South Africa is a great beach and seaside destination with miles and miles of coastline and beautiful white, sandy beaches. Seaside towns and resorts are popular amongst locals and visitors and are found along the length of South Africa's coastline from the waters of the warm Indian Ocean on the east coast to the cooler waters of the Atlantic on the west coast.
Cape Town is world renowned for its beautiful beaches. The white sandy coves of Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno on the Atlantic Seaboard side are vibrant and trendy and the waters are chilly. For a great beach holiday with plenty of bars and restaurants offering evening sundowners and nightlife, choose to stay in Camps Bay, Bantry Bay or Clifton.
Over the mountain in False Bay, the beaches of Fish Hoek, Muizenberg and Boulders are more family orientated with warm, shallow waters and tidal pools for children to enjoy. For a relaxed beachside holiday, opt to stay in Fish Hoek, Simon's Town or Clovelly - alternatively, these beaches are a mere 20 or 30-minute drive from the Southern Suburbs or City Bowl.
Also in close proximity to Cape Town are the popular beaches of Bloubergstrand - a favourite with kitesurfers. Further along the west coast is the seaside town of Langebaan - with its lagoon it is popular amongst windsurfers. And, further afield the rustic fishing village towns of Saldanha, Elandsbaai and Lamberts Bay are well known for their fresh seafood and are popular surfing spots.
Less than an hour away from Cape Town are the long, golden beaches of Strand and Gordon's Bay, and further along the coast into the Overberg region are the seaside towns of Betty's Bay, Hermanus, Gansbaai and Pearly Beach. Hermanus has plenty to offer in the line of accommodation, restaurants and activities and is also a prime whale-watching destination. Whale-watching season is at its best in September and October when the giant Southern Right Whales come into the bay to calve. Continuing along the coastline are Cape Agulas, the most southerly tip of Africa, and the quaint fishing village of Arniston.
Beautiful beaches are found along the entire Garden Route stretch from Mossel Bay and include Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The long stretch of beach at Wilderness is ideal for walking but has rough waters and can be dangerous for swimming. The lagoon in Knysna is ideal for boating and fishing and in Plettenberg Bay the beaches are long and sandy and offer good swimming making them popular with families, particularly in the summer holidays.
Accommodation along the Garden Route stretch is plentiful - from rustic log cabins to 5-star hotels. Most of the towns and beaches are within driving distance of one another, so it is possible to find accommodation in one place and plan day-trips to the surrounding attractions. And, when you tire of the beach there are plenty of other activities to enjoy.
In the Eastern Cape the coastline between Port Elizabeth and East London is known as the Sunshine Coast where warm waters and long sandy beaches make for a holiday paradise. Seaside towns include Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred and Kidd's Beach. Port Elizabeth's beaches have warm waters and calm seas and are popular with watersport enthusiasts as are those in East London.
Further along from East London the coast is referred to as the Wild Coast - here the coastline is more rugged and untamed and includes the seaside towns of Gonubie, Haga-Haga, Kei Mouth and Coffee Bay. Also in the Eastern Cape, the seaside towns of Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay are popular holiday resorts and Jeffreys Bay is a renowned surfing destination.
There is ample accommodation to choose from along the entire Eastern Cape coastline. Some towns are bigger than others and offer a wider selection of accommodation - for families there are a host of seaside resorts offering self-catering facilities and activities for everyone.
Durban, North Coast and South Coast
A warm climate and warm waters all year round makes Kwazulu- Natal a popular seaside destination. Durban is the main hub and is also one of the busiest ports in Africa. Besides plenty of beaches and water activities, Durban also offers the aquarium and dophinarium ideal for children.
The Kwazulu-Natal coastline is divided into the South Coast and North Coast with Durban and its surrounds separating the two. The South Coast towns of Amanzimtoti, Scottburgh, Margate and Port Shepstone offer long stretches of white, sandy beaches. These are popular family holiday destinations and are particularly busy in the summer months. North from Durban are the popular seaside towns of Umhlanga and Ballito and then a quieter stretch of coastline before Richards Bay and the St Lucia region.
The Kwazulu-Natal coastline has a wide range of accommodation available from hotels to guesthouses and B&B's.