When the Earth was formed, whether that was by God or elemental forces, the southern chunk of Africa must have received extra portions of beauty. Maybe someone was being heavy-handed, maybe the top of the ‘salt-cellar’ fell off and magnificence showered down unintentionally giving it more than its allotted share - or perhaps it was pure luck or chance. Whatever its mysterious origins, South Africa has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
This includes its coastline, where on the eastern shore wide golden beaches are flanked by tangled tropical undergrowth and warm sea-water with multi-coloured coral gardens; and on the Wild Coast cows graze contentedly and village huts dot the rolling green hills above the beach in idyllic rural settings.
Further south, indigenous coastal forest and rocky shores conceal secret lagoons and estuaries, and dolphins frolic in the tumbling waves. Towards the Cape of Good Hope, the sand becomes whiter, the water colder and the beaches often have views of the Cape’s towering mountains and jagged promontories. Here, you can swim with African penguins or watch southern right whales leap from the water in jubilation (or so it seems). Further westwards, the West Coast is blessed with the cold Benguela Current and nutrient-rich Atlantic waters, kelp forests and bird colonies.
As you trace the shape of South African beaches in a smile from east to west, it is crystal clear that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stretches of beach with many that could easily qualify for the country’s Top Ten. It all depends on criteria. If you’re a nature child, you’ll be lured by wild, remote beaches off the beaten track, if you’re a city-slicker, you may prefer a popular beach with a friendly crowd, while families may prefer a beach with easy access, amenities and safe swimming.