Cape Town – Sun’s out and surfs up! But there’s more to beach life than sand, sunshine and surfing.
Going to the beach is an activity that brings families, lovers and the even the community together.
In KwaZulu-Natal, it’s quite common to see large families unite on a beach trip. They usually take pleasure in preparing for an afternoon at the beach – which is evident with an array of picnic baskets, beach blankets, gazebos and outdoor chairs – accompanied with a braai stand and the smell of delicious local food. You can even enjoy a bunny chow on the beach!
The best part about east coast beaches is the warm, inviting water that you can’t help but frolic in!
ALSO SEE: #LoveSA: 62 Beautiful Blue Flag beaches
Along the west coast, expect to see more tourists, and less people frolicking in the water as it's much, much colder! However, the Western and Eastern Capes both offer a plethora of beautiful landscapes that make for romantic beach escapes and private getaways.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach spot or an exclusive beach escape, grab your beach towel, some sun screen and your beach buddies, and check out these beaches in SA.
Beach resorts and hotels
While travellers are most likely to book accommodation at the nearest Airbnb to the beach of their choice, there are some who would like to make a seaside trip based on their accommodation. These are beach escapes that give you access to other activities and of course breathtaking views.
Thornbay Accommodation in Doringbaai, a small town in southern Namaqualand on SA’s West Coast offers fully-equipped self-catering accommodation with sea-facing views.
Each room has its own patio with braai overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and activities available include surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, crayfish diving, whale-watching, hiking between Doringbaai and Strandfontein and cycling along the coast.
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For a luxurious stay while exploring the Western Cape’s Overberg region, make a stop at The Marine in Hermanus. This is an ideal stopover during your summer roadtrip through the area which offers stunning mountain and seaviews, whale-watching and a classy stayover.
SEE: Your ultimate Overberg road trip guide
Eastern Cape boasts some of SA’s most stunning unspoilt landscapes and Ocean View Hotel in Coffee Bay will give you access to some of the province's best sights – including the popular “hole in the wall” landmark.
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KwaZulu-Natal never fails to impress in summer with a number of resorts from Ballito and Umhlanga in the south, all the way to St Lucia in the north. One of the popular spots is Zimbali View Eco Guesthouse, which is an “eco-sensitive boutique hotel” boasting views of the Indian Ocean.
While beach outings with family are pleasurable and exciting, it comes with a fair amount of stress for parents with young children.
Not only must parents constantly be on the lookout for their kids and ensure maximum safety at beaches, but they must also consider a beach that will keep kids of varying ages entertained, as well as spots that allow for picnics and braais to keep those hungry tummies satisfied.
These beaches are ideal for family-friendly day trips:
A beach with inlets between granite boulders and home to a colony of African penguins, Boulders Beach is certainly not your ordinary beach and is bound to delight the little ones and adults alike.
SEE: Boulders penguin colony upgrades 'won't hamper visitor experience'
The beach is situated in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town towards Cape Point, and if you’re not from the region, this is the beach you have to stop at for a one of a kind experience where you get to swim alongside penguins!
Close to the shore and easily accessible, Mermaid’s Pool at Nahoon Reef in the Eastern Cape is great to play in when the tide is low. There are rock structures and interesting sea life to explore in the area too.
The rocks form a natural tidal pool that is perfect for children to play in, and is great for snorkeling as you can spot coral, seaweeds and tropical fish. For divers, there is also Nahoon reef.
SEE: WATCH: How to snorkel in 7 easy steps
It is also considered a great white shark hot spot, so be careful.
Durban boasts golden beaches and warm waters. North Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Durban, which is situated north of the harbour and is part of the Golden Mile (a strip of some of the city’s beaches).
Often a venue for local beach parties and events, this beach brings families and the community together and boasts a myriad of activities to get up to nearby. There are many food options – from fine dining to street vendors, public pools to make the most of, and the kids will love to explore Mini Town and the mini merry-go-round.
ALSO SEE: #LoveSA: Surfing with dolphins in Durban is what Mzansi is all about
There are also plenty of sand sculptures to see, and the Golden Mile is used and loved by joggers, cyclists and people walking their dogs. You can also stroll along the pier while enjoying an ice cream and spotting surfers.
Romantic and secluded beach getaways
We commonly hear that taking long strolls on a beach or horse-riding along the coast are some of the most romantic outdoor activities. If you want to spoil your lover with a romantic coastal escape, here’s where you can take them for some quality time together.
Set in a dune forest along KZN’s Maputuland coast, Thonga Beach Lodge is a romantically luxurious lodge “with a touch of rustic charm”.
It is ideal for the eco-conscious couple, as the suites were built to ensure minimal impact on the environment and the lodge plays a role in the conservation of endangered leatherback turtles that nest on the nearby beaches. The secluded beach, tucked in nature, is what makes it a getaway for romance.
ALSO SEE: 15 Honeymoon destinations that prove Msanzi truly is for lovers
Umngazi River Resort in Eastern Cape offers its visitors unspoilt beaches that set the romantic mood.
With adults only sea-facing bungalows, and being nestled in the coastal bush not far from the main facility - connected by a rustic walkway - ensures ultimate privacy. Just what a couple needs when on a summer vacay or Honeymoon.
ALSO SEE: Find Your Escape: Effortlessly romantic
Arniston Hotel, set in a secluded part of the coastal Overberg and white-washed village of Arniston, offers views over the bay and a luxurious Spa facility. Privacy, the coast and pampering – what could be more romantic?
An off-the-beaten track beach is Water’s Edge in Simon's Town. The beach lies between Seaforth Beach and Boulders, and most people know nothing about it. When entering, it looks like going through a garden gate, but it actually leads to the beach.
SEE: 7 Secret beaches in Cape Town
Noetzie Castles, ten minutes east of Knysna, boasts a secluded cove and pristine beach. Visitors get to explore a large variety of indigenous flora and fauna, while accommodation options include staying at beach “castles”!
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