Best beaches

Swim, snorkel, surf and walk the dog

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Chil­dren

What makes one beach more child­friendly than the next? They all have sand and waves, so what’s the dif­fer­ence? Well, the par­ents want to re­lax. For that to hap­pen, you need a spe­cific kind of beach, prefer­ably one with a shal­low la­goon or some rock pools so you can build sand­cas­tles and look for starfish and anemones. As soon as the kids are en­grossed, you can slip away to your towel. If your kids are con­fi­dent swim­mers, a tidal pool is also a must. It’s much safer than the open sea. And, of course, there has to be a soft­serve kombi in the park­ing area.

Our pick: Boul­ders (near Si­mon’s Town), Palmiet (Klein­mond), Goukou River (Still Bay), Na­ture’s Val­ley, Mor­gan Bay, Uvongo, Umh­langa Rocks. Tidal pools: Herold’s Bay, Vic­to­ria Bay, Cintsa West, Salt Rock Beach

Pho­tog­ra­phy

A beach is pho­to­genic by na­ture: all that sand and wa­ter, plus a sil­hou­ette of an an­gler or a run­ning dog in the last light. Some beaches, how­ever, take it to the next level. Think of the splashes of colour pro­vided by the chang­ing huts at St James in Cape Town, or the fish­ing boats at Pater­nos­ter on the West Coast. It also helps if the beach is home to a special or un­usual sub­ject, like Ta­ble Moun­tain viewed from Blou­berg, Hole-in-the-Wall on the Wild Coast, a light­house on the rocks or Dur­ban’s iconic piers. If you want to take a photo of the sun sink­ing into the ocean, make sure the beach faces west! Oth­er­wise you’ll have to wake early for sun­rise. St He­lena Bay on the West Coast is one of only a hand­ful of places in the world where you can watch the sun rise and set over the ocean.

Our pick: Pater­nos­ter, Blou­berg, St James, Cape St Fran­cis, Hole-in-the-Wall, Mbo­tyi

Dunes

Many beaches have dunes, but not all of them are as high as build­ings. Big dunes are the best. Climb to the top and find a spot where you’re com­pletely sur­rounded by sand. Sand­board down and re­peat. Best of all? A day in the dunes is tir­ing – ev­ery­one will be in bed by eight!

Our pick: Betty’s Bay, Kop­pie Alleen (De Hoop Na­ture Re­serve), Jef­freys Bay, Woody Cape (Addo Ele­phant Na­tional Park)

Tugela River Mouth

Wind­mill Beach at Boul­ders

Cape St Fran­cis

Betty’s Bay

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