Top 10 Secret Beaches In Cape Town

secret beaches in cape town

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Cape Town is undoubtedly blessed with some of the most pristine beaches in the world. From Clifton to Camps Bay and Muizenberg to Llandudno, we have no shortage of popular, picturesque beaches. While these beaches are well-known and often visited by locals and tourists, there are several secret beaches in Cape Town.

While I know there are many reasons to visit Cape Town’s blue flag beaches, if you’re hunting for more secluded beaches that are often less crowded and truly magical, read on as I share some of Cape Town’s best-kept secret beaches.

1. Best Secret Beach: Smitswinkel Bay

I’ll start my list of secret beaches in Cape Town with my favourite and perhaps the least-known coastal spot, Smitswinkel Bay. There are several reasons why I love this beach, but before I dive into them (excuse the pun), it must be noted that this secret cove is a little tricky to find. Firstly, Smitswinkel Bay is not visible from the road.

En route to Cape Point Nature Reserve, this secret beach is mainly frequented by locals (including those lucky families who own property there), and if you drive too fast, you’ll miss the lookout point.

You’ll notice an unofficial parking spot as you approach a rather sharp right. Park there. Walk across the road (and beware of traffic), and you’ll find a beautiful lookout point.

Look out for a hidden pathway and be ready for a 15-minute trek to the beach. As you traverse the winding road down to the beach, you’ll find cute, little wooden signs to guide you.

But why should you make the long trek to this hidden gem? Firstly, it’s notably unspoilt and uncrowded, with no reception. Secondly, it’s hidden from Cape Town’s gnarly South Easter wind; when other beaches are too windy, Smitswinkel Bay is usually calm.

Third, the surroundings are incredible; there are cute little rock pools, and if you’re a diver, there are five wrecks that were deliberately sunk, effectively creating a reef teeming with colourful fish and other marine life.

Best time to visit

  • I’d say anytime, but the earlier, the better, as the tide subsides.

Great to know

  • The beach is free to visit.
  • Ensure you have enough strong arms if you’re carting up chairs and the standard cooler box.
  • Address: Lies hidden beneath the curve of the road that takes one to Cape Point Nature Reserve.

2. Best For Dramatic Views: Diaz Beach

Let’s remain in the same part of the peninsula for now; another tremendous secret beach close to Cape Point is Diaz Beach. While Diaz Beach is one of Cape Point’s most well-known beaches, it’s still unknown to many. It’s another beach that requires a 20-minute walk from the parking and down some pretty steep stairs, but it’s worth it.

Why? It’s one of Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches.

It’s located at the southernmost tip of the peninsula and is surrounded by Cape Point’s sheer cliffs. The waves are wild, and the beach has an unspoilt shoreline.

If you’re an intermediate to pro surfer or bodyboarder, pack your wetsuit and boards because Diaz has some gnarly barrels on good days. Beware, though, Diaz Beach has one of the strongest rip currents, so I advise remaining in the shallow waves and not swimming.

Best time to visit

  • October – March (6 am – 6 pm)
  • April – September (7 am – 5 pm)

Great to know

  • Diaz Beach is part of Cape Point Nature Reserve, and thus, there are fees. For SA citizens, it’s R90 for adults and R45 for children. SADC adults pay R180 while children cost R90. For internationals, it’s R360 rand and R180 for children.
  • Address: Located at the western tip of Cape Point Nature Reserve.

3. Best For Flora & Fauna: Platboom Beach

Yet another Cape Point Nature Reserve secret beach; Platboom Beach is unspoilt, wild, secluded and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s the perfect beach to spend an entire day at. Pack your picnic basket, cooler box and all your beach toys. If you’re in the mood for a walk, Platboom Beach has an epic coastline teeming with birdlife.

You’ll need to go via Dias Cross; however, many recommend hiking from the North-South region of Gifkommetjie – a gentle 4 km trek. Platboom is rather “Instagrammable” with stunning dunes and rich fynbos and fauna, including rare sitings of ostriches and baboons. It’s deserted for the most part and is one of Cape Town’s most uncharted coastlines.

Swimming at Platboom Beach is, however, at your own risk; while it’s not dangerous, the currents can be strong, and there are no lifeguards on duty on this off-the-beaten-track beach.

