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Beach life is big in Cape Town (one of the top things to do in the city, no doubt), despite the fact water temperatures range from chilly to frigid. Still, you’ll see surfers riding waves, divers exploring underwater wonders, and enough sea life to satisfy shore snorkelers—and then there’s the sand. As of 2018, Cape Town led the country with the highest number of Blue Flag beaches, an international designation awarded to beaches that meet high standards for quality control. Simply put, these are considered the best of the best in terms of environmental education, safety, service facilities, and water quality.
While quality control is always a nice barometer, it’s not the only one. We can testify that some of the best beaches are ones less developed or that offer experiences you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else—plus lots of top restaurants, hotels and markets nearby. No matter where you throw down your towel, prepare to be dazzled with spectacular mountain views, picture-worthy turquoise waters, and dramatic beachfronts boasting tide pools, marble boulders, and insane sunsets.