5 of the Western Cape s best secret beaches MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Discover 5 Hidden Gems: The Best Secret Beaches in the Western Cape

Hey there! If you’re like me and love spending time at the beach, then you’re in for a treat. The Western Cape has some amazing beaches to choose from. But, I’m here to let you in on a little secret. There are five hidden beaches that are extra special, and I just know you’ll love them.

First off, let me tell you about the stunning coastline of the Western Cape. It stretches for 900 kilometers, starting from Lambert’s Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, passing the famous Cape of Good Hope, and all the way to Nature’s Valley on the Indian Ocean. With all that shoreline, you can imagine the endless possibilities for beach lovers like you and me.

Now, I know you’ve probably heard of popular beaches like Camps Bay, Clifton, Wilderness, and Plettenberg Bay. They’re fantastic spots, no doubt about that. But, picture this – being all alone on a pristine beach, feeling the warm sand between your toes, and listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, these secret beaches I’m about to share with you can make that dream come true.

Alright, let’s jump right into it! Here are the top five secret beaches you absolutely cannot miss:

  1. Hidden Gem #1: Pringle Bay – Imagine watching the most amazing sunset while walking along the soft sands of Pringle Bay. It’s pure magic, I tell you. Trust me, you won’t want to leave.
  2. Hidden Gem #2: Buffels Bay – Prepare to be blown away by the breathtaking natural beauty of Buffels Bay. It’s secluded and tranquil, the perfect spot for a peaceful day by the ocean.
  3. Hidden Gem #3: Harolds Bay – A true hidden gem, Harolds Bay is a paradise for nature lovers. With its rocky shoreline and stunning views, it’s a beach you’ll never forget.
  4. Hidden Gem #4: Elands Bay – If you’re a surfer or simply love watching the pros catch some waves, Elands Bay is the place to be. This beach is famous for its incredible surf breaks.
  5. Hidden Gem #5: Kogel Bay – Last but not least, Kogel Bay is a hidden paradise that will take your breath away. With its crystal-clear waters and rugged coastline, it’s a little piece of heaven.

There you have it – five secret beaches that will make your Western Cape adventure unforgettable. So, grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and get ready to explore these hidden gems. I assure you, it’ll be a road trip to remember!

1. Preekstoel Beach, West Coast National Park

Preekstoel Beach in the West Coast National Park is a place like no other. With its cold Benguela current and constant Atlantic breeze, it has a unique charm that captivates me. The untamed beauty of the landscape, combined with the fragrant fynbos plants, creates a sensory experience that is truly unforgettable. As I walk along the shore, I am greeted by the occasional ostrich, and the sight of white washed cottages and fishing boats. It’s a scene straight out of a postcard.

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Along the entire coastline, there are pockets of development nestled between long stretches of pristine white sand. Some of these villages hold great historical value, while others cater to tourists looking for a weekend getaway. There’s a perfect balance between old world charm and modern facilities. I can take leisurely walks or challenging hikes, visit picturesque lighthouses, and even set up camp under the stars.

When it comes to my idea of paradise, the beach that takes the crown is located in the West Coast National Park. This beach is a popular attraction all year round, but it really comes alive in spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom (check out the ultimate guide to the spring flower season in South Africa). The beach stretches for 25 kilometers and offers a stunning view of a rusted shipwreck in the distance. The crashing waves against the rocks create a beautiful contrast with the calm waters of the Langebaan Lagoon.

For me, the real gem of this beach is Kraalbaai. Located on the lagoon side, it’s a peaceful escape from the world. Here, you can find houseboats gently swaying in the shallows and a wooden jetty that extends over the turquoise water. It’s the perfect spot to find solace from the wind and create your own private haven. The water here is waist-deep, making it an ideal place to relax and unwind. Preekstoel, also known as the preacher’s pulpit, offers shelter and is one of the Western Cape’s best-kept secrets.

2. Noetzie Beach, Knysna

As I stroll along the sandy shores of Noetzie in Knysna, South Africa, a peculiar sight catches my eye – castles! Yes, you read that right. Castles on the beach. It may sound like something out of a fairytale, but it’s true. And if you find yourself in the area, I invite you to embark on a little adventure with me.

The journey begins by taking the dirt road at Nekkies and heading towards the coast. Follow the path down the 150 steps, each marked with the word ‘beach’. As you descend, anticipation builds, and a sense of curiosity envelops you. What awaits at the bottom?

And there it is – a hidden gem nestled in a secluded cove. This is Noetzie, where the sands meet the sea, and where dreams come to life. Here, you’ll find not only the shimmering waves and gentle ocean breeze but also castles adorned with turrets and charming beach cottages that exude a classic charm.

But how did this unimaginable sight come to be? Well, it all began centuries ago when the area was known as Noetziekamma, a name derived from the Khoi-san language, which means “dark water.” This name was coined due to the tannins that filtered into the river from the surrounding indigenous trees, giving the water a distinct hue.

Over time, a track was laid to allow local farmers to bring their oxen to the beach for their annual holiday. And as more people flocked to this idyllic spot, iron and timber cottages began to dot the shoreline. However, it wasn’t until the early thirties that something truly extraordinary happened – the construction of the first castle.

