One of my all time favourite trips was the one to Cape Town, South Africa last year. It had been a whirlwind of sensory experiences that I didn’t actually know where to start writing about it. And it didn’t help that I’ve got this self-imposed rule that if I feel the need to include more than 20 pictures of the trip, I need to split up the post.
But on a weekend in early February, when I feel that I’ve had enough winter (even though we’ve got a very mild one this year), I long to be somewhere warm and wonderful, preferably with a nice beach. So my thought drifted to our South African trip last year, where beaches were plentiful and beautiful, each with its own personality.
Long Beach, Kommetjie
We stayed very close to the famous Boulder Beach with its resident jackass penguins, but by far our favourite beach in the Cape Peninsula region is Long Beach in the village of Kommetjie. About 30 km south of Cape Town, facing the Atlantic, the water is chilly, but it has miles of pristine white sands, with the mountains as the backdrop. It’s a popular place for the locals, but there are plenty of space for everyone, and you could get as close or as far as you like from the crowd (we always opted somewhere in between). It seems to be popular among surfers as well.
The village is not a far walk from the beach, and there are some cafes, restaurants, a grocery store, and a post office. Our favourite hang out in the village was The Green Room, a laid back cafe with outdoor seating, next to a small but pretty well-stocked surf shop.
Boulder Beach, Simon’s Town
Boulder Beach is the iconic Cape Town beach that’s not actually in Cape Town itself. It’s located in Simon’s Town, on the other side of the Cape Peninsula by the False Bay (why is it called the False Bay?). Since it’s not directly on the Atlantic, the water is warmer on this side (but still not as warm as the Indian Ocean coast). The beach is populated with huge round boulders, that you feel that you have shrunk among pebbles. The Kid loved this beach a lot, because not only she could swim, but there were also interesting things to climb on.
You need to pay an admission fee to get in, but while I usually avoid fee-paying beaches, I didn’t mind doing so for this beach, because it’s also a conservation area for all the jackass penguins. I’m not sure if they’re always around the whole year round, but when we were there in December and January, there are plenty of them scattered around the beach, minding their own business, not caring much about people. We were also lucky to spot some dassies, as they are called in Afrikaans. They look a bit like a cross between a wingless bat and a guinea pig.
There are countless beaches in the coastline of Cape Peninsula, from the world famous to no-name ones. Staying true of ourselves, we avoided the popular and trendy ones (with the exception of Boulder Beach), since we prefer to have the space for ourselves and there are so many to choose from. Other beaches we went to and could remember was:
Hout Bay has its own swimming beach area with sand, but we love the pebbly beach around the harbour, which looking out onto the Chapman’s Peak. It always look different in different time of the day and different weather.
With its powerful waves which crashes onto the rocks, it was the most dramatic of all the beaches we went to. The Kid loved playing in the rock pools, as she was too afraid to go into the water (a very wise decision which I agreed with).
Miller’s Point beach:
Looks like a smaller version of Boulder Beach, just downhill from the seafood restaurant Black Marlin. It’s an excellent place to spend the day when you feel luxurious enough to get some oyster for a snack, and then go back to sunbathing.