Cape Town is one of the largest and most beautiful African cities, located on the bottommost edge of the African continent, surrounded by tall mountains and facing the blue-green Atlantic Ocean. The lovely winds and temperature create wonderful waves to hit its majestic beaches and rocky shores, making the city one of the world’s best urban surfing destinations. The several surf spots in the city are varied and diverse, ensuring that people from any experience level, be it a beginner or a pro, can enjoy this thrilling sport.
Best Surf Spots in Cape Town for Beginners
Located pretty close to the city centre, Muizenberg Beach is one of the most popular beaches and surf spots in Cape Town. It is home to Surfers’ Corner, a famous group of beach apartments, coffee shops, and surfing schools. Muizenberg is known for its mild and gentle waves, coming in clean and straight lines, making it perfect for surfing beginners and kids. It also has several places where you can rent surfboards and suits.
2. Big Bay
Big Bay is a beach break located between the Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand localities. Known for its short waves and being a good surf spot throughout the year, Big Bay is ideal for surfers with any level of experience. It is particularly recommended for surfers who have just started their journey with surfing. he place becomes a kitesurfing haven during the windy summers.
Best Surf Spots in Cape Town for Intermediate Surfers
3. Long Beach
Kommetjie’s Long Beach is another popular surfing spot known for some of the best waves in Cape Town when the south-westerly wind blows. It is suitable for surfers who have some experience. The unique part about Long Beach is that the waves break in both left and right directions, catering to goofy and regular surfers.
4. Scarborough Beach
A pristine and quiet surf spot, perfect in both summer and spring, Scarborough Beach is where you should go if you want to dare the pleasant waves in a less crowded location. It is also an excellent place to experience some exciting kitesurfing.
A place with azure blue seas and snow-white sand, Llandudno is widely believed to be one of the most picturesque beaches in the entire world. And it is also an ideal location for intermediate surfers to ride the swell. Do note that the water is pretty cold. Also, if you are not an advanced and experienced surfer, it is recommended that you avoid the wedge-type wave near the large granite boulders.
Best Surf Spots in Cape Town for Advanced Surfers
6. Glen Beach
Located near the city centre in Camps Bay, Glen Beach is a surf spot known for its stunning views of the Twelve Apostles Mountains. It is also one of the best surfing spots for advanced surfers because of its strong and powerful waves. There are quite a few rocks, so it is better to be careful.
Dunes is a beach popular with the local surfing crowd of Cape Town. It is located somewhat far from the main city (a 40-minute drive) and a trek even further (30 minutes) to reach the best spot to surf. However, your efforts will be rewarded with excellent, hollow, and powerful 6 to 8 feet waves, which will excite any surfer. The surf is also known to be good in the winter.
8. Off the Wall
Off the Wall is a surfing spot where the wave breaks off the wall in Mouille Point. It is a rocky place to surf and is best avoided if you are not an advanced and experienced surfer. It has a very short and sharp take-off, and the waves have steep drops. The waves are pretty hollow, allowing some excellent barrelling. Off the Wall is known for being quiet and not very crowded.
9. Crayfish Factory
There are some surf spots in Cape Town where being even advanced and experienced surfers is not enough. It would be best if you were highly accomplished and skilled. You should be a professional with years of training and experience. Crayfish Factory is one such spot. Known for its rough 15 feet waves when it catches the north or north-easterly winds, the Factory is often considered one of the most exhilarating and challenging places to surf. Winter is the best time to visit.
If you thought that the 15 feet waves of Crayfish Factory were dangerous, then you have never seen the monstrous 60 feet waves that you occasionally get at Dungeons. Home to the prestigious Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing competitions, you need to be an extremely proficient surfer, specifically a tow surfer, to handle the enormous waves and attempt the drop. It is accessible only by boat from the Hout Bay Harbour.
Best Surf Schools in Cape Town
1. Gary Surf School
An old, famous, and reputed surf school founded in 1989, Gary Surf School is one of the best places to learn surfing in Cape Town. It is located on Muizenberg Beach and offers beginner and intermediate surfing lessons with highly experienced instructors. They also sell surfing gear. Guided surf tours and holiday camps are some of the other services provided here.
Cost: R 350 – R 750 per person (Beginners)
R 850 – R 3500 per person (Intermediate)
2. Cape Town Surfing
Another qualified and licensed surf school since 2001, Cape Town Surfing provides a wide range of learning packages, from beginners to advanced, and is run by internationally qualified instructors, coaches and managers. They also offer day tours, kayaking, and SUP (standup paddleboarding) lessons.
Cost: R 450 – R 550 (Beginners. Discounts for Groups)
R 160 – R 550 (Advanced. Discounts for Groups)
Tips for Surfing in Cape Town
Do not go alone: If you are a beginner and do not have much experience, it is always better to take someone else with you. Accidents can happen anytime in surfing. Also, do not attempt intermediate or advanced surf spots until you grasp the basics.
Use Good Wetsuits.: The water of Cape Town’s beaches is famously cold. Wear a good wetsuit to enjoy surfing and not spend your time shivering.
Check the Weather before Surfing.: Cape Town's weather can change quickly, which can greatly affect the swell. Hence, you should always check the weather conditions before you begin surfing. Look specifically for off-shore winds when you head into the waves.
Look Out for Sharks.: There is a chance you will encounter sharks while surfing in Cape Town, specifically in the False Bay area. Also, these are Great White sharks. However, they tend to stay in the deeper waters. If they venture into the shallow parts, the ‘Shark Spotters’, a highly efficient organization that looks out for these animals, will warn you. Heed these warnings, and you will be pretty safe.
From gentle and pleasant breaks for first-timers to mammoth waves for daredevils and thrill-seekers, the many beaches of Cape Town provide perfect surf spots for all. Just stay safe and have fun!