough to handle, the sea is cold and it can get windy. Posh folk might prefer to flash their gilded thongs on neighbouring Clifton Beaches (see below).
Four Clifton Beaches (a Cape Town suburb) separated by rocks are small, characterful and very fashionable with the glitterati and gays, backed as they are by $multi-million apartments. The beaches are more sheltered than Camps Bay but have limited parking possibilities, require a steep walk down from Victoria Road and offer almost no facilities. Hawkers sell drinks and ice creams but little else is on sale.
First Beach has the best surf, Second and Third the are the places to flash your cash, pecs or thong, and Fourth is for families, with easiest access, parking and least bumpy waters.
Elands Bay, northwest of Cape Town is a sensational surfer spot with some of the best, consistent left point breaks in the business, lovely dunes, great walks, but generally has too much wind for sunbathing and is too cold for comfortable swimming.