Best time to visit

  • October – March (6 am – 6 pm)
  • April – September (7 am – 5 pm)
  • The nature reserve is open to the public all year, but I recommend the spring and summer months for the best experience.

Great to know

  • Platboom Beach incurs Cape Point Nature Reserve fees (see above).
  • Address: Platboom is nestled in the middle of Cape Point Nature Reserve.

4. Best For A Quiet Day: Water’s Edge at Boulders Beach

While Boulders Beach, or “the beach with the penguins”, is hardly a secret anymore (at least for locals), it’s a must-visit if you’re from abroad or another province in South Africa.

If you genuinely want the best secret beach experience in Simon’s Town, I recommend Water’s Edge. Nestled between the crowd-drawing Seaforth and Boulders Beach, Water’s Edge is a secluded gem, offering crystal-clear waters and phenomenal views.

It’s an excellent beach for a quiet, romantic picnic, with shade from the beautiful surrounding trees, so pack a day bag, picnic spread and some cold beverages!

To find this beach, park in Seaforth’s parking lot and descend the paved pathway until you find a quaint wooden gate on your left.

Best time to visit

  • Water’s Edge is usually sheltered whenever the weather is good, even when it’s windy everywhere else.

Great to know

  • Water’s Edge is great for snorkelling and safe swimming.
  • You might spot penguins!
  • It’s free.
  • Address: Between Seaforth and Boulders Beach, Simons Town.

5. Best Kalk Bay Beach: Danger Beach

As we travel further away from the south, we hit Kalk Bay – close by this bustling suburb lies Danger Beach. Don’t be alarmed by the name, Danger Beach is safe and the perfect option for a less crowded Cape Town beach experience. While many other blogs might say that water is best left for surfers, I can proudly say that swimming is not dodgy – the waves are wild, but they’re fun too!

Sunrises at Danger Beach are especially magical, so get there early, pack a novel and some snacks and enjoy the day. The beach lies right in front of the railway, with the concrete platform lending a nifty backrest and shade if you don’t have a beach umbrella.

Best time to visit

  • Once again, when the weather is good, but as I said before, try to be there as the sun rises.

Great to know

  • Danger Beach is perfect for beachcombing.
  • There are countless rock pools for you and the little ones to explore.
  • It’s also a free beach.
  • You can walk from Danger Beach all along the beach catwalk to Muizenberg.
  • Address: Close to Folk Cafe. Park in the Parking lot close to St James Station and walk about 500m – the beach entrance is on your left.

6. Best Secret Beach In Camps Bay: Beta Beach

Let’s travel to the other side of Cape Town’s coastline, to the small, secluded and stunning beach, Beta Beach.

Beta Beach is undoubtedly one of the best secret beaches in Cape Town, even if it’s not much of a secret to locals. It’s a few metres from Camps Bay, one of Cape Town’s most popular areas of the coast, but this laid-back, charming beach has spectacular views, including a stunning viewpoint of Lion’s Head.

To get there from Victoria Road (M6), make a right onto Beta Road, park and follow the cute footpath between the house and the beach.

It’s the perfect spot for chilling out, and if you’re comfortable, many locals use this beach to tan in the nude. It’s sheltered and adorned by massive boulders, has calm yet cold water and one of the best sunsets in the city.

Best time to visit

  • I’d say low tide to get the most out of the sandy beach, but it’s known for attracting people for sundowners.

Great to know

  • Close to Beta Beach is another secret beach, Bali Beach.
  • Address: 3 Twenty Steps St, Bakoven, Cape Town

7. Best Secret Beach In Sea Point: Queen’s Beach

Let’s move over to Sea Point’s popular promenade. Here, you’ll find many tiny beaches and rock pools, including the popular Saunders Beach. However, Queen’s Beach is one of the best secret beaches in Cape Town. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Sea Point promenade, is sheltered from the wind most days and is easily accessible.

If you have kids, Queen’s Beach is fantastic, as the little tots will have fun exploring the rock pools with all its marine life. And, if you’re ready to brave the colder waters on this side of Cape Town, Queen’s Beach has a shallow gully between the rocks for swimming.

