Our regular contributor Ann Gadd has travelled to over 400 beaches around the coast of South Africa photographing and doing research for her book Life’s a Beach. Here is her take on some of South Africa’s best beaches.
1. Best Overall Beach: Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape
Kenton has loads on offer. For paddling Middle Beach during low-tide is perfect, the stunning natural Mermaid’s Pool with its interesting rock formations, and Shelly Beach, where a trek over sand dunes rewards you with a secluded, turquoise bay and two rivers for water sport activities.
2. Best for Sundowners: Die Strandloper Bar, Langebaan, West Coast
For a sheer Robinson Crusoe vibe, head to the bar at the Strandloper restaurant. Sitting (rather uncomfortably) on driftwood benches, with the calm lagoon and massive boulders as scenery, you can almost imagine that you’ve recently been shipwrecked.
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3. Best for Scenic Beauty: Cape Vidal, North Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
Long stretches of white sand, turtles, safe, warm-water bathing, boating and the added bonus of being in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, make this my top choice for sheer, breathtaking beauty.
Boulders to climb, small beaches and the added attraction of penguins and thousands of dassies, make this a lovely beach to entertain littlies.
Entrance fees: R76 per adult, R41 per child (2-11 years).
For more information, visit SANParks website.
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5. Great for Gourmands: Paternoster, West Coast, Western Cape
It offers an eclectic choice of restaurants in a sleepy, scenic village. The Noisy Oyster, Gaaitjie and The Square Spoon rank as my favourites. Voorstrandt Restaurant’s view can’t be beaten. Blikkie Pizzeria has tasty food in the mid to lower price range. There’s fresh fish and slap chips at On the Rocks, and beer and toasties at the Paternoster Hotel.
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Words and photography Ann Gadd