South Africa sits at the bottom of the African continent, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other.
There are also massive amounts of biodiversity and the vast Kruger National Park to venture into for a safari.
But this nation’s beaches, like Boulders, Muizenberg, Umhlanga Main, Sardinia Bay, and Fish Hoek, should not be overlooked.
The beaches of South Africa are some of the best in the world. You have such a range of activities to choose from.
There are places where surfing is the best activity; in others, it’s swimming or kite surfing. There is no limit to what you can do during a day at the beach.
Let’s take a look at these 20 top beaches in South Africa so you can see which one you want to visit first!
20 Wonderful Beaches In South Africa
1. Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach isn’t the classic beach that many may think of. Many people come here to visit, but not always to take in the sun and surf.
This beach offers visitors something completely different. Tourists that come here get to take in a rare penguin!
This is a real treat for visitors. This area is technically part of a wildlife preserve.
The penguins were brought here to breed and increase the numbers of this particular penguin species.
2. Muizenberg Beach
Muizenberg Beach can offer sunbathers a great place to relax without large crowds. The hills surrounding the beach permit tourists to take a hike and enjoy some fantastic scenery.
But the largest attraction in this area is surfing. It is known as the best surf spot in all of South Africa.
There are a couple of additional areas nearby that also offer great waves. This section of the country has earned the nickname Surfers’ Corner.
3. Umhlanga Main Beach
Umhlanga Main Beach is widely recognized as the best beach to hang out and relax. There are boutiques, restaurants, umbrella stands, and everything else one could think of.
Come here during peak beach season and enjoy the sand.
4. Sardinia Bay Beach
This fabulous beach sits just outside the urban center of the city of Port Elizabeth. This beach is popular with locals and tourists alike.
You will find a picnic area, places to swim, and miles upon miles of perfect sand and beaches.
This is a great beach to bring the whole family, including children. It is safe and clean and offers something for everyone.
5. Fish Hoek Beach
Fish Hoek is a suburb of Cape Town. People enjoy visiting this part of Cape Town to view the whales that come so close to shore.
It is also popular for those who like to swim and sunbathe.
While not as big of a surfing spot as others, this area draws large crowds to enjoy the waves.
6. St. James Beach
This peaceful seaside village is located between False Bay and Muizenberg. C colorful huts dot the shore and are referred to as bathing huts.
You can also find tidal and rock pools throughout the village. Since the water is shallow in these pools, this makes the area popular with people who have children.
While not as well-known as other surfing hot spots, St James is gaining favor with the surfers that come to the coast.
7. Onrus Beach
Located on the Western Cape, Onrus Beach is a great place for swimmers and sunbathers alike. This beach offers lots of activities for all ages.
Nearby lagoons are great for kids, and you can occasionally spot whales for whale watching.
8. ATKV Hartenbos
You won’t be disappointed if you spend your time at ATKV Hartenbos resort. There are all levels of service and activities.
You can do as much or as little as you want. Enjoy a water park or go sunbathing. Everything is here for you.
9. Bloubergstrand Beach
Bloubergstrand Beach offers stunning views to its tourists, especially of the iconic Table Mountain.
This beach also brings in visitors who want to fly kites and kite surf. When in season, you can also see a variety of whales near the bay.
10. Buffalo Bay Beach
Buffalo Bay Beach offers tons of parking for visitors and food and drink choices to those who spend time there.
If you visit at the right time, you will see dolphins and whales frolicking off the coast. The pristine beach is surrounded by a forest full of people swimming and sunbathing.
11. Grotto Beach (Blue Flag)
Grotto Beach is recognized as a blue-flag beach. This means the beach meets the highest standards of environmental quality and sustainability.
This beach has earned the honor of the cleanliness of the sand and the water off the coast. Enjoy the beach with the mountains as a backdrop.
12. Salt Rock Beach
Salt Rock Beach is a beach that is liked by tourists but loved by locals. This sandy piece of heaven protects visitors from sharks and keeps lifeguards on duty.
There are also a variety of shallow tidal pools that are great for children. It is also becoming a haven for surfers.
