5 ways to explore Cape Town’s coast

Cape Town didn't become one of Africa's best beach destinations by accident.

There’s the brilliant, fine sands at Camps Bay and Clifton Beach, the giant, smooth boulders on the shore at Kommetjie, and the cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope—all waiting for the intrepid vacationer to show up, kick back, and admire the scenery at the gateway to the Atlantic. That, plus the minor detail that you’re right next to one of South Africa’s biggest and liveliest cities, means you’ll find plenty of options when you’re looking for things to do in Cape Town. And if you’re having a little trouble deciding where to start, we’ve put together some of our favorites to help.

Visit the Cape. Grass-covered headlands atop of great, layered cliffs looking out over the peninsula, plus its own little beach facing out to sea—it’s easy to see why the Cape of Good Hope is so much more famous than the actual southern tip of Africa. And since Cape Town is close by, there are quite a few ways for you to see it. You can join Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris for a sightseeing voyage past the string of ports, towns, and nature preserves along the Cape Peninsula, or book in with City Sightseeing International if you’ve got the time to make a day of it, spotting penguins and getting some extra time relaxing on the beach.

Surf the sands. Cape Town has its share of waves, what with two oceans’ worth crashing up on the shore. But suppose you want to try carving up the coast without leaving the sands? Ilios Travel has you covered there, with a trip out to some of the best dunes on the continent for serious sandboarding action. It’s surprisingly hard to find a great coastal setting where you can surf on solid ground, so don’t miss a chance to try out one of the world’s most exclusive beach activities and see how your technique holds up on a surface without an undertow.

Go biking. With its warm climate, well-beaten paths, and striking scenery, the Cape Peninsula is one of those places bikes are made for. Not far from Camps Bay hotels are some of the best trails around, which the folks at Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris probably knew when they put together a cycling tour that takes you out along the peninsula and into the wine country that lies in between the bays. If you want to add some horsepower and roam a bit farther afield, you can take a ride in a vintage sidecar motorcycle to see the penguins at Betty’s Bay.

Meet some sea mammals. Tourists and Capetonians aren’t the only ones who like hanging out, playing beach games and basking out in the waters. There’s plenty of wildlife that either visits the Cape or calls it home. Hop on a boating trip with providers like Ilios Travel and Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris, they’ll get you up close with the wildlife, from the fur seals at Seal Island to African penguins or humpback whales.

Get a bigger boat. Admiring friendly sea creatures from the surface is nice and all, but sometimes you want to share the water with the most famous predators in the ocean. South Africa is one of the best places on Earth to find great white sharks, so go ahead and get in a diving cage to let the sharks find you. There’s no shortage of opportunity for some up-close encounters in the waters just off Gansbaai, with both Ilios Travel and Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris offering cruises that offer up a safe, secure way to see the thrills of the deep.

Where to stay

Cape Town is a gem of a city with boundless beauty, so when it comes to picking a place to stay, opt for a spot that gives you full access to the premium views. Coastal locations are the perfect choice for maximum relaxation in gorgeous settings, and Expedia +VIP Access hotels offer the best of the best.

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If views to die for are what you seek, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is your dream date. Seated on one of the most pristine stretches of coastline, the hotel features amenities that are secondary only to the scenic vistas. The rock pool is an oasis of relaxation, and the spa’s hydrotherapy pools, floatation tank, and services will leave you bathed in an aura of calm. Mountain trails sprawl out from the property, punctuated by quaint picnic points with unbeatable views of Table Mountain National Park. Even your meal comes with a beautiful sight—dinner at Azure Restaurant terrace will make you feel like you’re practically inside the sunset.

The Marly Hotel

South of the city center, The Marly Hotel is a beach-lover’s paradise overlooking Camps Bay Beach. If lounging on the sand is all you have planned, you won’t even have to lift a finger to get there. Hotel staff will set up an umbrella and towels on the beach for you, so you can enjoy the shore with zero effort. Four restaurants are conveniently located on the ground floor, and the coastal vibes and ocean view at Paranga are complemented by a menu of fresh fish dishes. Clean and elegant designs define the hotel’s aesthetic, and if you book a deluxe sea-facing suite, your private deck comes with an outdoor shower and hot tub.

South Beach Camps Bay Hotel

Then there is South Beach Camps Bay Hotel, which offers modernity and luxury with amenities that will forever change your standards of living, and spoil you completely. Every suite has an ocean view, kitchen, mini bar, and art collection. Fresh-baked pastries are delivered to your door every morning, which you can savor on your personal balcony or patio. The glass-walled pool means you can catch the sunset even under water, and the on-site concierge will ensure absolute pampering. In-room flowers and Champagne aren’t outside the norm, and restaurant and activity bookings are taken care of at the mere mention.

Find total tranquility in Cape Town when you escape to these beachfront oases. You’ll be refreshed and ready to take on any adventure around the city, like hiking Table Mountain or paragliding off Signal Hill.

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