South Africa beaches

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Start planning your beach vacation in South Africa

With over 1,700 miles of coastline lapped by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa is famous for its excellent beaches. From sweet surfing spots to dramatic rock formations, there's something to suit all types of beach lover. 

What makes South Africa a great beach destination

The beaches in South Africa are typically sandy, making them great for family vacations and lazy days out. There’s plenty of good surf around Durban, and even some intriguing wildlife on the beaches around Cape Town. On the coast of the KwaZulu-Natal region, sand tends to be coarse, while on the Eastern Cape it’s fine and soft, and it feels great under foot. 

The best beaches to visit in South Africa

There is a beach to suit everyone along South Africa's coastline. Whether you're looking to hit some epic waves on a surfboard or spot wildlife in a gorgeous nature reserve, you'll find your slice of beach paradise in South Africa.

Surf the waves of Jeffrey's Bay

‘J-Bay’, as the locals call it, is one of the top surfing beaches in the world and hosts international surf competitions in the summer months. The main beach is very popular but a short drive along the coast will take you to the quieter Aston Bay. The waves are still brilliant here, but you'll avoid the crowds.

Escape it all at Kosi Bay

One of South Africa's best beaches can be found on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Black Rock beach is accessed by a sandy track from the village of Kosi Bay. The waves are gentle and swimming is great, and you will often have the eight-mile stretch all to yourself. It gets its name from the dramatic black rock formations along the coast here. 

Chill out in Kei Mouth

This small village in the Eastern Cape is home to a smattering of great resorts and a stretch of really beautiful sand. This is the perfect location for building sandcastles, and the waves are excellent for those learning to surf or bodyboard. Shack up in one of the beachfront hotels or resorts here and enjoy the village’s laid-back vibe. 

Join the backpackers at Hole in the Wall 

Named after a small arch in a rocky outcrop beyond the beach, this small bay is a wonderfully remote place to end up, but you won’t be alone. Its closest town is the backpacker's oasis of Coffee Bay, and beyond the beach here you’ll find hostels and B&Bs, popular with young travelers. If you don’t like sand, this is the one for you, as it’s one of the few pebbled beaches along the South African coast.

Take a stroll along Diaz Beach

Diaz Beach is located in the picturesque Cape Point Nature Reserve. The sand is pure white and the turquoise water is incredibly inviting. Stroll along the beach to soak up the dramatic scenery, where cliffs tower above the sands. In winter, you can often spot whales from this beach.

Tips for planning a beach vacation in South Africa

It's worth hiring a car if you want to explore the coastline of South Africa, especially if you want to reach the best off-the-beaten-track beaches. South Africa's summer lasts from mid-October to mid-February, making it a great place to escape the winter weather at home.

When to go in South Africa?

South Africa is marked by two seasons: a hot and humid summer (November to March) and a dry cooler winter (April to October). The Western Cape region has winter rainfall from June to August. The good thing is that South Africa has something to offer for each season. Safari season is from April to October. From November to March, the beaches of the Western Cape are idyllic. If you come between June and September there is a fair chance you will see whales… And then there is the Kwazulu-Natal coast, perfect for bathing all year round.
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