13. Dalebrook Tidal Pool
Dalebrook is a terrific place for everyone, especially families. There are many tidal pools along the shore, which is great for smaller children to play in.
Since they are shallow, they are safer than the ocean and its crashing waves. Rock pools and many places to have picnics and other outdoor gatherings.
14. Mouille Point Beach
Mouille Point is a beautiful suburb of Cape Town. The town is tiny and only has two roads. But the area packs a lot into such a small space.
You can enjoy the peace on the beach or take in the historic lighthouse.
The Green Point Lighthouse has existed here since the 60s. It was built as a substitute for a previous lighthouse destroyed by storms.
15. Willard Beach
Willard Beach is a great place to bring families and those of all ages. During your trip, you can hang out in one of the many tidal pools or relax on the beach.
The beach also attracts amateur and professional surfers alike. It plays host to some of the largest surf competitions in South Africa.
16. Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Kogelberg Nature Reserve is part of a larger mountain range and nature-protected area. There is a more diverse floral per unit area than anywhere else.
This is a chance to see floral and fauna you will never see anywhere else. You can stay at one of the cottages on the grounds to get the full experience.
The reserve isn’t very far from the shore, so you can take a break from nature and enjoy the sand and surf.
17. Rocklands Beach
Rocklands Beach here has a rocky texture compared to other places on the coast. The plus side is that you have much more privacy than on other beaches.
The area is a bit secluded. The rocky shoreline draws some of the best waves along the coast and has made this a budding surfing hotspot.
18. Santos Beach Mosselbay
Santos Beach has achieved the important Blue Flag status for its beach. It also sits along the Garden Route, an ecologically diverse region along the Cape.
The beach and water are clean, and if you visit at the right time of year, you will see groups of whales and dolphins swimming close to the coast.
There are also restaurants and bars nearby if you need to grab food or drink at the beach.
19. Diaz Beach
Diaz Beach is beloved by both locals and visitors alike. The secluded nature of this beach almost gives it a romantic feel.
While families still visit here, this is an excellent place for couples. You don’t have to worry about crowds when you visit here.
The surrounding hills also make this a terrific place to come and take a hiking day trip.
20. Scarborough Beach
Scarborough Beach may be in a small village, but the beach brings a lot to the table. The beach is large enough that even when there are big crowds, it never feels crowded.
Visitors can spread out, sunbathe, and play games on the beach. On windy days, people come to kite surf.
The waves are perfect for surfing, and this beach draws quite a crowd.
Rip currents make swimming a little harder, but with all the activities, you won’t mind the limited swimming opportunities.
117 Beaches in South Africa Data Table (Ranked by Attractions)
|1||Boulders Beach||Simon’s Town||February – May||penguins watching, surfing|
|2||Muizenberg Beach||Cape Town||May – September||Hiking, surfing, sunbathing|
|3||Umhlanga Main Beach||Umhlanga||November – May||Sunbathing|
|4||Boulders Penguin Colony||Simon’s Town||January – December||Penguins watching|
|5||Fish Hoek Beach||Cape Town||June – December||Surfing, Whale watching|
|6||St James Beach||Cape Town||January – December||Tidal pool, surfing|
|7||Umhlanga Beach||Umhlanga||November – May||Sunbathing|
|8||ATKV Hartenbos||Mossel bay||January – December||Surfing, water slides|
|9||Bloubergstrand Beach||Cape Town||May – September||Kite surfing, surfing|
|10||Buffalo Bay Beach||Knysna||July – October||Dolphins watching, boating, surfing|
|11||Grotto Beach Blue Flag||Hermanus||July – December||Body-boarding, whale watching|
|12||Salt Rock Beach||Ballito||May – October||Diving, surfing|
|13||Dalebrook Tidal Pool||St. James||November – March||Sunbathing|
|14||Mouille Point Beach||Cape Town||February – May||Green point lighthouse|
|15||Willard Beach||Ballito||January – December||Diving, surfing, body-boarding|
