Best beaches in South Africa

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 06.05.2024

South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country blessed with an incredible coastline that stretches over thousands of kilometres. From pristine sandy shores to rugged coastal landscapes, here is our pick of the best beaches in South Africa.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to South Africa, your essential guide for visiting South Africa.

1. Boulder's Beach

Best for: penguin spotting

Boulder's Beach in Simon's Town is renowned for its enchanting residents: the African penguins. This unique beach offers visitors a chance to observe these comical and fearless birds in their natural habitat.

Stroll along the stilted boardwalks and viewing platforms, and get up close to the penguin colonies. The sheltered coves and beautiful granite rocks make Boulder's Beach a picturesque spot to relax and appreciate the captivating presence of these endearing creatures.

Swimming alongside penguins in the secluded areas of the beach is an unforgettable experience that adds to the allure of this remarkable destination. This is one of the best beaches in South Africa, and arguably, one of the best beaches in Africa as a whole.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Simon's Town.

best places to go with kids African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin. Boulders colony. Cape Town. South Africa

African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) in Boulder's Beach © Shutterstock

2. Camps Bay Beach

Best for: a beach with a city atmosphere

Nestled beneath the majestic Table Mountain, Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by the upscale neighbourhood of Camps Bay.

With its soft sands and child-friendly rock pools, this beach is perfect for families seeking a relaxing day by the sea. Explore the vibrant street life, dine at the trendy beachfront restaurants, and soak up the glamorous atmosphere that defines Camps Bay.

Dreaming of getting of exploring South Africa? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. Our Capetown and Garden Route trip takes you on a luxury guided tour of South Africa's best sights. Our trips are completely customizable and are crafted by local craft experts.

Choosing the right season can greatly enhance your travelling experience. Our guide to the best time to visit Cape Town will help you understand the nuances of the weather and make the right choice.

View over Camps Bay South Africa © Marisa Estivill/Shutterstock

Camps Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa © Marisa Estivill/Shutterstock

3. Dolphin Beach

Best beaches in South Africa for water sports

Located in Bloubergstrand, Dolphin Beach offers an exhilarating coastal experience with its strong winds and picture-perfect views of Table Mountain. This beach is a paradise for surfers, providing ideal conditions for soaring through the air.

Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shoreline, and if you are lucky — marvel at the playful dolphins in the waves. Or test your skills in the thrilling world of kitesurfing. With crystal clear waters, Dolphin Beach promises an unforgettable adventure for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Or search hundreds of accommodation in Durban

Table Mountain from Dolphin Beach in Bloubergstrand © Shutterstock

Dolphin Beach — a white sand beach in South Africa © Shutterstock

4. Hobie Beach

Best for: a lively sporty atmosphere

Hobie Beach is one of the best beaches in South Africa. Situated in Port Elizabeth, Hobie Beach is a paradise for beachgoers seeking a lively coastal atmosphere and a variety of water sports activities.

This Blue Flag beach offers soft sand, warm waters, and a vibrant beachfront scene. Try your hand at sailing, windsurfing, or kayaking. Or, simply relax on the beach and soak up the lively ambience.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Port Elizabeth.

Hobie Beach, Port Elisabeth, South Africa © Shutterstock

Hobie Beach, Port Elisabeth, South Africa © Shutterstock

5. Robberg Beach

Best for: wildlife enthusiasts

Nestled within the Robberg Nature Reserve, Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay is a haven for nature enthusiasts. This pristine coastline boasts breathtaking panoramic views and tranquil surroundings.

Take leisurely beach walks along the fine sandy shores, and keep an eye out for seals basking on the rocks. Don't miss the nearby coastal hiking trails for an opportunity to spot diverse wildlife.

Explore the variety of accommodation options to stay in Plettenberg Bay.

Robberg 5 Beach from Robberg Nature Reserve near Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route, South Africa © Shutterstock

Robberg Beach — a beautiful sandy beach © Shutterstock

6. Gonubie Beach

Best for: serenity on the Wild Coast

Tucked away on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, Gonubie Beach is a hidden gem known for its untouched and secluded beauty. The unspoiled shoreline, embraced by lush vegetation and rolling dunes, provides a serene setting for relaxation.

