Whether you curl along the Atlantic Seaboard, flee to False Bay’s seaside suburbs or take to the West Coast on an epic road trip, the question of how best to enjoy the Cape’s glorious coastlines still dogs most of us.
Sure, you might have done the charmingly clichéd stroll along the shoreline at sunset (or sunrise), swam in the cool Cape Town waters or chugged up Chappies with the ocean by your side all the way, but there are a few other great ways to experience these coastal regions in the fairest Cape.
1 – Pack a picnic and settle down
You can enjoy a picnic on virtually any of Cape Town’s beaches, from Camps Bay to Blouberg to Scarborough and beyond. So why not pack in a tasty snack (or several) and make the most of the beach?
Although seaside restaurants and harbour-facing cafes will always be tempting, sometimes there’s nothing more fun and satisfying than a packed lunch, picnic or padkos to go and what better surroundings to eat beside than our oceans?
This is particularly special at sundown or sunrise when the beach is quiet and the sky puts on a colour show of note. (Who needs a candlelit dinner when you can take her breath away with a vivid sunset?)
It’s not just for the romantics among us, though, for if you bring a spade and bucket along, the kids can eat and then have fun building sandcastles while you take a moment to enjoy a quiet, relaxing meal.
Photo credit: Jaco Esterhuizen
2 – Braai (BBQ) up a storm
Although safety and sense must always go hand-in-hand when you braai in the Cape, especially during the dry summer months, you can generally enjoy braaing at or near several great beach spots.
These include: Oudekraal (it has fabulous, sheltered braai spots, though you will have to pay an entry fee to get in), nearby Maiden’s Cove, Bloubergstrand’s Kleinbaai (it also has picnic and kids play areas) where you can make a gas braai, Eerstesteen Resort in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (again, you have to pay a small entry fee for vehicles and per person – this includes children older than three) and of course, perhaps one of the most famous beach braai spots of all: Tsaarsbank in the West Coast National park.
It also has an entry fee but comes with excellent braai and picnic facilities and there are so many other great activities to enjoy when you’re done with the barbie, including: whale watching (during the whale season), hiking, bird watching, mountain biking and so much more.
So don’t delay, braai by the beach today!
3 – Smooth sundowners by the shore
Although it may seem a bit tried and tested, few things can beat a good sundowner by the sea and with so many stunning beach spots overlooking our beautiful coastline, you’re not short on options.
Here are some excellent sundowner spots around the city: Strolla Restaurant and Bar (Sea Point), Sotano (Mouille Point), Camps Bay’s Seaside Strip (including notable local favourites Café Caprice and Clifton’s The Bungalow), Harveys Restaurant (Winchester Mansions), The Grand Café and Beach (Granger Bay), On The Rocks (Blouberg), Maestro’s on the Beach (Milnerton), Brass Bell (Kalk Bay) and many more.
You can also try some of Cape Town’s high points too – like Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.
It’s best to be sensible and safe about this so please don’t drink excessively and hike or drive – but as long as you don’t exceed the general limit, you should be fine and have a memorable drink way above the clouds to boot!
4 – Explore a secret beach
Cape Town has so many famous and popular beaches from which to soak up the sun and marvel at the coastline but what about the Mother City’s lesser known spots well-worth a visit?
- Beta Beach at Bakoven (Camps Bay) may not seem like much of a secret but it’s usually pretty quiet, even on busy weekends in summer, and from it, you can watch the surfers in action or take in the beauty of Lion’s Head from a huge granite boulder.
- False Bay’s Smitswinkel Bay is famous for drive-bys and few people venture down to the beach below, though you certainly can if you are prepared to tackle a steep, 20-minute walk… It’s worth it.
- Blouberg’s Sunset Beach is so close to the popular Blouberg but it’s usually far quieter, despite being beautiful and offering the same picture perfect views.
- Diaz Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve… it’s not necessarily a secret beach but it’s certainly one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets all the same. Surrounded by the majestic and fierce cliffs, and only accessible via a footpath off the main parking area, it’s not necessarily a beach for swimming but it’s unbelievably breath taking and certainly worth a visit!
Conclusion: So now that you have a few new, fun ways to appreciate our amazing coastline, what are you waiting for? Go on… get out there and explore!