Cape Town Coastal Regions - Where to Go
From bustling nightclubs and restaurants to Blue Flag beaches, delicious food and wine markets, and some of the most spectacular sunset viewing spots on the planet, Cape Town’s coastal region famously has it all. Avid surfers can head to Muizenberg or Noordhoek, sunbathers can bask at St James, Camp’s Bay or Clifton, and a casual sunset stroll down Sea Point’s Promenade is a definite must-do activity for any visitor.
Set back from the ocean, Green Point is one of Cape Town’s most vibrant city suburbs – a place of lively bars, gay-friendly nightclubs and glitzy cabaret restaurants. These venues often stay open all night, especially in the summer season and on weekends, but if you’re not a night owl, there’s a wide range of daytime restaurants, delicatessens and coffee bars as well. And if you’re looking to do a spot of shopping, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a selection of Cape Town’s best boutique stores.
The residential part of Green Point, with its rows of narrow, leafy streets lined with elegant Victorian houses, has a close-knit village atmosphere. Accommodation generally comes in the form of boutique hotels, guesthouses and private villas.
Sea Point’s main attraction is undoubtedly its long beachfront promenade, lined on one side by hotels and apartments and filled on balmy afternoons with an eclectic mixture of Cape Town locals enjoying a post-work stroll or run. The Sea Point coast itself isn’t much of a swimming destination – there are one or two small sandy coves but the coastline is mostly rocky with deep kelp beds – but there is an Olympic-size saltwater pool set right against the ocean.
One road up from the sunset-facing promenade is bustling Sea Point Main Road which contains just about everything you could possibly need – shops, coffee bars, restaurants, internet cafes and takeaways – plus a multitude of bars and nightclubs, frequented more by locals than by visitors.
Built on the granite slopes of Signal Hill and with Lion’s Head as its backdrop, Bantry Bay is a small but highly desirable residential suburb with wonderful views over the Atlantic Ocean. Virtually free from summer’s infamous south-east wind, Bantry Bay’s accommodation – usually in the form of boutique hotels and luxury guesthouses – make excellent secluded bases from which to relax after a day spent exploring the Cape Peninsula.
Bantry Bay is far enough from the city centre to have a quiet suburban feel but its great location means that the popular V&A Waterfront is a few minutes’ drive away and, although it doesn’t have its own beach, the sandy stretches of Clifton and Camps Bay are just around the corner.
The four pristine beaches of Clifton have a certain status in Cape Town, not only for their Blue Flag ranking as some of the most eco-friendly beaches in the world but also for the bronzed and beautiful bodies that flock to its shores during the Cape Town summer. Clifton is well-protected from summer’s notorious south-east wind and you can spend entire days here working on your tan, sleeping in the shade of an umbrella and taking refreshing dips in the bracing Atlantic Ocean.
Property in Clifton is among the most desirable (and expensive) in South Africa – multi-storied mansions hug the rocky mountainside while luxurious bungalows provide beach-on-your-doorstep retreats. Accommodation in Clifton is accordingly very exclusive and comes in the form of boutique hotels and private villas; spectacular ocean views and sunsets come standard.
With its famous palm-lined boulevard, white sandy beach and majestic mountain backdrop, Camps Bay is the most well-known and fashionable of all the Cape Town coastal regions. In summer, Camps Bay beach is filled with a mixture of Cape Town locals and international visitors while the restaurants and bars along the glamorous Camps Bay promenade buzz both day and night.
Read more about Camps Bay.
Affectionately referred to by its residents as ‘The Republic of Hout Bay’, this former fishing village is characterized by its friendly, independent-minded locals, a long sandy beach and excellent fish and chip shops. Surrounded by mountains, there is a wide range of outdoor activities to be enjoyed in Hout Bay from hiking and mountain biking to sea kayaking and sunset cruises while the weekend Hout Bay Market boasts live music and delicious food and wine.
Hout Bay has only three means of access: one road joins up with the beautiful Constantia Wine Valley; another winds back to Cape Town past peaceful Llandudno beach; while a third leads you south to Cape Point along one of the most scenic roads in the world – Chapman’s Peak Drive.
One of the most spectacular beach views in the world comes into sight as you round Chapman’s Peak Drive: Noordhoek’s eight-kilometre-long beach, the Cape Peninsula’s longest and widest stretch of pure white sand. Not suitable for swimming but perfect for the experienced surfer, Noordhoek beach is wonderful for long walks, horse rides and sundowner drinks.
Surrounded by mountains, forests and fields full of horses, the village of Noordhoek does not really have a centre – it is more of a scattered settlement with one or two eating and drinking establishments, some quiet guesthouses and lovely craft centres.
St James may be one of Cape Town’s smallest seaside suburbs but its trademark colourful bathing boxes and tidal pool have made it a firm favourite among locals and international visitors alike.
St James beach is perfect for families: the tidal pool is calmer and warmer than the ocean beyond it and it is surrounded by rock pools that will keep the kids entertained for hours. St James is flanked by the surfer’s paradise Muizenberg on one side and the popular fishing village of Kalk Bay on the other; Cape Town city centre is less than a forty-minute drive away.
Lakeside is a quiet suburb in the Southern Peninsula, a half-hour drive from Cape Town’s city centre. Its major attraction is its proximity to Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town’s most popular surfing destination, but there are several excellent hiking trails that begin in the area too.
The more upmarket accommodation in Lakeside is scattered on the lower slopes of the rugged Muizenberg Mountains, offering expansive views of False Bay and distant mountain ranges.
Set next to the world-famous V&A Waterfront, fashionable Granger Bay lies on the Atlantic Ocean and has its own private marina. Its on-the-coast location provides this city suburb with excellent views of Robben Island and Table Bay which, together with its collection of bars and restaurants, makes it a popular spot for sunset cocktails in Cape Town.
Add to this its proximity to the city centre and Cape Town International Convention Centre on the one side and the golden-sand beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay on the other and you have the ideal location for business travellers and holiday-makers alike.