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Beaches, Cape Town's insider take:

Denizens of Cape Town are spoiled with so many beach option. The water, though, can make or break an outing, as the Atlantic-side beaches are freezing, while the water on the Indian Ocean side is often quite warm. However, the Atlantic seaboard beaches are more image-conscious (read: social types wearing the latest fashion bikinis), whereas the Indian Ocean beaches are more welcoming to diverse visitors. Keep in mind that the Indian Ocean side loses the sun as early as 3:30 in the winter, as it drops behind the mountains, while the Atlantic seaboard beaches have incredible sunsets—best seen from Camps Bay beach. Sand is usually clean and white. A few words of caution regarding the water: Because there is an undertow, it's important to swim where a lifeguard can see you. Shark watchers scan the waves on the Muizenberg side of the peninsula (scene of most recent shark attacks) for great white sharks, and you'll do well to watch for their flags—a black flag with a picture of a shark on it means get out of the water immediately.

A more sedate option is a visit to Boulders Beach, in Simonstown. One of Cape Town's best beaches, it has secluded swimming coves but is now overrun with Jackass penguins that nest on the shoreline. They are charming, but also smell a bit strong. The palm-lined beach at Camps Bay is easy to get to and close to bars and restaurants, whereas Clifton's four beaches and Llandudno each take a bit of a walk. Bloubergstrand is the beach with the most famous postcard view of Table Mountain—but it's windy.

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