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Fish Hoek Beach

With the southern corner protected from southeasters by Elsie's Peak, this sandy beach attracts retirees and families with young kids, who appreciate the calm, clear water—it may be the safest swimming beach in the Cape, although sharks are sighted fairly regularly in the bay between September and March (though that doesn't stop people from swimming, surfing, and Boogie boarding here); shark spotters are employed to keep an eye out. The middle and northern end of the beach are also popular with catamaran sailors and windsurfers, who often stage regattas offshore. The snorkeling is good, and it's a great beach for Boogie boarding. It's also one of the best places to see whales during calving season—approximately August to November—though there have been whale sightings as early as June and as late as January. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: surfing; walking; windsurfing; swimming.

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