10 coastal towns we love
'Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside, I do love to be beside the sea ...'
This old English music hall song certainly sums up how many South Africans feel about our glorious coast, something that was amply reflected on #TravelChatSA between 7pm and 8pm on Wednesday night.
The way it works is you follow the hashtag #TravelChatSA and look out for the questions posed by the host for the evening. Usually these come through every 15 minutes, with a bonus question at the end (and the chance to win a prize).
This week's topic was #CoastalTownSA and the questions ranged from what makes South Africa’s coastal towns so special, to best times of the year for a visit (winter whales or summer sun?), unusual attractions and those towns that are totally underrated (where names like Gansbaai, Yzerfontein and Vermaaklikheid popped up).
So, to pick up on that conversation, we decided to list 10 of our favourite seaside towns (listed clockwise from north to south), but as we all know, that's not even half the story. With almost 3 000km of coastline, there are so many lovely places to plop your beach towel on the sand ...
Ballito (North Coast, KwaZulu-Natal), for being clean, upmarket, and scenic with plenty of parking and beautiful little Thompson's Bay.
Scottburgh (South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal), which is a favourite with surfers and bodyboarders, featuring a wide expanse of green lawns sloping down to where the Mpambanyoni River enters the sea.
Uvongo (South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal) has a lovely gorge, lagoon and a rocky promontory that is an ideal vantage point for watching the bathers and surfers. (Word of warning, though: avoid after heavy rains because the water can get muddy.)
Hole in the Wall (Wild Coast, Eastern Cape), for its iconic rock formation and backpacker vibe (but mind the sharks as this beach has had some attacks in recent years).
Morgan's Bay (Eastern Cape), for its sea cliffs, lagoon, long white beach and one of the nicest family hotels you can imagine.
Jeffreys Bay (Eastern Cape) has an awesome right-hand point break that pulls in surfers from all over the world, and the surf culture that goes with it.
Nature's Valley (Garden Route, Western Cape) has an exquisite natural setting between the forest and the sea and a beautiful lagoon that is perfect for the little ones.
Knysna (Garden Route, Western Cape), for its funky shops, Oyster Festival and the fact that you can sleep on a houseboat on the lagoon.
Hermanus (Western Cape), for its whales, cool restaurants, cliff path and Blue Flag beach at Grotto.
Paternoster (Western Cape), for its foodie culture and classic West Coast views with colourful fishing boats pulled up on to the beach.