|16||Kogelberg Nature Reserve||Cape Town||January – December||Hiking, whale watching, mountain biking|
|17||Rocklands Beach||Cape Town||November – March||Surfing|
|18||Santos Beach Mosselbay||Mossel bay||May – October||Whale watching, dolphins watching|
|19||Diaz Beach||Cape Point||November – May||Surfing, body-boarding|
|20||Sardinia Bay Beach||Port Elizabeth||November – May||Snorkeling, scuba diving|
|21||Oudekraal Beach||Cape Town||November – May||Diving, surfing|
|22||Westbrook Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||November – April||Sunbathing|
|23||Onrus Beach||Onrus||November – March||Whale watching, body-boarding|
|24||Scarborough Beach||Cape Town||May – September||Beach sports, surfing|
|25||Brenton Beach||Knysna||May – September||Sunset watching, rock pool|
|26||Maitland Beach||Port Elizabeth||May – September||Dunes, surfing|
|27||Scottburgh Beach||Scottburgh||November – March||Canoeing, surfing, body-boarding|
|28||Strand Beach||Cape Town||November – March||Tidal pool, surfing, water slide|
|29||Suncoast Beach||Durban||December – March||Sunbathing|
|30||Pringle Bay Beach||Cape Town||May – September||Snorkeling, scuba diving, boating|
|31||Durban Beach Front Promenade||Durban||September – March||Water slides, surfing|
|32||Langbaai Beach||Hermanus||September – March||Paddling, surfing|
|33||Seaglen Dunes Resort||KwaZulu-Natal||November – May||Beach sports, surfing, sunbathing|
|34||Bonza Bay Beach||Eastern Cape||November – May||Tidal river, surfing|
|35||Sandbaai Beach||Hermanus||June – December||Whale watching, sunbathing|
|36||Clifton 4th||Cape Town||May – September||Beach sports, surfing, sunbathing|
|37||Monwabisi Beach||Khayelitsha||November – March||Tidal pool, surfing, paddling|
|38||Llandudno Beach||Llandudno||November – March||Surfing, sunbathing|
|39||Sanctuary Beach, Plettenberg Bay||Plethenberg bay||November – March||Surfing, body-boarding|
|40||Golden Mile Beach||Durban||November – March||Surfing|
|41||Clarke Bay||Ballito||November – March||Tidal pool, surfing|
|42||Hole In The Wall||Eastern Cape||May – October||Canoeing, surfing, body-boarding|
|43||Kammabaai Beach||Hermanus||May – September||Kite surfing, surfing, rock pools|
|44||Kite Beach||Cape Town||November – March||Kite surfing, surfing, sunbathing|
|45||Spark’s Bay Day Camp||Cape Town||July – December||Whale watching, tidal pool|
|46||Gonubie Holiday Resort||Gonubie||January – December||Fishing, golfing, surfing|
|47||Clifton 1st||Cape Town||May – September||Sunbathing, surfing|
|48||Hout Bay Beach||Hout bay||May – September||Kite surfing, surfing|
|49||Hawston Beach||Cape Town||December – March||Whale watching, dolphins watching|
|50||Robberg 5 Beach||Plethenberg bay||November – March||Dolphins watching, kite surfing|
|51||Betty’s Bay Main Beach||Betty’s bay||November – March||Kite surfing, surfing|
|52||Charles Hoffe Park Holiday Resort||Scottburgh||January – December||Sunbathing, surfing|
|53||Kogel Bay Beach||Cape Town||February – May||Beach sports, surfing, kite surfing|
|54||Silver Sands Beach||Betty’s bay||February – August||Shells collecting, penguins watching|
|55||Addington Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||June – October||Sunbathing, surfing|
|56||Bikini Beach||Gordon’s bay||May – September||Snorkeling, boating, sunbathing|
|57||Kings Beach||Humewood||May – September||Surfing, skating, water slides|
|58||Kidds Beach||Eastern Cape||June – October||Sunbathing, surfing|
|59||Swartvlei Beach||Sedgefield||June – October||Whale watching, dolphins watching|
|60||Witsand||Witsand||November – March||Whale watching, sunbathing, windsurfing|
|61||Trafalgar Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||November – May||Body-boarding, paddling, snorkeling|
|62||Munster Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||November – May||Sunbathing, surfing|
|63||Sandy Bay, Cape Town||Cape Town||May – September||Sunbathing, surfing|
|64||St Micheal’s on Sea||KwaZulu-Natal||September – March||Sunbathing, surfing|
|65||Umtentweni Beach||Umtentweni||November – March||Diving, snorkeling, sunbathing|
|66||Eastern Beach||Eastern Cape||January – December||Surfing, body-boarding|