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Fast forward to today, and Noetzie boasts numerous castles, each with its own story and unique charm. Three of these enchanting structures are available for holiday rentals, allowing visitors to experience the magic firsthand.

So, if you’re seeking a beach getaway like no other, make your way to Noetzie. Immerse yourself in the rich history, stunning natural beauty, and whimsical architecture of this hidden paradise. Let your imagination run wild as you explore the castles, soak up the sun on the sandy shores, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

When you visit the Noetzie Conservancy, you’ll discover a hidden gem protected by nature. The beach and Sinclair Nature Reserve are safeguarded by the surrounding 10km dirt road and steep stairways, preventing excessive visitors and maintaining a sense of isolated beauty. Here, you can embark on exciting adventures like hiking, canoeing, swimming, and exploring.

3. Arniston, Overberg

Absorb the enchantment of Arniston beach in the Overberg region, a place that is both remote and breathtakingly beautiful. As you set foot on its shores, you’ll feel like you’ve been granted access to a secret world, prompting you to consider whether or not you should share its existence with others.

In the beautiful region of Overberg, you’ll find a charming village called Arniston. This place is so amazing that once you visit, you’ll keep coming back for more. It’s a small village with just one hotel but plenty of cozy cottages available for rent. If you need to grab some essentials, you can rely on the local spaza shop.

Every day, the fishermen set out to sea, just like they have done for generations. When they return, they bring back their fresh catch, which they sell to the vacationers. It’s a tradition that has stood the test of time.

Right next to Arniston is Kassiesbaai. This area is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, with its historic white-washed cottages frozen in time. Back in the day, these cottages were built using wooden kassies that washed ashore from shipwrecks. It’s fascinating to see how the early inhabitants made use of whatever materials were available to create their homes.

When it comes to beaches, Arniston has it all. With its rocky outcrops and easy swimming, this beach offers something for everyone. There’s even a beacon offshore that you can swim to and climb up the rocks covered in barnacles. Exploring the surrounding area is a must, with its isolated splendor and undulating sand dunes that stretch into the crystal blue ocean. You can try sandboarding, take a refreshing swim, or go for long walks along the shore.

If you prefer a more secluded experience, head south to the Waenhuiskrans cave. This fascinating cave can only be visited at low tide and offers a glimpse into a hidden world. You’ll also find desolate beaches perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, and leisurely walks.

No matter what type of beach experience you’re looking for, Arniston has you covered. Whether you want the safety of being surrounded by others or crave some solitude, this place is perfect for both options. You’ll find comfortable accommodations at either the Arniston Hotel or Etna’s Accommodation.

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4. Pringle Bay, Overberg

Looking for a beach that’s off the beaten path? Pringle Bay in Overberg is the answer. This hidden gem will captivate you with its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Follow the path that leads to Pringle Bay beach and prepare to be amazed.

Pringle Bay, a village located on the opposite side of False Bay from Cape Point, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its long white beach, with a gentle river flowing through it, invites you to explore its natural beauty. As I stand on the sandy shore, I can’t help but marvel at the majestic mountains surrounding this quaint seaside paradise.

Over the past decade, Pringle Bay has experienced significant growth and development. Although it now boasts charming restaurants, a delightful deli, and a country shop, it has managed to retain its rustic charm. There is still only one paved road, and the absence of street lights adds to the village’s allure.

Imagine walking along the sand dunes that line the beach, providing a shield from the wind. The air is filled with excitement as people of all ages engage in thrilling activities such as bodyboarding, surfing, and kitesurfing. For those seeking a more tranquil adventure, canoeing up the river is an excellent choice. And let’s not forget about the crystal-clear waters that are perfect for a refreshing swim.

Pringle Bay truly caters to everyone’s needs. Families can spend quality time together, while dogs frolic alongside their owners. It’s no wonder that Pringle Bay is widely considered one of the Western Cape’s best-kept secrets. Whether you’re a sun worshipper or an adventure seeker, this seaside haven has something for everyone.

5. Diaz Beach, Cape Point, Table Mountain National Park

This is the story of Diaz Beach, hidden away within the Cape Point Nature Reserve, which is a part of the magnificent Table Mountain National Park. The only way to reach this enchanting beach is by walking along a pathway that leads from the main parking area. As I make my way down, I find myself surrounded by tall cliffs that seem to stretch endlessly into the sky, creating a truly breathtaking sight.

While swimming here can be a little risky, it’s a beloved destination for surfers who crave an adrenaline rush. The beach is perfect for capturing stunning photographs and experiencing moments of secluded romance. What makes this place even more magical is how the mood changes dramatically as mist from the ocean starts to roll in. It creates an atmosphere of mystery and wonder that is hard to find anywhere else.

So, if you’re looking for a peaceful day in nature, Diaz Beach is the perfect choice. Grab your bag, and head on over. It’s a hidden gem that not many people know about, so you’re likely to have the whole place to yourself. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

A hidden beauty, Diaz Beach at Cape Point, Cape Town. Photo by Dawn Jorgensen.

A hidden beauty, Diaz Beach at Cape Point, Cape Town. Photo by Dawn Jorgensen.

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