If Cape Town is the Miami of South Africa, then Camps Bay is its South Beach. Flanked by a handsome palm tree-lined beach on one side and a glittering stretch of bars, cafés and restaurants on the other, it’s a magnet for Cape Town’s chic set. A scenic seven-minute drive along the coast from The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, here’s where to discover the highlights of Camps Bay.
One of the most popular shores in Cape Town is Camps Bay Beach. This broad stretch of chalky sand ribbons between the Atlantic and a flock of palm trees, behind which bristle the abovementioned bars and restaurants. While the beach is undoubtedly gorgeous, it’s rare to find a quiet corner here. For a more tranquil option, Clifton’s four beaches a little further along the coast are each spectacular and, accessed by a steep descent from the clifftop road, much less populated. Each cove draws a unique clientele, from easy-going, family-friendly picnickers on 1st Beach, to immaculately groomed models and a style-conscious gay community on 2nd and 3rd Beaches, and an eye-wateringly cool crowd on 4th Beach.
The joy of cocktails in Camps Bay is that every establishment along the sea-facing strip is guaranteed to delight. Every terrace is tastefully finished, every menu inspires, every cocktail is immaculately muddled. Where, then, to settle? The key criteria here is securing a table with a view. Victoria Road is known as the Sunset Strip, after all, and its bars serve a very photogenic sundowner. Mynt Café, with its rustic décor and killer Chilli Ginger Mojitos, is rather lovely when you can get a seat, while Café Caprice a little further along serves an excellent range of classic favourites.
It’ll come as no surprise that restaurants in Camps Bay plate some excellent seafood. As with the cocktails, the food along Victoria Road is very good, with Paranga an excellent choice that’s right in the heart of the action. Try the beautifully seasoned baby squid, while the sushi is a perennially popular pick here. Consult any guide to Camps Bay, and The Azure outranks all for its fine-dining menu, beautiful décor and spectacular views out over the Atlantic. Set apart from the bustle of Camps Bay, these cool interiors offer a sophisticated retreat for the discerning diner.
While Camps Bay is notable more for its spectacular beaches and bars than for its shopping, the area harbours a tasteful scattering of boutiques to satisfy those seeking a souvenir. Out of this World is stocked with a bijou collection of antique bronzes, carved masks and rare jewellery sourced from the length and breadth of Africa. A few minutes along the coast is a more down-to-earth alternative at the Camps Bay African Craft Market. This selection of beaded bowls, carved curios and bold printed fabrics has plenty to fill a suitcase. Outdoorsy types, meanwhile, will enjoy the many hiking options in the area, including the Pipe Track. Excellently signposted, it starts above Camps Bay and offers magnificent panoramas of the beaches and the 12 Apostles.
Red Carnation Hotels’ The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is a scenic seven-minute drive from Cape Town’s Camps Bay.