• Much of South Africa's coastline now fall in coronavirus hotspot zones, making most beach visits illegal.
  • But two far-flung districts are not on the hotspot list, and they feature some spectacular beaches.
  • These are some of the beaches you can still legally visit under South Africa's adjusted Level 3 lockdown.
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Only a few beaches are still open to the general public in South Africa – but they're not bad.

On Tuesday South Africa entered an adjusted Level 3 lockdown which, along with the declaration of hotspots covering most of the coastline, shut down beach access across vast swathes of the country.

See also | You can still go to the beach in South Africa – but only in these two far-flung districts

There is a way to visit other beaches. But for normal access and use of a beach, you'll have to go to the Namaqualand District in the Northern Cape bordering on Namibia, or to KwaZulu-Natal’s Umkhanyakude District on the other side of the country, just south of Mozambique.

Here are some of the beaches in the Northern Cape still open to normal use.

Hondeklipbaai Beach

The trawler Aristea was built in 1934 in Scotland,
Hondeklipbaai Beach in Hondeklip Bay is free to visit. (Getty)

The fishing village of Hondeklipbaai is nearly always quiet, even when travel is not limited by a pandemic. It’s a six hour drive from Cape Town International airport, but you don't have to go all that way just for a walk on the beach. You can also visit the Namaqua National Park an hour away (don't forget to book), or take a scenic drive on the West Coast’s N7 route.

A highlight is the picturesque shipwreck off the beach, where many fish, crustaceans, and marine plant species live. It landed there in 1945, when it ran aground on its way to Port Nolloth

Kleinzee Beach

Kleinzee beach view (Source: Kleinzee Guest House)

Kleinzee beach is located higher up Western coast. The ivory-sand beach makes for a fun day of building sandcastles and is also perfect for lazy strolls across its shores.

Its water is on the colder side though; in summer, Kleinzee Beach’s temperatures typically average 16.6°.

It’ll take you a 90 minutes’ drive to get to Springbok, the largest town in Namaqualand, if you want to go exploring inland.

Alexander Bay Beach

Alexander Bay
Alexandar Bay sea view in Little Namaqualand (Image:

The Alexander beach is on the mouth of the Orange river, right on the border with Namibia. It has walking and hiking trails around its sand river banks and around the Alexander Bay area.

It’s known for its natural attractions and is perfect cool dips on hot days, paddling and kayaking. (Be warned, daytime temperatures can get boiling.)

The Port Nolloth Beach 

Port Nolloth at the mouth of the Orange River in (Getty)

The Port Nolloth Beach also known as the Grazia de Beer Beachfront has small waves which make it ideal for paddle and body boarding and is generally popular for swimming. Its rock pools make it ideal for the whole family. It also has a rocky stretch of coastline which extends for about 2kms, and big reefs for divers.

McDougall's Bay

McDougall's Bay
McDougall's Bay 7km away from Port Nolloth Beach. (Image: Travel Ground)

McDougalls Bay’s beach has Blue Flag status, and is one of Northern Cape’s best spots for windsurfing, kayaking, jetskiing, and bodysurfing. It’s relatively pristine with well-kept facilities, including braai amenities.

The waters are chilly given it’s on the Atlantic Ocean but it’s a great for sandcastle-building, birding, and reading.

And this is where you could go in the Umkhanyakude District in KwaZulu-Natal, for some of the most unspoilt beaches in the country.

Mabibi Beach

Thonga Beach
Mabibi Beach (Image: Thonga Beach Lodge)

Mabibi Beach is surrounded by a coastal forest. Its waters are warm and clear, and visitors can enjoy a day of snorkelling or scuba diving.

It’s a free-to-visit beach secluded in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

It’s a four hour drive from King Shaka International airport outside Durban, and a bit over seven hours traveling from Johannesburg.

Kosi Bay

October, 6th, 2018. Kosi Bay, KwaZulu Natal, South
The shores on the coastline of Kosi Bay beach, KwaZulu Natal. (Getty)

Kosi Bay Beach, located in Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, is a sandy beach on the border between South Africa and Mozambique.

Visitors may spot turtles, which are frequent in the summer.

You could take a boat trip to see dolphins and whales, and there is some great snorkelling on the reefs.

Sodwana Bay Beach

Early morning scene on the beautiful beach at Sod
Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve in Northern Kwazulu Natal. (Getty)

Sodwana Bay Beach is also in iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. The water is warm, averaging 24°C and is clear, which makes spotting the reefs easy.

Fishing is a great option. Other activities include kitesurfing, ocean tours, snorkelling, scuba diving, and spearfishing.

The beach is almost three hours from Richard’s Bay.

Lala Nek Beach

Lala Nek Beach
Lala Nek Beach (Image: Umhlabuyalingana Municipality)

While no permit is needed to visit Lala Nek, the beach only permits a few vehicles. It has a 10 km sandy strip through the bush that leads to it and is surrounded by a coastal bush.

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