Best Kept Secrets: The Best Hidden Beaches In South Africa

A couple hugging and walking on the beach as they hold a chair and a picnic basket

3.36min read

Published 22 March 2022


Are there such things as “privately owned beaches” in South Africa? 

The short answer is an emphatic no. 

Our beaches, by legislation (the “Sea-shore Act”), are accessible to everyone and the government actively opposes any attempts at privatising any stretch of beach along this country's wonderful coastline. Amongst other provisions, this Act vests ownership of the 'sea' and the 'sea-shore' in the country's president for the benefit and use of the public. HOWEVER, that said, there are certainly many secret beaches lining our seashores that are so secluded, so hidden off the beaten path and are therefore to all intents and purposes ‘secret' from general public use. 

In other words, they are great stretches of pristine seashore sand that are less frequented by the holiday-going public and are therefore comparatively quiet so they almost have an unspoilt, private beach vibe of their own.     



Aerial shot of Noordhoek Beach

What is a private beach?

By definition, a private beach is one usually owned by a seaside resort/hotel and is for the exclusive use of the resort's or hotel's guests, though there are some exceptions where non-residents are indeed granted use of the beach, but at a cost.

How do you find a secret, private or hidden beach in South Africa?

Since there are no private beaches in South Africa, to enjoy the benefits usually provided at such facilities it is, unfortunately, necessary for you to leave our shores, to travel abroad and be prepared to pay for the privilege by staying in high-end/luxury accommodation.

What are the best ‘secret' beaches in South Africa?

But do not be deterred. South Africa has secluded beaches and hidden beach destinations that rival some of the best private beaches you will find anywhere in the world! They may not have all the ‘bells and whistles' that exotic travel offers (like waiters taking your drinks orders as you lounge in your deck chairs!) but don't be put off, this country does indeed have wonderful, quiet, and generally unspoilt beaches! Below is an alphabetical list of over 20 mouth-wateringly stunning beaches, stretching all the way from the cold Atlantic seaboard around the coastline to hideaways lapped by the warm Indian Ocean Aghulas current. 


Blue water bay surrounded by mountains
Buffels Bay Beach              Chintsa BeachCoffee Bay
Chintsa BeachCoffee BayDiaz Beach
Gerickes PointGordon’bayHluleka Beach
Gordon’bayHluleka BeachHole-In-The-Wall
Hluleka BeachHole-In-The-WallKogel Bay
Hole-In-The-WallKogel BayKosi Bay
Kosi BayMazeppa BayMorgan Bay
Nature’s ValleyNoordhoek BeachNoetzie Cove
Preekstoel BeachSmitswinkel BaySodwana Bay
Storm’s River MouthStruisbaaiTietiesbaai
Water’s Edge  

Let us take a closer look at just a few of the most underrated beaches in the country from the above list.

Noetzie Cove

Just outside Knysna lies a secluded cove, known as Noetzie. Its beach is not only beautiful and boasts a peaceful estuary but it is also lined with some amazing flora and the famed “Noetzie Castles”. Noetzie Cove remains somewhat underrated as a beach destination and is to this day mostly untouched. 

Sodwana Bay

Famed for having the southernmost coral reefs in the world, Sodwana Bay is South Africa's scuba diving mecca. Not only does it cater for just about everything for scuba divers, from dive boats to scuba diving equipment, it is also well geared up to handle the influx of sport fishermen and their boats. On the other hand, the beach itself stretches from kilometre upon kilometre of expanses of white clean white sand, the sea is crystal clear and the water temperature is suitable for year-round safe swimming.

Smitswinkel Bay

Hidden beneath the road that leads to the Cape Point Nature Reserves is the secluded Smitswinkel Bay. While it does not have the easiest access (you have to lug everything in and out), this spot offers visitors jaw-dropping views of Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Table Bay. 

The area remains mostly undeveloped (apart from a few nearby houses). There is a rustic footpath that takes you directly to the unspoilt beach.

Diaz Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve

Diaz Beach in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, Cape Town, may not be ideal for swimming but it comes complete with white sand, turquoise water, and an abundance of marine life. The beach itself is an easy 20 minute walk from the main road on a wooden walkway. Before visiting Cape Point don't forget to stop by Boulders beach where you can visit the penguins and take in massive granite boulders alongside the turquoise waters.

False Bay

Visit False Bay for a captivating blend of pristine beaches and vibrant marine life, where you can witness breathtaking sunsets over the azure waters while enjoying opportunities for whale watching and water sports. Its unique charm and diverse activities make it a must-see destination along the South African coastline.

Queen's Beach, Cape Town

Queen's Beach entices visitors with its secluded beauty, soft sands, pristine beach and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled beneath the iconic Lion's Head, it offers a serene escape and an ideal spot for relaxation and beachside picnics.


Umzumbe Beach

At the mouth of the delightful Mzumbe River in KZN, you find the blue-flag Umzumbe swimming beach. Access is via a very steep walkway through dense coastal dune vegetation but the reward of this beach is undoubtedly worth the effort in getting there. Although there are lifeguards on duty (which is somewhat paradoxical to the concept of “hidden” or “secret”), the beach remains virtually untouched. It is lapped by warm, pristine water, abundant seashells, and has great tidal pools.

Sand between your toes, waves lapping the shore and sun kissing your shoulders. If that sounds good to you then maybe you should get up and live the beach life now!

Going to the beach is not only about getting a tan or escaping the city hustle and bustle. Reasons to enjoy island holidays are not limited to fun and relaxation but are also great to enhance your mood and your health.

There are enormous benefits to having enjoyed a beautiful beach holiday and that is why beach breaks are extremely popular the world over. The sun is loaded with Vitamin D, walking on sand is a natural mood enhancer, seawater is full of anti-ageing minerals that can improve the elasticity of your skin, the sound of the ocean is relaxing and let's face it a beach vibe is heaven.

South Africans have incredible places to visit that improve health, general well-being, relaxes body and mind and most importantly, makes you happier. So come on, it's time to start planning a holiday that will awaken all of your senses, today.

We have a wide range of beach breaks both locally as well as a hop, skip and jump away. So if you are dying to feel the sand between your toes, look no further than Flight Centre to ensure you get the right beach break for your hard-earned buck.

Speak to one of our travel experts today to find out how you can be living the beach life sooner than you think.

Let us help you book your local beach break, perfect for nature lovers and those who want to relax on lovely beaches, take in the sunset and enjoy a long walk in the late afternoon on a hot day.



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