#FindYourEscape: SA's nudist beaches to check out

2017-11-02 12:34 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Are you ready to strip away your heavy office gear in favour of going au natural this summer?

If the answer is yes to the above question then perhaps breaking free and getting closer to nature while finding temporary solace from a society of consumerism might just be the way to go. 

In South Africa, nude recreation has become an increasingly popular trend as it is seen as an expression of self and a showcase of completely being comfortable in your own skin. 

However, many still blush at the thought of stripping down to their birthday suits, while nudists and enthusiasts dare to go bare.

It's no secret nude beaches are the source of many stereotypes and built-in preconceptions, most of which generally call to mind not-so-bay-watch-ready images of grinning sunburned, middle-aged people with saggy butts and a pervert with binoculars aiming for the 'perfect view'. 

ALSO SEE: Water-wise summer: Certain Cape pools to remain open despite water restrictions

But the reality is that nudist beaches don’t attract only old eccentrics and each beach has its own vibe, including some that are family-friendly.

With a spread of them in South Africa, official or not, they also vary in levels of strictness as they encourage nudity but do not enforce it upon anyone.

You don’t have to be naked in order to hang out on most nudist beaches. Most people end up topless and in bikinis even though a lot of people do end up stripping  for an all-over glow, no one is concerned about the next person. As it should be. 

The tolerance and sense of freedom associated with being naked is the common ground among all nudist beaches.

So for those who wish to let it all hang out here’s a guide to finding your freedom at some of South Africa’s beaches.

Sandy Bay – Cape Town

This unofficial beach isn't only known for being a nude beach but also a gay, nude beach. 

Although it is not accessible via car, here you can expect a good ten-minute hike from the parking lot. But being far from the crowds does mean when you get to the beach, you can let it all hang out for that perfect all over tan.

ALSO SEE: Cape Water Crisis: How viable is a festive season 'water tax'?

Secrets beach – Port Elizabeth

This is one of PE's best-kept secrets - a nudist beach that requires you to walk along the coast toward the Cape Receife Nature Reserve.

This wonderful warm unofficial nudist beach lies just inshore of the wreck and the area is pretty secluded. Caution is advised here so it is best that you go in a group and don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.

SEE: 17 Budget-friendly activities to get up to in Port Elizabeth

Light House beach – Port Alfred

Situated below the Great Fish Point Lighthouse, this beach boasts amazing views and provides nude sunbathing and swimming. This is Port Alfred's unofficial nude beach and is in walking distance from the lighthouse and park. 

Umhlanga Lagoon – Durban

Although hidden away from the general public and quite a mission to gain access to, the waters along this shoreline are crystal clear and turquoise blue on a perfect summer’s day, while the sand is a clean, unaltered white.

This is Umhlanga’s unofficial nude beach and has always been one of the North Coast’s best kept secrets for the past couple of decades.

SEE: How to have a mini-break in Durban

Mpenjati Beach -  Kwazulu Natal 

While it has been scrapped from being South Africa’s first official nude beach, this tranquil stretch of Hibiscus coast in the Mpenjati Nature Reserve is now a place for naturists to let it all hang in peace and it attracts a number of visitors on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the opening of this beach has been met with complications as it faced backlash resulting in a near crisis as a Concerned Citizens Group argued against the go-ahead. it's all good though if you want to enjoy the beach in your birthday suit. 

SEE: PICS: KZN nude beachgoers get ahead of themselves

Rules you should obey while at a nudist beach:

No photographs may be taken unless everyone in the picture agrees to it being taken and gets to see it afterwards.
Staring is not allowed, because “it’s rude whether you have clothes on or not”.
“No sexual behaviour of any kind”. This includes dancing in a provocative manner, sitting on someone inappropriately, swapping saliva or inappropriate touching. 
Always take a towel and make sure you sit on it when on other people’s furniture.
“Unpredictable erections” must be covered up.
Rude comments such as obscene or offensive language, racism, sexism, homophobia or sexual or erotic material are forbidden.

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