Escape The Crowds on These South African Beaches

Escape The Crowds on These South African Beaches

South African beaches, while beautiful, can get very crowded – especially when it comes to high season. With nearly 3000km of coastline though, it’s definitely possible to find yourself some sandy shores that won’t draw hundreds of people, even if you’re visiting in December or over the Easter long weekend! If you want to escape the crowds for a relaxing getaway, check out some of our favourite quiet beaches in South Africa.

1. Kogel Bay, Gordon’s Bay

Kogel Bay, Cape Town

On the scenic 20km-long, ‘Clarence Drive’ between Rooi Els and Gordon’s Bay lies Kogel Bay beach. One of the Western Cape’s best hidden gems, it’s hard not to admire the long, sandy beach that stretches out in front of you, flanked by mountains on one side and False Bay on the other. The beach is chock-a-block with plants and wildlife, and it’s a gorgeous spot for whale watching too. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.

2. Water’s Edge, Simonstown

Water’s Edge, Simonstown

Nested in between Boulders Beach and Seaforth, Water’s Edge is a little spot that the locals love – and that they won’t tell you about! And who can blame them? We’d want to keep this little spot to ourselves too. You have to enter through a closed garden gate, which deters most visitors because they think it’s a private beach (it isn’t, so walk right on!). There are rock pools a plenty, a lovely quiet bay with very gentle waves and best of all a shady, tree-lined ledge that is sheltered from the wind. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.

3. Umzumbe Beach, KZN

Umzumbe Beach

A Blue Flag beach sometimes referred to by locals as Pumela Beach, Umzumbe is a safe, warm beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast that is perfect for swimming and exploring. There are kilometres of soft, sandy shores protected by large sand dunes – plus tidal rock pools which spill out across the shore giving kids plenty of space to splash around or learn about marine life. There are life guards on duty year-round, the dunes keep you out of the wind and the famed Natal weather makes this our top pick for year-round warm water swimming. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
4. Grotto Beach, Hermanus

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Grotto Beach, Hermanus

Although Grotto Beach is a Blue Flag beach perfect for swimming and lounging around, it’s generally fairly empty due to the fact that it’s slightly outside of Hermanus itself. What does that mean? You get a safe, clean beach with lifeguards pretty much to yourself – so bring the kids, pack a picnic and spend a day swimming, building sandcastles and flying kites. It’s like a picture-perfect day at Umhlanga – but without any of the crowds. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
5. Hluleka, Wild Coast

Hluleka, Wild Coast

Cows dozing on the sand? Only at Hluleka! Hluleka’s most notorious animal sighting is definitely something to behold but aside from the strange wildlife, it’s also a beach that is totally hidden from pretty much all of civilisation. Wander out onto the expansive beach sandwiched in between a milkwood forest and dramatic cliffs, and it’s almost as though you’ve stumbled into a scene from a shipwrecked movie – you’re almost guaranteed to have it largely to yourself. You can’t travel to Hluleka without a 4×4 but that adds to the appeal. Only those who really want to experience this magical place will reap the rewards, and there’s something undeniably special about that south african beach. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
6. Mkambathi, Wild Coast

Mkambathi, Wild Coast

Mkambathi Nature Reserve lies between Port St Edward and Port St Johns and is quintessential Wild Coast territory, with rugged beaches, rocky outcrops and a dense indigenous forest. It doesn’t seem like a place where you’d find some of the most picturesque beaches in the world but yet the dramatic and moody scenery gives rise to perhaps the most spectacular backdrop possible for any beach in the world, let alone South Africa. Aside from two shipwrecks, crystal clear rivers and falls, ten kilometres of coastline featuring sandy, sheltered beaches and a waterfall that tumbles several metres into the ocean. Tempted yet? Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
7. Noetzie, Knysna

Noetzie, Knysna

You have to walk down the 140 steps to this secluded little cove, but it’s well worth it. In fact, Noetzie has been voted one of the top three beaches in South Africa and despite that, it remains largely quiet and peaceful, even during December. Of course, Noetzie’s biggest claim to fame is the stone castles that encircle the golden, sandy beach. The biggest one right at the end of the beach was initially built as a grandiose holiday home in 1930. Nowadays, you can book many of the castles for a night or a week but they don’t come cheap – so most of us will have to be content to admire them from the outside while we bask in the sun and take in the views of the beach. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
8. Diaz Beach, Cape Town

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Diaz Beach, Cape Town

This stretch of white sand and turquoise water could be mistaken for a far-away island in a honeymoon brochure, but it’s actually very accessible from Cape Town and forms part of the Cape Point Nature Reserve. It’s quite secluded, being about a twenty-minute walk from the main roads and surrounded by 200m-high cliffs, but it’s an amazing spot for photos, beach walks and picnics. If you’re after a dip in the ocean though, you’ll have to go elsewhere – the currents here are strong and dangerous. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.
9. Gonubie, East London

Gonubie, East London

While this isn’t exactly a ‘secret’ South African beaches, Gonubie has yet to pull the crowds that the beaches of the Western Cape or South Coast do, despite the fact that it’s got pretty much everything you could ever want in a beach destination. It’s only twenty kilometres from the city, has a tidal pool and good swimming, a sparkling clean lagoon and a raised wooden boardwalk which makes for a nice meander where you can spot dolphins and whales or watch the surfers catching some waves. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.

10. Gouritzmond Beach, Garden Route

Gouritzmond Beach, Garden Route

Near Mossel Bay you’ll find Gouritzmond beach, lying on the banks of the Gouritz River. It’s an old-school coastal village with a laidback vibe, and the beach is peaceful enough that you’ll never struggle to find a good spot for your towel and beach umbrella. It’s also a wonderful location for fishing enthusiasts. Click here for more pictures on Instagram.

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