It’s no secret that South Africa offers some of the best beaches in the world along our coastline, which stretches out for nearly 2800km. Of course, not all these beaches are the same. Some are freezing cold, some warm. Some rocky, some sandy. Some are a surfers’ paradise, others too rough to navigate. And in between all of these beaches, a handful are as perfect as you can get for swimming. Here are five of South Africa’s best swimming beaches to plan your next holiday around.
Zinkwazi Beach, KZN
A quiet lagoon set apart from the sea, grassy bank and gentle waves make Zinkwazi ideal for families with small kids. The littlies can play in the lagoon while adults and older kids can swim in the sea safely. The water is lovely and warm and the bank provides the perfect spot to dry off or keep an eye on everyone as they swim. It’s also a nice area to kayak and canoe.
Gonubie, East London
East London isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of beach holidays, but Gonubie beach is ready to exceed all of your expectations. A mere 10km from the city, Gonubie offers a tidal pool for kids as well as safe and sheltered swimming. The raised boardwalk makes it easy to access or to watch the windsurfers and aside from the beach itself, there’s also a lagoon for days when the sea is a little rougher than you were hoping for. Plus, it’s nearby to restaurants and shops, making it a great place to spend the entire day.
Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred
A slightly quieter beach for a holiday without tons of crowds, this 400m long Blue Flag has a demarcated area for safe swimming with young children, as well as boogie board hire for older kids to enjoy the swell. The South Coast water is always warm and inviting and the sand is soft and bright. The bathrooms and facilities are always clean and the water is clear and safe. It also has two elevated viewing decks which make for the most spectacular sunset viewings in the evening – and if you’re lucky, you can spot whales and dolphins frolicking in the waves from time to time as well.
Morgan Bay used to be one of South Africa’s best-kept-secrets but this safe and beautiful beach situated along South Africa’s picturesque Wild Coast is starting to draw bigger crowds with every passing year, and you can see why. It’s surrounded by greenery and dramatic cliffs, and the little seaside village is about as charming as you can get. It’s only an hour outside of East London but offers sparkling waters in both the lagoon and the sea, as well as safe swimming and beautiful surroundings.
The only Cape Town spot to make the list for obvious reasons. As beautiful as Cape Town’s beaches are, most of them are far too cold to enjoy a proper swim. Muizenberg, with its brightly coloured beach huts is far warmer than most of its Cape Town counterparts thanks to its position on the Indian Ocean. It’s particularly popular with surfers and you’ll also see lots of dog-walkers, families and kite-flyers. The town has an abundance of history and plenty of restaurants to keep you going.