South Africa has no fewer than 46 Blue Flag beaches for the 2018/2019 season…
What this means for you (and international tourists) is a sweltering summer on some exceptionally beautiful beaches all around the country.
Blue Flag beaches have a strict set of criteria to fulfil, making them particularly beautiful and memorable.
South Africa’s Blue Flag Beaches
The Western Cape certainly comes out tops, with 30 beaches that have Blue Flag status. Some of our favourites are:
Clifton Beaches (Cape Town)
These four beaches are the secluded hotspot for the who’s who of Cape Town. They’re only a few minutes from the City Bowl too. The water is cool and the white sands warm – the perfect combination for a sizzling summer.
Llandudno Beach (Cape Town)
This scenic spot is nestled amongst the rocky mountain faces and luxurious homes of Llandudno, near Hout Bay. It is relatively small, and great for families that want to spend a long day playing and picnicking on the sands or cooling off in the Atlantic Ocean waters.
Muizenberg (Cape Town)
Between Lakeside and Kalk Bay, this long stretch of beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, kite-surfing and hydrofoiling. Shark spotters ensure that it is safe for swimming. Muizenberg is only 25 to 30 minutes from the centre of Cape Town.
Flanked by the ocean and the mountains, this idyllic beach is the perfect place to spend a summer day in the Overberg. Look out for whales! There are also fantastic wine farms nearby, as well as pretty walking trails.
The town of Witsand might be small, but it’s a popular holiday destination for its gorgeous beach, which is right at the mouth of the Breede River. Witsand is about 3.5 hours from Cape Town and just over 1.5 hours from George.
Buffalo Bay (Knysna)
Situated in the Goukamma Nature Reserve, this remains one of the best beaches on the Garden Route. The water is warm and great for swimming, surfing and stand-up paddling; and the beach is long and spacious. Dolphins can be seen all year round and whales are here between July and December.
Robberg 5 (Plettenberg Bay)
Tucked between the gorgeous Robberg Peninsula and the Beacon Isle, this little beach is all kinds of wonderful. Stroll along the boardwalk or take a dip in the warm(er) blue of the Indian Ocean. Finish your beach day off with cocktails or world-class meals at one of the local spots.
Nature’s Valley Beach (Garden Route)
Best known for being the last leg of the (sometimes-gruelling) five-day Otter Trail, this beach is a wonderful place to relax tired bodies and enjoy the raw beauty of nature. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, swimming and surfing. Alternatively, bring a good book and get comfy on its soft sands.
The Dunes (Keurbooms)
A pristine beach with temperate waters and breath-taking backdrops is just what the doctor ordered for the family holiday or honeymoon of a lifetime. The Dunes Beach is only a few minutes from Plett and about 30 minutes from Knysna.
This province has managed to remain relatively quiet, despite being home to some seriously exquisite beaches.
Dolphin Beach (Jeffrey’s Bay)
Find out why Jeffrey’s Bay is the dream spot of international surfing legends when you visit Dolphin Beach. This beach is the home of Supertubes – some of the world’s best waves. More than this, the water is warm and the sandy shores irresistible. There are loads of shops and restaurants right on its doorstep too.
King’s Beach (Port Elizabeth)
King’s Beach is long and spacious, with beautiful areas to swim, jet ski, surf and sunbathe. There are cocktail bars and restaurants nearby, and a massive parking area for loads of locals and visitors. The beach is also on the doorstep of a skate park and bowl.
Hobie Beach (Port Elizabeth)
Just 10 minutes from the airport, this beach is a stunning spot for the family to catch some rays, take a cool dip, or play Frisbee on the sand. This is also the home of the iconic Shark Rock Pier, which juts into the water for some lovely views.
KZN is renowned for its warm water and the beaches are usually protected with shark nets so that bathers can relax and enjoy a spectacular summer setting.
Trafalgar Beach (Port Edward)
Unwind and regroup at the tranquil Trafalgar Beach. This is a lovely beach for surfing, swimming, SUP-ing and snorkelling; and is only 90 minutes from Durban. Some of the beach is a marine reserve, thanks to the abundance of marine life here.
Southport Beach (Port Shepstone)
Rock pools, tidal pools, and the dappled shade of the milkwood trees – this is the pretty Southport experience. To add to the pleasure, there is a lot of free parking available and the braai areas are great for families that want to take their time and make the most of this beach.
Umzumbe Beach (South Coast)
This little getaway is at the mouth of the Mzumbe River and has long stretches of white sands, lapped by warm water and dotted by tidal pools (fab for little ones). Part of its appeal is the absence of restaurants and tourist attractions. Mzumbe is all about sea, sand and sunshine.
uShaka Beach (Durban)
This family-friendly beach in Durban is where locals and visitors like to cool down from the balmy KZN heat. Dolphins make a regular appearance, and share their waves with surfers and kite-surfers. As an added bonus, it’s right next to the famous uShaka Marine World.
What is a Blue Flag Beach?
The Blue Flag status is given to beaches that meet strict criteria; including (amongst others):
- Certain information needs to be displayed at the beach – including water quality, code of conduct, and local ecosystems.
- The beach needs to offer educational activities.
- It needs to be clean on the sand and rocks, and in the water itself.
- Sensitive areas have to be protected, and all of the buildings and beach equipment need to be maintained.
- There must be enough bins and facilities for recycling.
- There need to be enough toilets that are clean and well-maintained.
- Access needs to be free of charge.
- Life guards, First Aid equipment and public rescue equipment must be available.