Clifton Beach

Clifton Beach, at the northwest tip of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, is a trendy seaside retreat for international hipsters and jet-setters. 

The entire Clifton beach is vast and clean, with white sand and a large number of tanned bodies reflected in the brilliant African sunshine. 

Clifton has an air of mystery thanks in part to the awe-inspiring grandeur of Table Mountain and Lions Head, which rises magnificently in the beach’s background, and in part to the opulent pulse of its surrounding community. 

Clifton is also one of the most affluent suburbs in Cape Town. It attracts a large number of expats from Europe and North America who choose to have holiday homes there.

clifton beach
Source: Agoda

The 4 Clifton Beaches

Four beaches comprise Clifton beach. They are separated by rocky outcroppings.

1st Beach

1st beach attracts a more chilled crowd consisting of dog owners and beach volleyball and ultimate frisbee players. !st beach has the reputation of being the least pretentious of the 4 beaches.

2nd Beach

This beach is often frequented by models and Cape Town’s “cool crowd”. It’s not uncommon to see fashion shoots taking place here. Smell of cannabis is also not uncommon.

3rd Beach

This beach has traditionally attracted LGBT community. It has a similar vibe to Cape Town’s nudest beach, Sandy Bay.

4th Beach

This is where all the teenagers and students tend to hang out. It’s the “cool beach” among this age group. As a result you can expect to see a lot of posers along the shoreline. Bronzed folk with big muscles single-handedly keeping the steroid market buoyant.

Sunset at Clifton Beach

At the end of the day, forget about your office and get to Clifton beach for some people-watching. Sunsets at Clifton Beach can be truly majestic. You can also grab a sundowner at the Bungalow nearby, or simply cruise through to Camps Bay and its boulevard lined with bars and restaurants.

clifton 1st beach
Clifton 1st Beach

Getting There

The city of Cape Town is about 12 miles from the nearest major international airport, Cape Town International Airport. South African Airways is the national airline of South Africa.

Airport Transportation

Legend Tours, Transfers Dumalisile, Way-2-Go Tours, City Hopper, and Magic Bus provide shuttle services. Taxis are available (Touch Down Taxi is the only airport-authorized taxi firm) for about R140 to the city center. There are a variety of vehicle rental agencies (including Avis, Budget, and Rentacheapie)


The peak tourism season runs from November through March, when the number of visitors and prices rise. Consider scheduling your vacation in October or April, when the weather is nice and the crowds are small.

Remember, seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere: Summer is September to April, and winter is May to August. 

In summer the average temperature is 74°F or 23°C. In winter the average temperature is 60°F or 15°C.


Visitors to Clifton will discover that most affordable lodgings in Cape Town are plentiful and cater to a wide range of budgets. Hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, backpacker hostels, and self-catering flats are among the many types of lodging available.

Although rates have dropped in recent years, they are still more expensive than other areas of Cape Town. The high number of hotels has helped keep expenses low, although staying close to affluent Clifton usually means higher costs. 


The food and drink culture in the region is extraordinary, with many local specialties as well as international delights such as Japanese and Thai cuisine. Cape cuisine, which mixes Malay, Dutch, and other traditions to make a traditional meal, is one way to satisfy your hunger.

The culinary specialties include curries, which are spicy stews, and the delectable bobotie, a spiced beef or lamb dish. A braai is an outdoor barbecue with boerewors (sausages).

Travel Tips

There are 11 official languages in South Africa. English, however, is the most widely understood. Don’t change money at your hotel as rates are greater than in banks or change bureaus.

Avoid walking alone at night, avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and consider tucking your valuables away in a money belt to keep yourself safe from thieves and pickpockets.

After you’ve arrived, stop by Cape Town Tourism, the official tourist information office, which has an Internet café and booking services. The Pinnacle Building, Burg and Castle Streets are the headquarters.


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