|67||Glencairn Beach||Glencairn||June – October||Whale watching, sunbathing|
|68||Long Beach||Kommetjie||June – October||Fishing, horse riding, surfing|
|69||San Lameer Beach||San Lameer||November – March||Fishing, sunbathing|
|70||Buffels bay beach||Cape Town||November – March||Sunbathing, surfing|
|71||Foxy Beach Penguin watching||Simon’s Town||February – August||penguins watching|
|72||Glen Beach||Cape Town||June – October||Sunbathing, surfing|
|73||Clifton 3rd||Cape Town||November – March||Sunbathing|
|74||Cove Rock Beach, East London||Eastern Cape||June – October||Surfing, diving|
|75||Platboom Beach||Cape Point||July – December||Kite surfing, surfing|
|76||Clifton 2nd||Cape Town||November – March||Beach sports, surfing, sunbathing|
|77||Ramsgate Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||November – March||Tidal pool, surfing|
|78||Alkantstrand||Richard’s bay||November – March||Surfing, body-boarding|
|79||Olifantsbos Beach||Cape Town||November – March||Hiking, surfing|
|80||Holsboer Vacations Settler Sands||Port Alfred||June – October||Horse riding, beach sports|
|81||Macassar Beach||Cape Town||June – October||Surfing, diving|
|82||Seaforth Beach||Simon’s Town||February – August||Sunbathing, surfing|
|83||Keurbooms Beach||Keurboomstrand||November – March||Skiing, boating, windsurfing|
|84||Wedge Beach||Durban||June – October||Dolphins watching, surfing|
|85||Saunders’ Rocks Beach||Bantry bay||May – September||Tidal pool, surfing|
|86||Silverstroomstrand||Port Edward||May – September||Sunbathing, surfing|
|87||Glenmore Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||April – October||Dolphins watching, fishing|
|88||Queen’s Beach||Cape Town||May – September||Sunbathing, surfing|
|89||Water’s Edge Beach||Simon’s Town||February – August||Diving, snorkeling, sunbathing|
|90||Haakgat||Melkbosstrand||November – February||Windsurfing, water surfing|
|91||Sunrise Beach||Muizenberg||May – September||Sunrise watching|
|92||Country Club Beach||Durban||July – December||Golfing, sunbathing|
|93||Bantry Bay, Cape Town||Cape Town||July – September||Diving, snorkeling, sunbathing|
|94||Dairy Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||July – September||Sunbathing, surfing|
|95||Milton Beach||Cape Town||July – September||Sunbathing|
|96||Mpenjati Nature Reserve||KwaZulu-Natal||January – December||Nature reserve tour|
|97||The Riverside Aqua Sports and Beach Bar||Port Edward||November – February||Canoeing, surfing|
|98||Hobie Beach||Summerstrand||November – May||Body-boarding, paddling, tanning, surfing|
|99||Maclear Beach||Cape Point||September – March||Snorkeling, diving|
|100||Margate Accommodation.NET||KwaZulu-Natal||July – September||Body-boarding, paddling, tanning, surfing|
|101||Barefoot Breaks||Bokoven||January – December||Fishing, sunbathing|
|102||Bosbokstrand||Cape Town||June – October||Beach sports|
|103||Museum Complex||Mossel bay||January – December||Museum tour|
|104||Nature’s Valley Beach||Natures Valley||June – October||Tanning, surfing|
|105||Stanger Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||July – September||Body-boarding, paddling, snorkeling, diving|
|106||Sunset Beach||Cape Town||June – October||Windsurfing|
|107||Fisherman’s Beach||Simon’s Town||February – August||Body-boarding, paddling, snorkeling|
|108||Five Mile Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||May – September||Diving, sunbathing|
|109||Graaff’s Pool||Cape Town||May – September||Sunbathing|
|110||Two Mile Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||June – October||Sunbathing|
|111||Table Bay||Cape Town||May – September||Hiking, surfing|
|112||Lookout Beach||Plethenberg bay||July – September||Whale watching, dolphins watching|
|113||Salmon Bay Beach||Ballito||November – February||Fishing, surfing|
|114||Igoda Beach||Eastern Cape||November – February||Diving, sunbathing, surfing|
|115||Mzamba Beach||KwaZulu-Natal||June – October||Paddling, sunbathing|
|116||Camps Bay Nature Park||Cape Town||January – December||Nature park tour, surfing|
|117||Three Anchor Bay||Cape Town||June – October||Beach sports, signal hill hiking|
Frequently Asked Questions about Beaches in South Africa
What is the best time of year to visit South Africa’s beaches?
