A true chameleon, South Africa has 1,001 faces from the beauty of its coastline to stunning national parks and extraordinary wildlife. Like its extremely varied landscapes, South African beaches offer their own surprising contrasts, ranging from isolated and wild to popular and trendy, but always beautiful. Here are our pick of the best beaches in South Africa.
Wilderness Beach: Raw Nature
Not far from Wilderness National Park, and home to lush green hills and impressive ancient forests, Wilderness Beach is a breathtaking sight. Delightfully wild, Wilderness Beach stretches for 11 miles of fine sand, bordered by crystal-clear water. The only snag is that you cannot swim outside the monitored areas because the currents are too strong, but there's nothing to stop you from taking a walk at low tide to soak up scenery that's so beautiful it looks like something from a movie.
Mingle with the Penguins at Boulders Beach
These funny little birds have come to settle at Boulders National Park, which is now home to a large colony. At the heart of this tiny natural site lies the charming Boulders Beach, where it's even possible to swim and enjoy the gentle lapping of the Indian Ocean alongside the penguins, however it is strictly forbidden to disturb them. On this beach, the penguins rule the roost.
Camps Bay, Cape Town's Most Beautiful Beach
Camps Bay is undoubtedly Cape Town's prettiest beach, but also its largest, with miles of white sand. Nearby, trendy bars and boutiques give it a Californian twist, while views of the immense Twelve Apostles mountain range provide the perfect backdrop. Tip : head to Camps Bay when the sun is shining, as the water can be pretty chilly there.
Noordhoek, One of the Wildest Beaches on the West Coast
Visit Noordhoek Beach near Cape Town and you can feel like you are the only people in the world. With pristine sand, translucent water and gigantic sandstone and granite cliffs bordering the famous Chapman's Peak Drive, Noordhoek Beach is something to behold. Practically deserted save a surfer or two, Noordhoek is particularly great for people hoping for a quiet and romantic walk along the sand.
Kraalbaai Beach : A New Perspective
Kraalbaai Beach is a nature lover's paradise, located on the edge of the sumptuous Langebaan Lagoon and populated by a multitude of wildlife. The water here is warm, the ocean turquoise blue and the sand white. Even better news is that the beach is never too busy, apart from a few South Africans who came to enjoy a braai - the famous South African barbecue. If the weather is good, it's the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun and views of the surrounding hills.
St. John's James Beach (Muizenberg) and its Rainbow-Hued Huts
Although the beach itself is not as impressive as its counterparts, it still deserves a mention for its multi-coloured beach huts. Contrasting harmoniously with the cream-coloured sand, these pretty huts painted in a multitude of colours (red, yellow, green, blue, etc.) are famous around the country. There is even a yellow train that runs daily on the railway line running alongside the sea, giving this place a truly colourful vibe.
Travel to the Ends of the Earth at the Cape of Good Hope
At the very southern end of the Cape of Good Hope peninsula – an explorer's dream – is the end of Africa. Walk along the beautiful path overlooking the sea, then head down the staircase to a small beach where the ocean is the only thing around, and stretches as far as the eye can see. This really is the edge of the world.