Make the most of these last summer days by piling into the car and heading to the coast…

Proving that nothing can separate a South African from their beloved beach, the country’s most popular beach destinations remain a number one choice for holidaymakers.

If you’re looking for some beach time, minus the crowds, the ‘secret season’ of autumn is a beautiful time to have the beach to yourself. If you want to make the most of the beach, enjoying the still-sunny Autumn days, here are South Africa’s favourite seaside escapes:

1.     Eternally sunny KZN

Whether you choose to go north or south, the eternally sunny KwaZulu Natal coastline continues to draw beachgoers. Base yourself in Durbs proper to be in the heart of the action or drive north to Umhlanga, Ballito and other holidays towns that dot this famous Dolphin Coast. A stunning hidden gem on the north coast is Thonga Beach Lodge. This luxury beach lodge is nestled in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park and is a secluded and particularly romantic pick.

 

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Make the journey south, heading towards the Wild Coast, and you can pop in at Margate, Scottburgh, Port Shepstone or Port Edward, to name a few.

“Scottburgh holds a warm spot in many a South African’s hearts,” says Sharmila Ragunanan, Marketing Manager of Dream Hotels & Resorts. The charming seaside town embodies the relaxed South Coast charm that has welcomed generations of holidaymakers.

The Blue Marlin Hotel, in particular, is an icon in these parts, with a history spanning 70 years. It’s family-friendly, affordable, and the ocean is pretty much right on the hotel doorstep,” adds Ragunanan.

 

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Make the drive north of Durban and King Shaka International Airport and escape into a tropical paradise. Check into Zimbali Lodge and soak up the “away from it all feeling”, thanks to the vast subtropical gardens and resort feel, a world away from the hustle and bustle that will leave you feeling as if you’ve escaped the country.

Soak up the sun and the splendour of the beach, or make sure of the secluded beach pool, equipped with umbrellas, loungers and refreshments. While this particular coastline is not designated for swimming, there are other swimming beaches nearby and a truly magnificent hotel pool. This stretch of coastline is not designated for swimming; however, other bathing beaches are located nearby. If you manage to prise yourself out of your sun lounger, there’s a host of other activities to enjoy on and around the eco-estate.

2.     Find freedom in the Wild Coast

Truly get away from it all and head off the beaten track in the Wild Coast. From East London in the Eastern Cape, right up to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s Wild Coast has incredible natural beauty.

Snap selfies at the iconic Hole In The Wall near Coffee Bay and play in the tranquil beaches’ warm waters (where you are likely to encounter only a cow or local fishermen). Stay in Coffee Bay or Port St. Johns, the only coastal resorts with tarred roads connecting with the N2.

 

If travelling with kids in tow, head to Port Edward’s coastal hub, less than a two-hour drive from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. The Wild Coast Sun Hotel offers family-friendly accommodation with modern facilities, while the kiddies can splash about in the Wild Waves Water Park.

3.     Get lost in a Valley of Waves

Just under three hours from land-locked Johannesburg by road, you can find perfect waves – in a landlocked province. Yes, it may all be a bit surreal and too ‘amusement park’ for some, but Sun City delivers on what it promises. A beach with perfect waves, a choice of accommodation for every budget and style and activities galore.

Enjoy the sunshine at the Valley of Waves water park, practise your swing at the two world-class golf resorts, tackle the zip lines, spot the Big Five on safari and enjoy the array of activities and events available.

 

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Easter is usually the peak holiday season in Sun City, so the later autumn months leading into winter (May to September) are fantastic if you want it a little bit quieter, with slightly cooler weather. If you’re planning on enjoying the Valley of the Waves, check before booking, as it traditionally closes for a month during the off-season.

4.     Check out Cape Town’s glitzy coastline

Base yourself on the dazzling Atlantic Seaboard, and you could easily imagine you’re soaking up the sun on the Med. There’s a wide choice of accommodation in Cape Town with something to suit everyone. Sea Point, in particular, has loads of accommodation options with Camps Bay and Clifton also popular. The number one hotel choice for Flight Centre customers travelling in Cape Town is the President Hotel in Bantry Bay.

 

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The Peninsula All-Suite is an excellent choice for travellers looking for self-catering, incredibly spacious suites – an apartment with all the hotel benefits. Tintswalo Atlantic is a stunning five-star boutique property hidden away at the base of Chapman’s Peak Drive in Hout Bay.

Voted the 7th Best Hotel in Africa in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2020, the five-star boutique Last Word Long Beach hotel is an exquisite beachside sanctuary for travellers looking to splurge. With just six elegantly appointed rooms, privacy is guaranteed, along with arguably the best view of Table Mountain. For a more pocked friendly pick, you could consider the Lagoon Beach Hotel and Spa in Milnerton, also with views of Table Mountain and Robben Island.

5.     South Africans most beloved beach hotels

The most popular* local hotels for South African travellers based on recent Flight Centre booking data saw the manmade delights of Sun City topping the list.

Bookings showed that 4 out of the top 20 hotels booked by their customers in the last six months, were Sun City hotels. The Cabanas topped the list as the number one hotel booked, followed by The Palace of the Lost City in third place with the Soho Hotel Sun City and Cascades Hotel also featuring in the Top 20.

Thinking beyond South Africa?

If you’re increasingly desperate to dust off your passport, the Maldives and Zanzibar are some of the few countries currently open to South Africans. If you’re not comfortable travelling internationally just yet, snap up one of those great deals on offer and book now for later.

On our radar for post-pandemic beach holidays? Mozambique (no long flight needed), Mauritius (a classic favourite) and somewhere far, far away.

 

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