South African beaches offer the ultimate vacation destination for families in need of some rest, relaxation and fun in the sun. Activities on offer range from lazing on the beach and swimming to deep sea fishing, kayaking, snorkelling, hiking, surfing and more.

Did you know?

South Africa boasts nearly 3000km of coastline.

South Africa’s beaches, combined with the country's excellent weather, make it the ultimate destination for family beach holidays. Every possibility is covered; from bucket-and-spade breaks to designer getaways.

Hermanus in the Western Cape is known as the 'Whale Capital' of South Africa and it is here where most whale-watchers gather to witness these gentle giants of the deep. Hermanus also offers superb swimming and surfing at the popular Grotto and Voëlklip beaches, or boating on the Kleinriviersvlei lagoon. There are a number of walking trails in the area too, and you can hike the Fernkloof Nature Reserve to learn more about the local fynbos and other plant-life.

Plettenberg Bay, on the Garden Route, is among the best destinations for family beach holidays in South Africa. Plett, as it is affectionately known, boasts famous South African beaches like Lookout and Robberg. The area is also popular for its nature trails while the more adventurous can go abseiling, quad biking and blackwater-tubing.

St Lucia is more rugged than Plett and Hermanus, which is much of its charm. Part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park along the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, it’s the perfect place from which to visit Cape Vidal for snorkelling excursions or walks along this perfect stretch of beach. You could also hike through the swamp forests near Dukuduku, go bird watching on Fanie’s Island, or enjoy a braai (and great views) at Mission Rocks. You can also laze on the beach, go deep-sea fishing or view game at the St Lucia Game Reserve.

Margate, a big and popular coastal town along the KwaZulu-Natal Hibiscus Coast, is home to great South African beaches, as well as being the base for a range of marine activities and excursions. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy abseiling, deep-sea fishing, kayaking and surfing as well as the famous Oribi Gorge Swing. There are also fantastic picnic and birding spots and horse-riding trails.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

Most South African beaches are easily accessible by road and are served by a variety of taxis and buses. Most tour operators can also organise day trips to the beach of your choice. For convenience, choose accommodation right on the beach, of which there are plenty options.

Best time to visit

Many of South Africa’s beaches are enjoyable all year round, but the summer months, between October and April, are obviously best. Avoid the crowds by staying out of season.

What will it cost

Access to the majority of beaches is free. Some beaches, usually those run as a conservation area, do charge a nominal fee.

What to pack

Sunscreen and a hat are a musts, especially in summer.

What to eat

Make the most of being on the coast and indulge in fresh seafood such as oysters, crayfish and hake.