Here’s the thing about beaches: people are generally looking for different things when they choose to get some sand between the toes.
Some want to see and be seen, others want to be left the hell alone, and parents want somewhere their kids can play whilst they lie under the umbrella and hope in vain for a moment’s peace.
We showed you some of Cape Town’s best kept secrets beach-wise back in December HERE, but let’s think national.
If you ask Ann Gadd, a local author who travelled to more than 400 beaches to research her book Life’s A Beach, you have to take various factors into consideration when deciding which beach beats the rest.
Over on CountryLife they’ve picked five categories and awarded a top spot in each, so let’s see which beaches take home the plaudits:
Best Overall Beach: Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape
Kenton has loads to offer – For paddling Middle Beach on a low-tide, 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.
That, and you can also stumble straight off Jeremiah’s and have a good snooze on the sand if the mood strikes you.
Best for Sundowners: Strandloper Bar, Langebaan, West Coast
For 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.
Big call, that.
You’ll find us (and many other Capetonians) prefer soaking up the sunset from the comfort of Caprice – cocktails and beautiful people for the win.
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.
Best for Kids: Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town, Western Cape
Boulders to climb, small beaches and the added attraction of penguins and thousands of dassies, make this a lovely beach to entertain littlies.
Let’s just hope the kids love the smell of penguin crap. Hey, as long as it keeps them busy…
Great for Gourmands: Paternoster, West Coast, Western Cape
It offers an eclectic choice of restaurants in a sleepy, scenic village. The Noisy Oyster, Gaaitjies and The Square Spoon rank as my favourites. Voorstrandt’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.
Given how subjective such a choice is there’s bound to be disagreement, but at least we know we’re spoilt for choice.
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