site zip: AF ZA CPT 0140 | neighborhood: Cape Town, Cape Peninsula, Overberg | region: Western Cape
Cape Town Beach Guide - images

 Cape Town Beach| Clifton, Atlantic Seaboard

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Clifton's beaches have been rated as one of's best beaches by region.

Clifton is an affluent residential area of Cape Town, with homes nestled into shoreline cliffs with sweeping ocean views. Stepped paths and winding narrow stairs provide public access down to the beaches from Victoria Road. Parking in the vicinity is not always a viable option for visitors. If you must drive, plan to get there really early, as parking is extremely limited.


Beaches of Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard

Clifton's 4 beaches

Four white sandy coves seperated by huge natural boulders define the four discrete beaches of Clifton. All are open to the public, are sheltered from summer's south easter winds and are popular with locals and with visitors to Cape Town.

Clifton First Beach (on the northern side, closest to Cape Town city center) is the smallest beach, drawing a mixed crowd of locals and surfers. The strongest surf (for board and body surfing) occurs at First Beach and diminishes along the other Clifton beaches, being weakest at Fourth beach. Beach Bat tournaments are also frequently held at First Beach.

Second Beach is frequented by younger beachgoers and students, playing beach volleyball and beach bats.

Third Beach is a gay beach, popular with gay men.

Fourth Beach is particularly popular with the young and trendy and is typically crowded in summer. The sea is cold, so this is a beach more for tanning and enjoying the beach ambience than for swimming. The beach is not accessable from Victoria Road to physically disabled visitors. Fourth Beach has earned Blue Flag status.

Clifton's 4th Beach

Yachts anchored off Clifton's Fourth Beach, Cape Town

Why is Clifton's ocean colder in summer than in winter?
The prevailing South Easter winds blowing offshore in summer also blow the warmer surface ocean water further away from the coastline. To compensate, much colder Atlantic water flows onshore. In summer, the water can be as chilly as 10 °C (50 °F). On the plus side, the inflow of cold water also brings clean white sand with it, extending the width of the beach through the summer season.

In winter, the reverse effect occurs. The north westerly gales blow warmer surface waters onshore and the compensating outflow removes beach sand. Hence the unusual circumstance that the ocean here at Clifton is appreciably warmer in winter than in summer.

Are sharks a risk to surfers and bathers in these cold waters?
Shark sightings are extremely rare here and along the Atlantic seaboard. However, there have been two shark attacks on swimmers in deeper water - in 1942 and in 1976. Note that sightings and attacks by great white sharks are a greater hazard in the warmer False Bay waters.

Clifton Heat

[2:56 min] [Attribution: PkJOZI]

Clifton Fourth Beach without the crowds but with some impressive beach gymnastics!.

PkJOZI Athletes Jacky Kwan Tai Ho & Martin Mostert on their 2010 PkJOZI Cape Town tour. 1st stop Clifton Beach!

Filmed & Edited by PkJOZI Productions

Link arrow More: Cape Town| Top of Page

Blouberg Strand | Milnerton
Clifton's Beaches | Camps Bay
Llandudno | Hout Bay
Noordhoek | Kommetjie
Diaz Beach
Gordon's Bay | The Strand
Muizenberg | St James and Kalk Bay
Fish Hoek | Boulders Beach
MAP: Cape Town beaches and Peninsula

Cape Town's Top Beaches

Cape Town's Cape Peninsula attractions Cape Town's Peninsula and Cape Point
Explore wave swept shores, stunning scenic drives, secluded beaches - and the dramatic views from Cape Point.
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