Ready to hit the beach? We’ve uncovered the hidden beaches that only the locals know about, the ones that aren’t frequented by tourists. As South Africans flock to Durban and Cape Town, consider heading to these top-secret spots…
Umzumbe Beach, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast
This is a Blue Flag Beach, reached by heading down a steep walkway. Swim in the ocean itself or in the sandstone rock pool under the watchful eye of lifeguards. The sandy coastline is unspoilt, surrounded by a forest dune.
Kosi Bay, South of the Mozambican border
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beach is located in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. You’ll find high sand dunes and during summer, loggerhead and leatherback turtles head to the bay to lay their eggs.
Mtunzini Beach, Umlalazi Nature Reserve
This is the perfect spot for birdlife and nature-lovers who enjoy walks along the sandy shores, whilst being surrounded by a forest.
Zinkwazi Beach, North of Durban
Warm waters fill this lagoon, with dolphins visible in the distance and birds above. Anyone keen on a boat trip or fishing will be pleased to visit this beach.
Blythedale Beach, North of Ballito
It is located inside the Blythedale Conservancy and is therefore unspoilt and protected by shark nets. This beach is perfect for swimming, surfing and marine life viewings.
Mabibi, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a coastal forest, ideal for snorkelling and fishing.
Amatikulu Estuary, Central KwaZulu-Natal coast
This beach is located in a rural area, making it super secluded and a spot where you can enjoy the wonders of unspoilt beaches. While you’re in the area, visit Amatikulu Nature Reserve to view wildlife and the wonders of the vast Indian Ocean at the same time.
Elysium Beach, Umdoni Coast
A pristinely white, sandy beach experience awaits you here. It is surrounded by a village and really fits the definition of a secluded getaway. Enjoy the warm waters and famous sunsets here.
Cape Vidal, Isimangaliso Wetlank Park in St Lucia
This is ideal for fishermen and marine life enthusiasts. For a golden beach experience with a backdrop of a coastal forest, visit for swimming and snorkelling.
Preekstoel, West Coast National Park
This is an extensive stretch of beach near the Langebaan Lagoon. Preekstoel is named after a rock formation, which rests near a rusted shipwreck. These warm waters are suited to swimming, snorkelling and fishing.
Smithswinkel Bay, False Bay
To reach this beach, you’ll have to work for it: a steep 20-minute walk down a steep cliff awaits visitors before they reach the shore. It is situated just before the entrance to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and is protected from the wind. Swimming, angling, snorkelling and diving are some of the activities to enjoy here. There are also five wrecks and marine life to spot in the bay, as well as rock pools and caves during low tide.
Queen’s Beach, Sea Point
Cold waters from the Benguela current wash up at Queen’s Beach, which is ideally located near the Sea Point promenade. It is ideal for surfers who want to ride the waves and families who prefer the tidal pool.
Glen Beach, Camps Bay
Located close to Camps Bay, this small beach is hidden behind sand dunes and boulders and has the Twelve Apostles mountains as a backdrop.
Oudekraal, Table Mountain National Park
Visitors will need to pay a conservation fee to visit – ideally in the early morning. You’ll reach it en route to Llandudno and find a small beach with historical and spiritual ties to the Cape Muslim’s. This is suited to those who would like to swim and snorkel. When you get peckish, there are picnic and braai areas above the cove.
Maclear Beach, Cape of Good Hope
This secluded beach is reached by following one of two fynbos-lined footpaths. It is situated near the Cape of Good Hope, with tidal pools and beautiful views. Visitors can fish, swim and dive here.
This is in a marine protected area, located near local fynbos and a shallow lagoon, with three historical shipwrecks and nearby hiking trails. Surfers and marine birdlife enthusiasts will feel right at home when visiting.
Beta Beach Bakoven
Ditch the ever-populated Clifton beaches in favour of a series of smaller ones close by. It is quiet, with a great view of Lion’s Head.
Buffels Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve
There are braai facilities at this beach, situated in a beautifully protected reserve. Families will enjoy swimming in the tidal pool.
Scarborough Beach, Camel Rock Road
Take a road-trip and make a stop here, between Noordhoek and Kommetjie. It is popular among surfers and dog walkers. This is also known for windsurfing, foraging for mussels and flying spot kites.