This story was updated on 30 October 2019.
These beaches are perfect for some kid-friendly fun.
The swell is sublime – line after clean line of massive 3m pumping action. You’re just itching to dust off your board and head out, when a small voice asking for juice reminds you that you’re on kiddie duty and the waves will have to wait for another day…
So where do you take the little ones where they can explore the beach safely, while you enjoy some R&R?
1. Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town, Cape Peninsula
First prize in beaches for kids, is Boulders Beach. As the name describes, the beach has boulders and walkways between rocks with exciting places to play around, and most of all, a safe swimming area. Because of the large boulders, the small bay is protected both from the prevailing South East wind and the swell pushing through from Cape Point.
Add to this a large scattering of penguins and sand to build castles, and what is there not for kiddies to love?
There is a conservation fee for visitors. Adults need to cough up R39 while kids are R20. For the latest information on the conservation and entry fees, visit SANParks’ website.
You also might like: Boulders’ Little Butlers
2. The Island at Great Brak River, Western Cape
A single-lane bridge and short drive (maximum speed on the bridge and island is 20km) through a suburban area, leads to this protected beach, which offers both estuary swimming and on small wave days, the open sea.
The population swells from under 40 out of season to over 800 in season, but visitors are catered for with a designated parking area. It’s a great spot for a paddle up the river or a Robinson Crusoe style row to the opposite bank for a picnic.
For more information, visit theislandgreatbrak.com
3. Mermaid’s Pool, Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape
At mid to low tide, the sea washes out to reveal a long stretch of sand that is a couple of feet deep, which is great to play in. As the tide gets lower, Mermaid’s Pool appears as a small, protected swimming area.
The sand in the pool comes and goes, but the pool is perfectly suited to little feet when the bottom is sandy. There are also fascinating rock structures around to explore, which frequently create their own mini pools away from the actual sea, serving as a paddling treat.
4. Zinkwazi, KwaZulu Natal
This beach offers a shallow lagoon and grassy bank which is a great spot to canoe or paddle across on a bodyboard.
Opposite is the open sea, but a little further south are intriguing rock pools for net fishing. Big attraction though, is Proud’s Pizza, a local initiative at the beach carpark, sure to delight kids of all ages.
5. Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape
This Blue Flag beach was a favourite spot for our family when we were young. For the most part, the water is pretty flat, but waves can dump towards the eastern end. It’s also somewhat protected from the South Easter winds, and the many restaurants lining the shore provide excellent treat venues.
See more of Ann’s favourite beaches here.
Words: Ann Gadd, author of Life’s a Beach (Published by Mapstudio ISBN 978-1-77026-861-6)