Getaway’s top 20 guides to South Africa’s small coastal towns

Home to nearly 1500km of coastline, we figured you might need some help when tackling South Africa’s incredible seaside. Holiday better with these tips from our inside guides and thorough accommodation inspections.

 

1. Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay has been especially blessed, with coastline, forest, river, and farmland creating a delightful playground for all ages. On the surface, Plett may appear fancy but at heart it’s really a nature- and adventure-lover’s paradise. Not only are there dozens of easily accessible walks, but there are various MTB tracks, along with the paddling, kayaking and swimming offered by the fortunate geographical intersection of river, lagoon and sea.

Read the guide: The not-so-posh guide to Plettenberg Bay

 

2. East London

East London has four rivers, many beautiful beaches and the best milkshakes in South Africa. We sent a local back to East London and reaffirming her love for her hometown.

Read the guide: A local’s guide to everything East London

 

3. Rocky Bay

We gave this Durban-based family a strict budget and sent them packing. Here’s where they went and what they did.

Read the guide:Budget seaside trip to Rocky Bay

 

4. Addo Elephant National Park

You may not know it, but Addo Elephant National Park extends right down to the ocean and currently protects some important islands in Algoa Bay, namely St Croix and Bird Island. See the biggest African Penguin colony and explore the coastal forests in this secret section of Addo.

Read the guide:Easy weekend break: a marine adventure in Addo

 

5. Zinkwazi

The gorgeous town of Zinkwazi is close to Durban and has wide unspoilt beaches. It brims and hums during the holidays, and out of season it’s a paradise of tranquillity

Read the guide:How to beat the crowds in Zinkwazi

 

6. Hermanus

Photo by Rachel Robinson

There are a myriad things to see and do in Hermanus and surrounds, but here are 12 that I’d like to personally recommend. There’s plenty more than whale watching in this beautiful seaside town.

Read the guide: How to spend the perfect weekend in Hermanus

 

7. Dolphin Coast

North of Durban, past the high-rises, there are still classic beach houses to be found. Embrace the endless summer of this slice of the KwaZulu-Natal coast in the privacy of your own ‘home’.

Read the guide: 10 of our favourite Dolphin Coast stays

 

8. Sunshine Coast

There’s a stretch of coastline between the Tsitsikamma and Port Alfred that’s said to get more hours of sunlight than the rest of South Africa. Veer off the N2 to find unspoilt holiday spots in the Sunshine Coast.

Read the guide: Discover secret spots on a Sunshine Coast road trip

 

9. Fish Hoek

Fishing boats on the beach in Fish Hoek. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Swim in a warm sea and walk in the mountains without having to get in your car – base yourself here in Fish Hoek and enjoy the best family location in Cape Town.

Read the guide: Fish Hoek: an underrated Cape Town stay

 

10. West Coast

More than 300 kilometres of tarred road? Check. Wine tasting? Check. MTB’ing, hiking and bouldering? Check, check and check. Magnificent coastal and semi-desert environments on the Namaqua West Coast and the Cederberg? Check. Now all you need is enough space on your camera for epic pics and you can plan an epic energetic West Coast road trip.

Read the guide: The energetic way to an unforgettable West Coast road trip

 

11. Muizenberg

Muizenberg is where Agatha Christie and George Bernard Shaw came to surf and Cecil John Rhodes went to die. At one point the area was more popular than Cape Town, and Yiddish was spoken on her streets. Here is the story of her glamorous past, and the places you can’t miss in Muizenberg’s evolving present.

Read the guide: Southern charm: a guide to Muizenberg

 

12. Betty’s Bay

Read the guide: Betty’s Bay: Home of South Africa’s best sunsets

 

13. Umhlanga

Umhlanga lighthouse Teagan Cunniffe

This cluster of apartment blocks and high-rise hotels on a fine stretch of beach (with a promenade to match) is one of South Africa’s most sought-after destinations. In winter it’s sunny and the water’s warm… time for a seaside break?

Read the guide: Top 8 stays in Umhlanga for a seaside holiday

 

14.Kenton-on-sea

This pretty Eastern Cape town has bush, beach, river and lagoon and that it makes very popular during peak season – which is why you should book these gems cherry-picked by Pippa de Bruyn as soon as you can.

Read the guide: 15 cherry-picked accommodation spots in Kenton-on-Sea

 

15.Durban

The 031 is South Africa’s playground thanks to her lovely beaches, but there’s more that you can dive into – and it’s for free!

Read the guide: 7 free things to do in Durban

 

16. Paternoster

We sent our professional reviewer to discover the best weekend breaks in Paternoster – here’s her pick of where to stay in the West Coast’s prettiest fishing village.

Apologies
 in advance for any overuse of words such as spectacular, glorious, fabulous, stunning, mesmerising ‒ it’s hard
 to avoid these when describing Paternoster’s views.

Read the guide: 22 lovely spots in Paternoster for a summer break

 

17. Simon’s Town

Steeped in history and nautical vibes, Simon’s Town offers the best seaside holiday in Cape Town, at a fraction of the cost compared to other areas.

Read the guide:12 breathatking coastal stays in Simon’s Town

 

18. Countrywide beach camp sites

For an affordable break, there’s nothing like a beach camp. From secret beach campsites to safari tents with a bit more luxury, we’ve rounded up the best beach camps in South Africa that offer splendid views of the coast. We hope this list entices you to experience sleeping to the music of rising tides and waves splashing on the shore.

Read the guide: 18 beautiful beach camps around South Africa

 

19. Countrywide Hope Spots

Hope spots are the ultimate call for citizens to engage with the ocean, to care for it, to make out own. South Africa has six spots. We visited some of them.

Read the guide: Visit Hope Spots and enjoy the ocean responsibly

 

20.Countrywide beach cottages

These 11 beautiful beach cottages and houses are perfect for chilling with – and are all less than 90 minutes from the nearest airport.

Read the guide: 11 beautiful beach cottages for a superb summer escape