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.
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
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
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’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
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.