Camps Bay travel guide
Camps Bay beach is long, soft and wide, edged with palm trees along the main road. It sits under the folds of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, just fifteen minutes’ drive from the city centre on the way to Hout Bay. Unlike some of Cape Town’s other beaches, Camps Bay has easy access to shops and restaurants, just across the road. These shiny chic restaurants are packed in summer with beautiful people, celebrities and young people out for a good time. Right next door is Glen Beach, where surfers go at all times of the day and in all weather. Behind the main strip, climbing up the hill, you’ll see huge mansions owned by both the local and international elite.
But there’s another side to the suburb. Because it’s an old, lived-in part of town, Camps Bay manages to be family friendly as well as trendy. The beach is clean and accessible for kids, the sea is usually gentle and there are some great rocks to explore. If you wander the back roads, moving further uphill, you find a quieter, more villagey atmosphere. You’ll come across some small historic houses, a lovely little fairy glen and of course, you’ll eventually walk right onto the mountain. From there you can clearly see the whole of Camps Bay, its curved white beach, and beyond.
In summer, Camps Bay is the ultimate fun busy place. In winter you have more breathing room but less of a scene. You can choose which is your thing, or, if you can get it right, come in spring or autumn when you get the perfect dose of good weather, good vibe and space. Whatever time you can be there, Camps Bay is a great choice for a base in Cape Town, as it is not only charming and social but a short drive away from Sea Point, the City Bowl and Waterfront.
Fabulous things to do around Camps Bay:
- Walk to Clifton – no need to find parking in that notoriously difficult spot. Down the stairs and you feel completely away from the world on one of Clifton’s four stunning beaches.
- Theatre on the Bay – Pieter Toerien’s intimate theatre puts on some great shows and comedy acts.
- Picnic in a forest glen – near the Round House restaurant is a quiet forest with a river. Also off small Blinkwater Road there is a small pretty glen with stone tables for a picnic.
- Table Mountain - a ten-minute drive takes you to the foot of Table Mountain. From here you can do any number of walks, ranging from easy to difficult. Or you could take the revolving cable car to the top of Table Mountain and have lunch at the the restaurant.
- Lion’s Head and Signal Hill – opposite Table Mountain you can do some great climbs and walks. A sunset picnic on Signal Hill is always magic, or sign up for some paragliding off Lion’s Head.
- City bowl - Coming down Lion’s Head or Table Mountain, you are minutes away from the old and atmospheric suburbs of Tamboerskloof and Oranjezicht with their Cape Dutch houses and leafy streets. Walk or drive into the city centre from here as it’s a short leap away.
A little further afield you’ll find:
- Hout Bay and beyond - Drive to hippie Hout Bay with its beautiful harbour and beach. Then take the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive over to Noordhoek and the False Bay coast, with Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simonstown as great stops.
- Sea Point - Walk along the seaside promenade with its arty benches and sculptures. You can also rent bicycles outside the Pavilion. Along the way towards the Waterfront you will pass the Green Point Urban Park, a lovely landscaped green space, with a kids’ playground, a lake and paths bordered with labelled plants for some eco-education.
- V & A Waterfront – At the Mouille Point end of the promenade you’ll find one of the most beautifully situated shopping and entertainment complexes in the world. Edging a pretty harbour with Table Mountain behind, the Waterfront is full of shops, markets, eating places, boat rides and seals.
- Robben Island - The Waterfront is also the gateway to Robben Island, where you can tour the prison and quarry and learn the story of Nelson Mandela and his comrades during the struggle against apartheid.