The Flight Network has published its annual ranking of the best beaches in the world – which includes a ranking dedicated to the 50 most beautiful beaches in Africa, of which are right here in South Africa.
The group’s list is compiled by pooling the wisdom of over 1,200 journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who specialise in travel.
Of the eight South African beaches ranked in the top 50, four are in Cape Town, with one along the Garden Route, another in Knysna and one each in Port Elizabeth and Coffee Bay.
While Cape Town has the most representation, it’s Knysna’s Noetzie Beach that tops out as South Africa’s best.
Noetzie Beach has made headlines over the past few years for the R56 million castle that can be found on its shores, and rented out for up to R110,000 a night.
Three other beaches ranked in the top 10, including Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape, Camp’s Bay Beach and Boulder’s Beach in Cape Town.
These are South Africa’s best beaches, and what sets them apart, according to Flight Network. You can view the full top 50 list here.
Noetzie Beach – Knysna
The gravel road leading to Noetzie Beach eludes to its exclusivity. But when you make the climb down the steep stairway attached to a cliff, you know you’re onto something wondrous. Tucked into a hidden nook of Plettenberg Bay and rimmed by a dense forest, Noetzie is known for historic castles built in the 1930’s.
Coffee Bay – Eastern Cape
Found in the heart of South Africa’s Wild Coast, the small seaside village of Coffee Bay offers pristine swimming beaches, bars, excellent fishing and breathtaking scenery for walks along the area’s rugged coastline. Coffee Bay is the perfect destination for holiday-makers wanting to trade in city life for a laid-back beach experience in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa.
Camp’s Bay Beach – Cape Town
Trendy Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town may be known as the popular spot to snag a celebrity autograph or hang out with barely-covered sunbathers but it’s also a beach beckoning with idyllic white sand and grassy knolls perfect for relaxation. It is set against the backdrop of the majestic Table Mountains.
Boulder’s Beach – Cape Town
Boasting 295 days of annual sun, Boulders Beach is an explore-worthy national landmark complete with plush white sands, delightful penguins, and ancient granite boulders. Walk along the beach’s boardwalk or splash in one of the many rock pools. Deep blue waters stay protected and calm, hidden amongst the granite so your swim is peaceful and serene.
Hobie Beach – Port Elizabeth
The popular Hobie Beach is found in the vicinity of Shark Rock Pier and the Boardwalk of Port Elizabeth. It is a favourite for swimming, sunbathing and body surfing. It also offers sheltered rock pools with interesting sea life to observe. Other facilities include plenty of restaurants, a launching place for sailing, and rubber ducking.
Wilderness Beach – Garden Route
The nature-lover’s haven of Wilderness Beach is bordered by the towering Outeniqua Mountains and adjacent to numerous rivers, lakes, and lagoons. Golden sands are pushed and pulled by the warm water of the Indian Ocean, which often provide a dramatic landscape of roiling waters.
Noordhoek Beach – Cape Town
Bookended by the soaring Chapman’s peak and the regal Kommetijie lighthouse, the 8 km long Noordhoek Beach is one of the best-protected stretches of shore on the Atlantic Cape coast.Surrounded by wonder, this beach is backed by preserved wetlands that dissolve into majestic slopes covered in coastal fynbos, which are small heather like trees and shrubs.
Diaz Beach – Cape Town
An area well suited for hikers and intrepid explorers, Diaz Beach provides a beautiful display of powerful waves crashing into pristine sands surrounded by vegetation-covered cliffs. The beach is rarely crowded but is not recommended for lounging, as the local baboons are keen to steal food-filled backpacks. In addition, the turbulent water makes swimming a risky endeavour.