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Cape Town beaches

Preston
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250 posts
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Cape Town beaches

We have a couple of days in Cape Town next April before we board a cruise ship back to the UK. We are staying in the Lady Hamilton Hotel in Union Street and would like to visit a beach not too far away. Suggestions please? We like snorkeling!

Cape Town
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1. Re: Cape Town beaches

Hi Kenneth

There are plenty of lovely beaches within 15-20mins drive of where you are staying. Camps Bay, Clifton 1,2,3 & 4 beaches, a number of smaller beaches along Sea Point to Three Anchor Bay, Llandudno and the longest nearby beach at Hout Bay. A bit further there are loads more - Noordhoek, which is one of the longest and broadest beaches around the southern coast. Muizenberg, together with Kommetjie two of the best surfing beaches in the region. Historic beaches at St James and Fishhoek and, of course, Boulders Beach with its resident penguin colony - where you can swim with the penguins! North of the city Lagoon Beach, Sunset Beach and Bloubergstrand with the iconic picture post-card views of Table Mountain that you have seen a hundred times. On a hot day (which still might happen in April) a lot of locals head to the beach to cool off.

BUT, although these are smart and to a greater or lesser extent sophisticated beaches, they all have one problem - the water is ICY. The strong prevailing south-east wind of summer (October to April), being off-shore, moves the warmer top layer of water out of the bay – with the result that a compensating strong inflow of icy cold water flowing up from Antarctica is set up into the bay. This tends to make water temperatures in summer dip to their lowest levels – sometimes below 10 C. Blackpool beach in the summer is MUCH warmer. Snorkeling is fine - as long as you bring a wet-suit!

To be honest, if you are only here for a couple of days, I would forget about beaches. They would be way down my list of things to do In Cape Town - other than to drive past and say "how pretty"! How about the following :

Go up Table Mountain. The Iconic mountain in the centre of the city. Over 1,000 metres high and accessible in 5 mins using the high speed cable car. Lots of lovely short hikes on the flat top (yes it really is!), with amazing views in all directions.

Stroll the city centre with many 18th and 19th century buildings and fascinating street markets. Visit the castle dating from the 1660's.

Visit the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A modern development with hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafes built around Cape Town's fully working harbour all with fantastic views of the face of the mountain.

Take the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, which pases the end of the road from your hotel, for a great circular guided tour of the city and it's surrounds.

Visit Kirstenbosch Gardens. One of the World's greatest Botanic Gardens with some thousands of plant species unique to the Cape and, again magnificent views. Also accessible by the HOHO bus.

Take a side trip on the bus route into the Constantia Winelands. Just 25 mins from the city. Sample some great wines at the half dozen estates on the route. Good examples of the 600 more that you could visit not too far from the city - if you had more time! Visit the 17th Centrury Manor House of Groot Constantia. Fully furnished which shows that the early Dutch Colonists didn't have it too bad at all!

If you are interested in the more recent history of South Africa you can visit Robben Island - a short fast boat trip from the Waterfront. See where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for most of 23 years and where he formulated his ideas of a new South Africa.

Go for lunch at one (well one each day) of the hundreds of world class restaurants in and around Cape Town. Michelen Star quality at a fraction of the price you would pay in London or the rest of the UK. Many with wonderful ocean or mountain views - or both!

I could go on and on - before I even reach lying on a beach, or snorkeling in icy water!

Then enjoy your cruise back to the UK - while planning how soon you can get back to Cape Town to take in much more of this great city and country!

Edited: 23 December 2013, 22:53
Berkshire, England
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2. Re: Cape Town beaches

When we were in Cape Town in high summer, it was all we could do to even paddle in the sea it was so cold!!!

Preston
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250 posts
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3. Re: Cape Town beaches

Thanks for all that,. You sound like you work for the tourist board- if not, apply for a job there!!! I will heed your advice about swimming. We were in Cape Town a few years ago when we had days in Cape Town and then drove the Garden and Wine Routes. So we we've 'done' Table Mountain, Robben Island, the penguins and had an escorted walking tour of the historic centre. However, your other stuff sounds great, especially the HO-HO bus. We have just returned from a cruise and used the HO-HO bus in Abu Dhabi and earlier in the year used one in Rome. They are great for sightseeing.

Thanks again...

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4. Re: Cape Town beaches

If you do still feel like swimming Oudekraal beach is slightly warmer as it's a little cove and it's nice for snorkeling. It's past Camps Bay and is a protected area so has a small entrance fee.

5. Re: Cape Town beaches

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