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New Year: on the beach near Somerset West

December 24, 2010

The holiday season continues and what better time to take a trip to the beach?  There are a number of beautiful beaches within easy reach of Somerset West.  A visit to any of these beaches is essentially a family friendly day out that includes fantastic views over False Bay, wonderful swimming opportunities in safe and shallow waters, and rock pools ideal for children.  Take a picnic, beach umbrella and don’t forget the sun cream!

Strand has a long 5km stretch of white, sandy beach ideal for long walks.  A promenade lines the beach which has a good mix of restaurants, cafés and shops.

Strand is an ideal family venue for swimming, sunbathing and a variety of water sports.  Nearby Dune Park has a super tube and mini-golf, and the adjacent Harmony Park features a huge tidal pool.  There is also an Olympic sized heated swimming pool.  Fishing, surfing and wind surfing are very popular here.  The Pipe is a specially designated surfing area, famous for its good waves.

Gordon’s bay is another safe swimming beach with wonderful sheltered rock pools great for exploring and paddling.  Fishing from the rocks and the old harbour wall is a popular pastime with locals and visitors alike.  Pleasure trips on yachts and cruisers are available from the two harbours and boats for sea fishing may be chartered.  Sea kayaking is also a popular pastime and canoes and kayaks are available for hire.

Visitors can browse around the curio and gift shops dotted along the beach front for unusual crafts.  Restaurants offer a wide choice of culinary delights with the emphasis on seafood, with most enjoying sea views.  Take-away outlets are popular and cater for all tastes, from pizzas to hamburgers to hot fish and chips.

Bikini beach is one of Cape Town’s Blue Flag Beaches, which means it has a high level of water quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety.  A small, sheltered sandy beach, it is popular for sunbathing and is excellent for swimming as the water is usually warm, calm and clear.  Surrounded by the craggy Hottentot’s Holland mountain range on one side and the harbour breakwater on the other, Bikini Beach is a good option when the wind is blowing.

From Bikini beach you have a fabulous view of the entire False Bay which curves in a huge arc from Gordon’s Bay right round to Cape Point at its western-most extremity.  The shops are not far away and there are good changing room facilities.

Kogel Bay, some 10 minutes away on the coastal road towards Rooi Els, is one of the most scenic beaches in Africa. This is a surfer hotspot; currents can be strong and swimming is not advised.  This is a favourite picnic spot, with braai facilities available.  Excellent for long walks, it has a long stretch of white sand and a couple of exciting caves.  A fee is payable at the vehicle entrance.

A little further along the coast are the popular fishing and picnic spots of Klippies Bay and Sparks Bay day camps, both of which are free and have braai facilities for day visitors.  This stretch of coast is a good whale-watching area in the season (June to November), and is part of the Kogelberg biosphere reserve.

Of course, if you prefer something gentler for relaxing and cooling off, you can relax with a drink by the swimming pool at Penny Lane Lodge.


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