Make your way to the beaches of Clifton, the trendy suburb to Cape Town, where four pristine beaches await with our guide in hand. Here you’re sure to find a beach like no other. Clifton is often referred to as the St. Tropez of Cape Town, with international jetsetters and well-groomed locals flocking to its white sandy beaches. There are four beaches in Clifton, each with its own distinct vibe and no shortage of bronzed sun-worshippers sprawled out on the pristine sands.
A stylish scene
Clifton is an affluent suburb home to South Africa’s rich and famous. It’s known for its chic eateries, fashionable boutiques, and sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic. Table Mountain looms in the background of this postcard-perfect setting, with sleek yachts peppering the turquoise waters.
How to get there
Clifton is popular throughout the year, so parking can be problematic. It’s easy to take public transportation from our Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Cape Town, or anywhere else in the city. Regular buses run along the coastline, connecting Clifton and Hout Bay with the city center. To get down to the beaches, you can walk down the steps from Victoria Road.
One of Clifton’s greatest attractions is its series of four beaches, named from simply First to Fourth according to their distance from the suburb’s center. These are broken up and defined by enormous granite boulders, which also help shelter the beaches from the south-easterly winds. Each beach has its own distinct atmosphere, although all are perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and taking long walks by the water. Ice cream and drink vendors stroll along the beaches, offering refreshing pick-me-ups well into the evening.
A beach for everyone
First Beach is one of the longest, and attracts a crowd of surfers, volleyball players, and dog walkers. It’s a designated leash-free zone, so you’re bound to see plenty of four-legged friends frolicking in the waves. Second Beach is unpretentious and popular with teenagers and twentysomethings, while Third Beach attracts a gay-friendly crowd.
Fourth Beach is perhaps the most universally popular. It has an extensive range of facilities including snack kiosks, changing rooms, and public restrooms. Umbrellas and beach chairs are also available for rent. This makes it attractive for families, tourists, and locals alike. Fourth Beach has also earned a Blue Flag status for its cleanliness and adherence to environmental standards.
The perfect end to a perfect day
The bright sun may be blazing hot, but even at the height of summer the water will be cold because the currents travel straight from the Antarctic. This means swimming is extremely refreshing, and you’ll feel a drop in temperature as you approach the water. The cooler temperature makes the beach perfect for sports. You’ll find spirited games of volleyball, bat games, and Frisbee taking place here. If you do decide to brave the water for swimming, lifeguards are on duty during the peak season and on weekends.
The beaches have a relaxed atmosphere which makes them a perfect location for a picnic with friends or a loved one. You’ll see many groups relaxing at sunset with baskets filled with goodies from local delis. It may be tempting to pick up a bottle of locally produced wine, but drinking alcohol is illegal on Cape Town beaches and the rule is strictly enforced.