Since South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, its summer is the opposite of the US. The prime beach season in South Africa is from November to March.
But the best time to visit will depend on what activity you are visiting for. Surfing and nature watching may be different from swimming and sunbathing.
What are the top beaches in South Africa?
What makes a beach a top beach will vary from person to person. It will all depend on what they are looking for. Some of the best beaches from travel writers are as follows.
1. Santos Beach
2. Umhlanga Beach
3. Grotto Beach
4. Bloubergstrand Beach
5. Camps Bay Beach
How much is a tourist visa for South Africa?
The visa cost will vary based on what country you are visiting and how long you plan to stay. US passport holders visiting for 90 days or less don’t need a visa to enter the country.
Is it safe for Americans to travel to South Africa?
Yes, it is safe for Americans in South Africa. As with any vacation to any city or country, use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings.
Some parts of the country are prone to and have higher rates of violent crime. Those areas also are not tourist areas. If a tourist considers visiting one of those areas, they should not do so.
Is it safe to swim at South African beaches?
It is very safe to swim in the water around South African beaches. As with anywhere, be on the lookout for sharks and jellyfish.
But the risk here is lower than in countries like the US or Australia.
What should you not wear in South Africa?
Visiting South Africa isn’t like visiting other parts of Africa. The culture isn’t as modest here.
You should wear lightweight clothing since it can get really warm. Cotton and linen are great fabrics to wear during the summer season here.
The only thing to avoid is dark colors because those can attract tsetse flies. Those flies can cause African Sleeping Sickness.
While participating in a safari during your visit, dress in neutral colors, but avoid looking like a cliché.
Are South African beaches expensive to visit?
Yes, the country as a whole can be quite expensive to visit. Hotels are the primary expense for tourists.
Flights can be costly, depending upon where you are visiting from. Unlike other African nations, you will pay a considerable amount to stay in the country and at a beach resort.
Can I travel to South Africa without a visa?
This depends on what country you are visiting. Passport holders from the US can visit South Africa for 90 days or less without a visa.
Not every country has the same relationship as South Africa, and they should check to see what the requirements are for their country. Some nations need a visa but don’t have to pay a fee.
Which South African beaches are best for surfing?
Elands Bay is hands down recognized as the best place for surfing on the South African coast. Long Beach, Muizenberg, Victorian Bay, and Jeffries Bay are also known as surfing hot spots.
How much money should I take with me to South African beaches?
This will depend on what you plan to do for the day. Some beaches offer fewer services than others, so carrying cash with you is useless. You will need to bring your supplies.
For others, assess what you plan to do for the day and budget your cash accordingly.
While South African beaches are incredibly safe, you don’t want to do anything that would make you a target for anyone with bad intentions.
The beaches of South Africa are truly spectacular and offer activities for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a couple or a family with small children. There are beaches in South Africa perfectly suited for you.
Make sure you visit at least one the next time you book a beach holiday.
Check out other beaches in the rest of the world here.