Cape Town’s Clifton Beaches – Four Corners of Wealth

Travel south from Cape Town’s legendary waterfront along the coastal road with views of Mandela’s Robben Island prison, and on the far side of Sea Point the topography changes. The road rises up the foothills of the Table Mountain chain towards the homes of the exclusively wealthy. You have entered South Africa’s most exclusive, most expensive district.

Clifton Beaches Cape Town: Rooftop View
Rooftop View at Cape View Clifton: Photo by Cape View Clifton

To the left, the homes of the rich and famous are steps up the mountainside. To the right, there are tempting glimpses of white beaches between the rooftops of hotels. You have arrived in the home of the body beautiful. Let’s go down the steep concrete steps, and mingle with famous names as they emerge from their palaces onto white beaches.

Clifton Beaches Cape Town

Four Beaches Rolled in One

Falls of gigantic granite boulders separate the four beaches that tumbled thousands of feet down the mountainside a very long time ago. This creates four distinct zones each with its unique culture. The flat-topped mountain protects all from the blistering southeast winds that roar overhead. The Atlantic Ocean is a crisp 12 -16°C (54 – 61°F) ensuring a quick dip, followed by a stretch out on the sand to admire and be admired.

First Beach: Early Morning for the Lucky Few

Clifton Beaches Cape Town: Sunset
Clifton Beach at Sunset: Photo Francois de Halleux / CC 2.0

First Beach belongs to prosperous local residents, and those who know where the steps begin from the road above. It is tucked away from the busy crowds and has the best waves. By 10 a.m., it will become busy as bikini-clad bathers scramble across from second beach just to the south.

Surf’s Up at Second Beach

Clifton Beaches Cape Town: Surfing
Surfing at Clifton Beach

Second Beach is more accessible from Victoria Road above, and attracts the student set that revels in beach sports. Expect a livelier, more physical experience here. This is where middle-aged spread merges with next generation. Both enjoy the trade-offs of the moment. Be here to share the fusion.

So much for the wealthy, the students and the surfers: a little ‘secret’ awaits you. There is a third beach to come, unspectacular, desirable and undeniably cute.

Family Time on Third Beach

Clifton Beaches Cape Town: Sunset
Clifton Beach Families at Sunset: Photo by Mallix / CC 2.0

Clifton’s petite Third Beach is a more laid-back affair. Here are no grand apartments and hotels; just beach villas for people who appreciate their privacy. Families from surrounding areas flock to spend a lazy Sunday picnicking and teaching kids to swim. This is a seaside holiday spot as a seaside holiday should be.

Fourth Beach – A Place of Many Dreams

Clifton Beaches Cape Town
Clifton Beaches: Photo jbdodane / CC 2.0

Fourth Beach is an eclectic mix of holiday cottages along narrow lanes, a sunshine paradise, a safe beach, and a peaceful anchorage for boats sailed across from Cape Town water front for a day of scuba and barbeque braais on the poop deck. It is surprisingly democratic. Local lads swim out to admire the boats and dream. This is Cape Town at her very best. No wonder so many people come from everywhere to share the historic city.

Clifton Beaches Cape Town: Cape Town Water Front
Cape Town Water Front

About Richard Farrell

Richard Farrell I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast (30.7167° S, 30.4667° E). I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

Other posts by the Author

One Response

  1. Cape Town Secret Hidden Beaches You May Never See | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] at your hotel which beaches are best to visit in Cape Town, and they will roll off names like Clifton, Sea Point, Muizenberg, Boulders, and Camps Bay. If you like crowds of beautiful people, well […]


Leave a Reply