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12 Best South African Beaches for Your Next Vacation

South Africa

Traveling to South Africa soon? There are countless things to do while on vacation there, whether with family, friends, or your partner. The beaches are among the most popular attractions, and there are dozens of them!

But there are definitely some sandy coastlines that are better than others. If you’re in the market for a luxurious vacation with sunbathing and peaceful waves whooshing against the shore, here are the top 12 South African beaches to consider:

1. Camps Bay

Camps Bay

There are many lists ranking the best beaches in South Africa. There’s some disagreement to the order of rankings for most beaches, but everyone agrees that Camps Bay in Cape Town is the best beach in the country.

You can clearly see the Twelve Apostles mountains as an impressive backdrop. Plus, it’s close to the airport, Cape Winelands, Cape Point, and other attractions, making it a central location for tourists. You’ll want to plan your stay near Camps Bay when traveling to Cape Town.

2. Dolphin Beach

Dolphin Beach

Given its name because of the many dolphins who play in the waves, this gorgeous destination is perfect for tourists and families alike. It gets busy in the summer when the dolphins are at their highest numbers, so if you’re looking for a little peace, go in the off-season.

3. North Beach

North Beach

Located in Durban, North Beach is a popular attraction for vacationers because of the nearby amenities and water sports. It boasts amazing night life with clubs and high-rise hotels beckoning you to stay.

4. Thompson’s Bay

Thompson’s Bay

If you drive off the beaten path, about 40 miles north of Durban, you’ll find a gorgeous coastal town called Ballito. It’s small, scenic, and private because it’s surrounded by a rocky cove. The tidal pools are fun for exploring and the beach is pristine and isolated.

5. Kogel Bay

Kogel Bay

Kogel Bay is located along a popular scenic route, Clarence Drive. It’s commonly driven by tourists in search of whales. Many visitors stop at this small beach to wander around the tidal pools and have a picnic lunch while casually scanning the horizons for whales of all varieties.

6. Umhlanga Rocks

Umhlanga Rocks

Umhlanga Rocks, a stunning beach on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, has long been a popular tourist attraction. As a result, it’s been developed into a thriving resort community, giving you the opportunity to relax near the water and enjoy the luxuries or resort life.

7. Nahoon Beach

Nahoon beach

The most popular beach in East London, Nahoon makes a lovely getaway for family swimmers and casual sunbathers. It’s great for surfing or walking along the soft sand as the sun sets over the warm Indian Ocean.

8. Santos Beach

Santos Beach

There’s no shortage of breathtaking beaches along the Garden Route, but Santos Beach in Mossel Bay is the most extraordinary destination. Surrounded by palm sands and gradually sloping sand, the waves are small and perfect for children to play in while their parents sip a refreshing beverage on the beach.

9. Clifton

Clifton

Clifton is more of a region than a single beach. There are actually four beaches in the Clifton area, and each makes a fantastic retreat for tourists. Surprisingly, there is virtually no wind along these four famous shores, even though the wind is strong throughout the country. It’s not great for water sports, but it’s perfect for relaxing and swimming in peaceful waters.

10. Langebaan Beach

Langebaan Beach

Langebaan Beach draws a crowd both for its unique sandstone formations as well as its perfect climate for kite surfing. The region has a lovely cross shore wind and coupled with the mild temperatures and flat turquoise waters, it’s perfect for smooth sailing.

11. Thonga Beach

Thonga Beach

North KwaZulu-Natal has another fabulous beach on this list: Thonga Beach. It’s surrounded by coastal dunes and vegetation, which attract those interested in sand dune sports. Then, the sparkling Indian Ocean provides an excellent place to cool down. You can also spot turtles laying eggs or hatching and scuttling to the beach.

12. Kraalbaai

Kraalbaai

The idyllic lagoon waters of Kraalbaai has often been compared with the beaches in the Maldives. There’s crystal-clear turquoise water, white sands, yachts, and privacy. This beach is also right near the mountains, so you could go for a hike when you’re not kayaking across the gorgeous waters.

Planning your accommodations near any of these beaches will set the perfect tone for your stay in South Africa. You can’t go wrong with the warm waters and white sands of all the beaches on this list.

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