Gonubie is easily one of the best beaches in South Africa., Gonubie proudly holds a coveted blue flag status, signifying its pristine water quality and excellent environmental standards. Don't miss the opportunity to walk on the wooden boardwalk and enjoy the coastal scenery.

Gonubie Beach in South Africa © Shutterstock

Gonubie Beach in South Africa © Shutterstock

7. Buffels Bay

Best for: tidal pools and birdwatching

Nestled within the scenic Cape Point Nature Reserve, Buffels Bay is surrounded by rugged cliffs and grassy banks. this beach provides a serene atmosphere for picnics and relaxation. Located in Western Cape, it is a fantastic stop on your South African road trip.

While here, you'll want to explore the fascinating tidal pools. Or embark on a scenic hike along the dramatic coastline to marvel at the diverse birdlife that calls this area home.

Want to experience South Africa without the hassle of booking and planning? Our Ultimate South Africa Road Trip offers you the experience of seeing many of the sights that South Africa has to offer up close and in person.

Buffels Bay, South Africa © Shutterstock

The South African beach of Buffels Bay © Shutterstock

8. Diaz Beach

Best for: panoramic views

Nestled along the breathtaking Garden Route, Diaz Beach unveils itself as a tranquil paradise, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its coastal splendour. Honouring the legacy of the renowned Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, this hidden gem captivates with its panoramic vistas of the Indian Ocean and vast stretches of pristine golden sand.

Diaz Beach, a sprawling expanse, offers an abundance of space for relaxation and exploration. Its miles of clean and unspoiled shoreline create an inviting playground for beachgoers seeking solace and serenity.

The tropical Diaz beach, also known as Cape of Good Hope © Shutterstock

The tropical Diaz, one of the best beaches in South Africa © Shutterstock

9. Llandudno Beach

Best for: secluded sunsets

Nestled between majestic mountains and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, Llandudno Beach near Cape Town is a hidden gem of dramatic beauty. This secluded paradise is cherished by locals and visitors alike for its pristine surroundings.

With its soft white sands, turquoise waters, and magnificent granite boulders, Llandudno Beach offers a breathtaking backdrop for mesmerizing sunsets. A stroll along this beach is one of the best things to do in South Africa.

Bench at Llandudno beach, Cape Town South Africa © Shutterstock

Llandudno Beach, Cape Town — one of the best beaches of South Africa © Shutterstock

10. Kommetjie Beach

Best for: surfers and sunset seekers

Kommetjie Beach, located on the Cape Peninsula, beckons avid surfers and nature enthusiasts alike. This coastal haven boasts consistent waves and a laid-back atmosphere.

Surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty, including the iconic Slangkop Lighthouse, Kommetjie Beach provides an awe-inspiring setting for beach walks, sunset gazing, and wildlife encounters.

Slangkop Lighthouse is a lighthouse near the town of Kommetjie © Shutterstock

Breathtaking beaches of South Africa — Kommetjie © Shutterstock

11. Thonga Beach

Best for: underwater adventure

Nestled along the pristine coastline of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Thonga Beach offers a secluded and untouched coastal experience.

This hidden gem is a sanctuary of unspoiled white sands, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, making it a haven for snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts. The surrounding iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for coral reefs and more.

12. Muizenberg Beach

Best for: a picturesque place to surf

For a vibrant and family-friendly beach experience, head to Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town. This stunning beach is known for its iconic colourful beach huts.

Muizenberg is a popular destination for novice surfers and those looking to learn the art of riding the waves. Take a surf lesson from the local experts, and enjoy the gently rolling waves. Or, explore the nearby bohemian village to discover the local art galleries and eclectic shops.

Or browse other accommodation options in Cape Town

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Planning your trip to the best beaches in South Africa

Our local experts can plan wonderful trips for you in South Africa. Simply get in touch when you would like to travel. We will then create a personalized itinerary, which you can amend until you are totally happy with every detail of the booking. All of our planned itineraries can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Ready for a trip to South Africa? Check out the snapshot of The Rough Guide to South Africa or The Rough Guide to Cape Town, Winelands & Garden Route.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 06.05.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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