As you head south along the West Coast road (R27) towards Cape Town, the first sign of the city – apart from the view of Table Mountain in the distance – is the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. Next is Melkbos, the furthest northern suburb of Cape Town on the coast. For our purposes, it marks the end of the West Coast, and the beginning of Table Bay, which ends at the harbour in the southern corner of the bay.


Van Riebeeckstrand

Fickle beach break in Melkbos (north of Ou Skip Caravan Park). Mushy but can be good fun. Best in light northeast winds and small swell.


Also called Beach Road, this is a good right-hand sandbar point break in Melkbos. It is protected by an outer reef. Works in light southwest or southeast winds and big groundswell. The outside is best at low tide. The inside cooks on the high tide.

Shark Bay

Sometimes called Captains. Fickle reef/sand set-up in Melkbos area. Best in light southeast or northeast with right sandbars. Best in clean two- to four-foot groundswell. Gets out of control easily.


Between Haakgat and Melkbos along a dust road near some small dunes you will find fun sandbar peaks when light easterly winds are blowing and a small groundswell is running.


Parallel to the beach about 30 metres out is a sectiony left point, inconsistent and exposed with a boiling reef section that works strictly at high tide only. Check out the A-frame rights across a line of rocks that end at Haakgat. Difficult to ride, but powerful. A proper wave.

Kreefte Reef

Bowling right-hander that breaks on the outside when big. Medium west swell and low tide. The inside left-hander works on smaller swell.

Derde Steen

Good-quality beach break near Blouberg. Needs glassy to light northeast and two- to five-foot west swell. Gets super-hollow and superlative.

Tweede Steen

Derde Steen’s poor cousin, twice removed. Fickle and lacking the same quality, but gets fun.

Eerste Steen

Hollow peaking beach break on the coast road between Melkbos and Blouberg. Same old. West swell, light northeast.

{mosimage} TABLEVIEW: Some suburbs have literal meanings.

Horse Trails

A nearby estate belonging to racehorse trainer Terence Millard used to have its own traffic light for grooms to take horses across the road. Hollow A-frames break on sand in small swell up to five foot.

Kamer van Sewentien

Left, sandy point on the other side of the rocks at the end of Big Bay. Sectiony. Works in moderate southeast or calm day. Best at low tide in a medium swell.

Big Bay

Windy beach break popular with sailboarders. Big A-frames break on the outside, then reform before hitting the shore break. Can be good banks here, but get s crowded. Best in light berg winds. Can be disorganised and messy. One of few west-facing spots that can handle a northwest, but not more than 15 knots.

Little Bay

Marginal beach break. Breeding ground for (human) rats. Soft sand peaks.


Deep outer sandbars break in bigger swell, while the shore break sandbanks break on the reform or can be a stand-alone wave when smaller. Must be glassy or light northeast. Crowded, but lots of peaks, varying in quality and length of ride. Difficult to catch due to an irregular reform that sometimes waits for the shore break before it breaks.

Sunset Beach

Scattered beach breaks at a relatively new suburb called Sunset. Mostly fickle, but can get good in light northeast and solid eight-foot ocean groundswell, which means shifty four- to five-foot peaks here. At best, a long walling right. Needs northeast berg winds.


The closer to the city you go, the smaller the swell as the Cape Peninsula closes out the swell window. Milnerton is famous for its market, not its waves. Long stretch of empty beach best in a huge groundswell in glassy or light to moderate easterlies.


Fickle wave that gets good on occasion at the mouth of the Milnerton lagoon. Best at high tide and big, clean west swell and light berg or southeast winds. Not the kind of wave that is actively sought out.

The Wedge

Tucked in the corner at the foot of the harbour breakwater, The Wedge is hard to access. You used to be able to park in the harbour and clamber over the concrete dolose but the US Government terrorism strategy resulted in closure of the harbour to recreational users. You have to walk in, and you’re still likely to be ejected by overzealous security. Swells bounce off the wall and travel sideways to join other swells in a sharp triangular peak that can be super-hollow. The take-off is often the best part of the wave, with a soft shoulder beyond. Best in mild east wind. Needs a huge general swell to filter into the corner.

Madiba’s Left

This world-class left-hand reef on the ocean side of Robben Island honours Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years on the island. Only a handful have surfed it because the island is a restricted area. Needs a long-period six- to eight-foot southwest swell to start breaking, and holds up to 15 foot. Needs light northeast winds on any tides. Long rides when the swell is big.


Cape Town

The splendour of Cape Point hit Sir Francis Drake like a cannonball when he rounded it in the 16th century. Now we know why jealous Gautengers call Cape Town ‘Slaapstad’ (sleep town) in Afrikaans. Drake must have been struck by that cannonball, and Capetonians have inherited the numbness he felt. Compared to fast-paced Johannesburg, Kaapstad (Cape Town) is dozy. Nestling in a triangulated valley between Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak, some say magnetic ley lines have woven an almost narcotic web of lethargy around the city. Cape Town lies on the northern slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking Table Bay. Beyond the City Bowl lies a vast urban sprawl populated by more than three million people. The Cape Town metro area stretches up the west coast to Melkbos, and across the Cape Flats towards Sir Lowry’s Pass. The modern world and the old world form a kaleidoscope of cultures: from the Bokaap of the Muslim community; past the plush suburbs of Bantry Bay, Clifton, Constantia and Bishopscourt; out to the sprawling townships of Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Langa. Table Mountain is not just the landmark you see hunched over the city. It is the northern face of a wide mountain slab that separates the Southern Suburbs from the Western Seaboard, tapering into a twisting, rocky spine that culminates in Cape Point, separating False Bay from the open ocean. There are 75 ocean breaks within a 45-minute drive around the Cape Peninsula, from bone-crunching reefs and hollow beach breaks to mellow sloping sandbanks. For the purposes of this guide, we have divided the coast of the greater Cape Town area into Table Bay, the Western Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, the western side of the South Peninsula, and the False Bay coast, all the way from Cape Point to Cape Hangklip, the eastern sentinel that guards the protected waters of the bay.

{mosimage} CLEAN GREEN: Even a two-foot wave is fun at Big Bay, Bloubergstrand.

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