Top 7 Local Beach Destinations in South Africa

South Africa boasts a coastline that is diverse, stunning, and stretches for 2,798 kilometres from west to east. Picture this: a coastal trilogy featuring the Atlantic Coast on the west, the southern coast along the Indian Ocean, and the eastern or Indian Ocean coast.


2min read

Published 5 February 2024


South Africa boasts a coastline that is diverse, stunning, and stretches for 2,798 kilometres from west to east. Picture this: a coastal trilogy featuring the Atlantic Coast on the west, the southern coast along the Indian Ocean, and the eastern or Indian Ocean coast.

Atlantic Coast (West Coast):

Embark on a journey along the western coastline, where the Atlantic Ocean's cold waters paint a rugged masterpiece of rocky shores, cliffs, and vast sandy beaches. The region boasts an arid climate, with the Namib Desert gracefully extending into the northern realms.

Southern Coast (South Coast):

As the coastline pivots southward, a unique dance unfolds between the cold Benguela Current from the Atlantic Ocean and the warm Agulhas Current from the Indian Ocean. The stage is set with the Cape of Good Hope, a prominent feature at the southern tip. Rocky shores, rugged cliffs, and picture-perfect sandy beaches harmonize in this captivating coastal region.

Indian Ocean Coast (East Coast):

Heading east, the coastline welcomes the warm embrace of the Indian Ocean. This region introduces a more subtropical climate compared to the arid west coast. The coastal city of Durban takes centre stage, renowned for its golden beaches and subtropical climate. Sandy beaches, estuaries, and lagoons add layers to the coastal tapestry.


These top 7 gems encapsulate the essence of South Africa's coastal diversity, offering a kaleidoscope of experiences for beach enthusiasts. From the trendy allure of Clifton Beaches in Cape Town, adorned with sparkling white sands and vibrant beachfront scenes, to the iconic waves and surfing culture of Jeffrey's Bay in the Eastern Cape, each beach on this list boasts its unique charm.

Clifton Beaches (Cape Town):

Cape Town's dazzling gems, the Clifton Beaches, make a grand entrance with sparkling white sands and an atmosphere as trendy as the latest fashion show. These four well-maintained beaches are under the watchful eye of lifeguards during the summer months. The vibrant beachfront scene surrounding Clifton features cafes, restaurants, and shops—making it a must-visit destination.

Camps Bay Beach (Cape Town):

Adjacent to Clifton, Camps Bay Beach is the Blue Flag status celebrity with its wide sandy shore. The beach promises high standards of water quality and safety, living up to its A-list reputation. Camps Bay's promenade is a hub of gastronomic delights, offering a range of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Umhlanga Rocks (Durban):

North of Durban, Umhlanga Rocks shines with a beautiful sandy beach boasting warm waters. The beach is protected by shark nets and patrolled by vigilant lifeguards, ensuring a safe haven for swimming enthusiasts. The well-developed beachfront, complete with a paved promenade, offers a wide range of facilities for a delightful coastal experience.

Ballito Beach (Durban):

On the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Ballito emerges as a family-friendly haven with its popular beach featuring tidal pools. Safety measures, including lifeguards and shark nets, add an extra layer of reassurance. The beachfront promenade is lined with restaurants and shops, creating a pleasant environment for beachgoers.


Plettenberg Bay (Western Cape):

Plettenberg Bay graces the Western Cape with several pristine beaches, including Central Beach and Robberg Beach. Lifeguards stand guard during peak seasons, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. The charming town centre further enhances the appeal with a variety of restaurants and shops.

Muizenberg Beach (Cape Town):

Muizenberg, a quirky character in this coastal tale, stands out with its long, sandy beach and colourful beach huts. This Blue Flag beach is a surfer's haven, complete with consistent lifeguard presence. The beach exudes a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, making it a favourite among locals and visitors alike.

Jeffrey’s Bay (Eastern Cape):

Known as a surfer's and shell collector's paradise, Jeffrey’s Bay unfolds its wide sandy beach, well-patrolled and offering consistent waves. Referred to as "J Bay" by the surfing community, it holds a reputation for some of the world's best surfing waves, including the legendary "Supertubes." The town embraces a vibrant surfing culture, complemented by clean, well-patrolled surroundings and a range of amenities for visitors.


These highlighted beaches provide just a glimpse into the coastal wonders of South Africa. However, the coastline boasts numerous other stunning destinations, each with its own character and varying degrees of bathing friendliness and beachfront infrastructure. Some smaller, intimate beaches remain hidden gems, known only to residents and their families.

South Africa's Best Beach:

Now, answering the burning question—what is the number one beach in South Africa? Well, that's a subjective choice, as it depends on what you're seeking in a beach experience. For pristine white sands and trendy vibes, Clifton Beaches in Cape Town might steal the show. If you prefer a Blue Flag celebrity with a wide sandy shore, Camps Bay Beach is a top contender. However, Jeffrey’s Bay, with its iconic waves and vibrant surfing culture, holds a special place in the hearts of many beach enthusiasts.

Where to Find White Sand:

White sand enthusiasts, rejoice! Clifton Beaches in Cape Town are your go-to destination. These beaches are renowned for their sparkling white sands, creating a picturesque setting that attracts beachgoers seeking a blend of luxury and natural beauty.

Most Underrated Local Beaches:

Uncovering the most underrated local beaches is like finding hidden treasures along the coastline. Among the lesser-known gems are the tranquil and unspoiled stretches of Cape Vidal, the soft sands of Buffels Bay, and the intimate beauty of Paternoster Beach. These beaches offer a more secluded and authentic experience, away from the bustling crowds.

South Africa's coastline is a cinematic masterpiece with a cast of diverse beaches, each playing a unique role in the coastal narrative. Whether you seek trendy vibes, family-friendly havens, or surfing paradises, the beaches of South Africa have something for every beachgoer. So, pack your sunscreen, embrace the coastal breeze, and explore the sandy wonders that make South Africa a beach lover's paradise and book your local beach holiday package today!

Flight Centre

© Flight Centre Travel Group (Pty) Ltd. Registration No. 1994/000253/07.

*Prices are in ZAR and subject to availability. Please refer to specific product’s terms and conditions.