South Africa Beach Holidays

Let the cool seas of the Cape dissipate the summer heat or head to the Indian Ocean for year-round warmth.

Overview

With their crashing breakers, the beaches of South Africa have a very different character to the languid coral-fringed lagoons of the tropical islands that you'll find further north in Africa. Here you'll find no palm-thatched sunshades and calm azure waters. And even surprisingly few beach 'resorts' in South Africa. Absent too are the souvenir and coconut-touting beach hawkers. But what you DO get is some unsurprisingly unspoilt stretches of sand and crashing waves.

South Africa Beach Holidays - Best time to visit?

The first thing to clear up is that most of South Africa is NOT a year-round beach holiday destination. The Cape, for example, has a distinct winter climate from May to August. Still great for leisurely beach walks. But not for slathering on the sun block. So if you want a classic beach holiday in August, then you'll need to head to northern beaches of KwaZulu Natal

So how do the locals enjoy the beach? And how and where can sun-starved westerners join in?

South Africa beach holidays - Garden Route

South Africa Beach Holidays in Summer - November to March

The long summer holiday season is Christmas when it is hot and sunny in South Africa. At this time, you'll have to vie with locals for the best places to stay, restaurant bookings and spots on the beach. But once the South Africans head back to work and school in early January, South Africa's beaches are surprisingly quiet.

But even in the height of summer, don’t expect the sea temperature in the Western Cape to be anything less than bracing. The cold Benguela current means that the Atlantic waters on the south & west coasts (around Cape Town and Hermanus) are always cold, typically from 14C to 19C. (Though global warming has led to warmer waters recently). The sea temperatures rise as you head east beyond Cape Agulhas (the 'starting' point for the Indian Ocean) so that on the Garden Route you can enjoy a reasonable 21-22C rising up to very pleasant 24-25C in KwaZulu Natal.

South Africa beach holidays - Wilderness beach

Beach Holidays in South Africa in Winter & Spring - June to Sept

If you are visiting South Africa in winter - which is the best time to enjoy a safari - then head north to the Indian Ocean coast of KwaZulu Natal or at least to the Wild Coast of Eastern Cape.

South Africa beach holidays - KwaZulu Natal

Where have all the South Africa beach resorts gone?

South Africa doesn’t really ‘do’ beach resorts. We don't really know why. Perhaps it's something to do with the value of the real estate on the beachfront? Or that there's so much to see on safari, and elsewhere, that very few international visitors come for a 'week on the beach'? The benefit is that the shoreline outside urban areas has not suffered over-development.

So if you want a resort, with all the bells and whistles, then look at Mauritius and Mozambique. However we do have a small selection of prime beach hotels and lodges mentioned below.

Highlights

  • The perfect destination for people who want to combine some beach time with other activities.
  • Endless stretches of beautiful South African coastline are remarkably free from tourist development.
  • Very easy to combine with a safari, especially in Kwa-Zulu Natal
  • The only beach destination in Southern and East Africa which is not priced in Dollars or Euros - so your money goes further.

Hope to return for a third visit

"Helpful, patient, understanding. Did not meet anyone face to face but seemed friendly over the email. Although the trip was basically our design, it was good to work with Peter in deciding the actual locations and final route. He took all the “admin” hassle away – car hire, arranging accommodation etc. which meant we could just arrive and enjoy the trip. The final printed trip programme was excellent. " Mr & Mrs Harrison, UK

Winning itinerary!!

"Without ever meeting us, Kate and Tash from Cedarberg Travel & African Safaris created a winning itinerary for my friend and I! The itinerary was well-balanced in its schedule, activity levels and locations. We started in Cape Town with several tours and an excellent tour guide named Tobi. Tobi quickly clicked with us, laughed with us, and answered all of our questions about aspects of the city including a recommendation for the Gold restaurant ( a blast). After a long bit of air travel getting to South Africa and 3 full days in Cape Town, Kate scheduled a stay in the Cederberg mountains at luxury lodging and it was exactly what was needed. We had a few days to rest and pamper ourselves, and as hobby photographers, we did our own African sunset photoshoot with the mountains as our backdrop. Our trip included 5 days of safaris. Once again, we had a stellar guide and tracker (Solomon and Jeff) who taught us the soul of a South African who loves the animals and lands of his home. Every time Solomon stopped to educate us, we were like elementary kids, gathered around him with elbows on knees, eyes focused, and fully attentive. He gave us story after story of information about the circle of life at Kruger NP. We ended the time at Victoria Falls. All the details for the trip were provided and we had no glitches! Both myself and my friend want to return to South Africa and the first thing I did on my return was email Kate and ask if she could keep me in her files because I really hope to go back and I’ll do that trip through Cedarberg Travel & African Safaris! " Mrs Myers

Happy Clients

"Nancy and I want to thank you for the extraordinary trip!  Every excursion, transfer, and flight was on-time and stress-free. Everyone we met was kind, patient, and welcoming.  And, the sights on the Safari, in the cities, and at the parks will never be forgotten.  I will be sure to leave positive reviews of Cedarberg and you on various websites! " Milandi
 

Sonja Brand

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Sonja, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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Did you know
  • SizeSouth Africa's coastline is 2,800 km long
  • Water TemperatureRanges from a freezing 14C in Cape Town to 22-24C in northern KwaZulu Natal.

Seamless and amazing

"Thank you so much, we have returned and we had the best, best, best time! Thank you so much it was seamless and amazing, I would use Cedarberg again. Thank you Maddy! " Mr Ben Cunningham, USA

Mr Chris Day, UK - Peter

"Peter couldn’t have been more helpful, and his suggestions were all relevant and useful to us. " Mr Chris Day, UK

Amazing holiday in SA

"Thank you for the most amazing holiday in South Africa. The three lodges were all selected with great care and each had a different atmosphere. All transfers worked entirely smoothly and we were even met on arrival at Johannesburg airport to be escorted the few yards to the airport hotel! Cedarberg really came into their own when BA messed up the outgoing flight (twice) and Ginny spent her entire Bank Holiday weekend sorting it out for us. " Mr Mike Ricks, UK