Best time to visit

  • Anytime. Many people opt for this spot and Saunders for morning dips after their run, but if you want a quieter time, the afternoon is great for sunset views.

Great to know

  • It’s a mere five-minute walk from Sea Point’s pavilion pools.
  • It has a parking lot right at the beach and a bus stop.
  • Don’t go after 17:30 on Mondays to avoid the masses of skaters.
  • Address: Park or Uber to Queens Beach Parking lot on Beach Road, Sea Point.

8. Best For Unspoilt Surroundings: Scarborough

Let’s rewind and backtrack to the south, to Scarborough Beach, another fond favourite of mine and many locals in Cape Town.

Scarbs, as it’s affectionately known to residents of the deep south, is an unspoilt, secret beach with chalky-white sand, epic views, and a backdrop of the surrounding mountains.

There are several rock pools to explore and enough space for beach sports, and if you’re a surfer, this is an excellent spot on the days when the wind is blowing in the right direction.

When it’s windy, it’s perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing, but beware of the rip current when swimming. The water is a stunning aquamarine and notably cold compared to other beaches in Cape Town.

To get there, turn right off the main road (M65) and onto Camel Rock Road, and head to the parking lot and the end of the road.

Best time to visit:

  • Just check the wind before planning a Scarbs beach day, but otherwise visit any day the weather is good.

Great to know:

  • Scarbs has its own share of pretty rock pools, but this pristine region also boasts mussel foraging; you just need a permit from the Post Office.
  • Address: Turn right off the M65 onto Camel Rock Road and head to the parking lot at the end of the road.

9. Best For Beach-Side Camping: Kogel Bay

If you’re up for a lovely drive to the further reaches of the False Bay coastline, Gordon’s Bay has splendid beaches across three areas: Kogel Bay, Spark’s Bay and Klippies Bay. My favourite of these vacation home areas is Kogel Bay.

If you’re into popping a tent up for a beach camp, Kogel Bay is also a popular spot for camping. It’s the perfect spot for an epic seaside braai (BBQ), and the long stretch of beach is perfect for a walk and beach games.

Heads up for the surfers: Kogel Bay has some great waves on a good day, but swimmers should be aware of the strong rip current here.

Best time to visit:

  • I’d recommend visiting during the week as weekends can get crowded due to campers.

Great to know:

  • Dolphins often make an appearance just off the coast, usually during sunset, making this sunset spot doubly amazing!
  • The cost for camping during the low season is R151 per campsite. Mid-season will cost you R192 per campsite, and high-season will set you back R231 per night.
  • Address: Clarens Drive, Gordons Bay

10. Best For Unique Views: Rooi-Els Beach

The last beach on my list of secret beaches takes us further out of Cape Town as we leave Gordons Bay behind for the next town worth exploring: Rooi-Els.

Rooi-Els Beach is a charming hidden gem tucked away under the Klein-Hangklip mountain. It’s a wild and sheltered little beach, with the Rooi-Els River’s freshwater flowing into the Kogelberg Biosphere’s turquoise waters.

The beach is often one of the more quiet beaches I’ve visited and offers a uniquely stunning view of Cape Town in the distance. Here, you’ll find pleasant waters for swimming, warm, soft sand for getting your tan on, rock pools and even a cave for the kids to explore.

Best time to visit

  • Once again, anytime the weather is peachy.

Great to know

  • Rooi-Els is also an excellent spot for foraging delicious mussels, but you’ll need a permit from the local post office.
  • Look out for wildlife such as the Cape baboon, dassies, seals, and antelope, and if you’re lucky, you might see pods of dolphins playing around in the waves.
  • Address: It’s about 5 km from Pringle Bay, next to the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

FAQs

Are these secret beaches safe to visit?

While these beaches are generally safe, some have strong currents or lack lifeguards. Visitors are advised to exercise caution, especially while swimming, and pay attention to the guidelines provided for each beach.

What amenities are available at these beaches?

Most secret beaches do not have commercial facilities like restaurants or shops. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own supplies, including food, drinks, beach gear, and picnic items. Some beaches may have basic parking areas or nearby facilities.

Are these beaches free to access?

While some beaches are free to visit, others located within nature reserves or designated areas might require an entry fee, especially for non-residents. The article details the applicable fees for specific beaches.


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