Surfing Muizenberg Beach Around Cape Town

Muizenberg Cape Town South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

What’s it like surfing Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach in the winter? Not as cold as I thought it would be! My surfing road trip update from South Africa.

After two weeks of intense surfing in Cape Town, I’m already seeing a huge improvement in my technique. The surfing at Muizenberg has been a lot of fun, with plenty of waves for everyone to practice on. In fact they never seem to stop!

This is the reason why Muizenberg Beach is considered by many to be one of the best places in the world for learning how to surf.

Muizenberg Beach Warm Up

Surfing At Muizenberg

My surf adventure began in Cape Town, where I spent 12 days surfing on and off with instructors. We learned how to paddle into waves, proper positioning to catch them, how to pop up onto the board, correct stance, the basics of turning, and how to stay safe.

The abundant practice time really helped me improve. We’d usually have a lesson in the morning followed by free surfing in the afternoon almost every day.

The ocean was a chilly 62 degrees (17C), so wetsuits are required. But surfing Cape Town in the winter is not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.

A decent 4/3 wetsuit will keep you warm enough during a 2 hour session.

Paddling Muizenberg Beach

Surfing Cape Town South Africa

Great White Sharks

The water around Cape Town, specifically False Bay, is notorious for its abundance of Great White Sharks. However it’s important to note that just because they’re around doesn’t mean surfing in the ocean here is deadly.

Do attacks happen? Yes. But compared to the number of people in the water every year, shark attacks are an extremely rare occurrence. I wasn’t worried about them. The fact is, your bathtub is more likely to kill you.

Muizenberg beach has a shark warning system in place, with spotters located at high lookout points. If a shark is seen nearby, the water is cleared until it swims away from the area.

Cage diving with great white sharks is a very popular activity around Cape Town. Some friends went cage diving in False Bay while we were there.

It’s a spectacular experience to see these powerful animals up close!

Shark Diving South Africa

Funny Penguins & Table Mountain

Surfing wasn’t the only activity I enjoyed in Cape Town though. We also spent an afternoon hanging out with the African penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach. The area is part of Table Mountain National Park, and you can walk along raised wooden platforms right next to families of cute penguins.

The African Penguin is endangered, and Boulder’s Beach gives you a very unique opportunity to view these birds in a natural environment. If you’re lucky, you can even get pretty close to them! Just don’t touch, they like to bite.

We also hiked up Cape Town’s most famous landmark, the majestic Table Mountain. This short but steep hike takes 2-3 hours, and the views at the top are fabulous. Provided it isn’t too cloudy…

However a blanket of fast-moving clouds below you can be interesting too.

Penguins Boulder's Beach South Africa

Table Mountain Cape Town

Volunteering With Waves For Change

One of the highlights of my surfing adventure so far has been volunteering with the Waves For Change project. This outstanding charity is helping to build stronger & safer communities by teaching kids to surf.

They use surfing to recruit the most-vulnerable youth from poverty & violence stricken townships into a program that offers social, educational, and health support these kids desperately need.

We spent a day surfing with kids from Khayelitsha Township. Teaching young ones the basics, and trying to keep up with the more experienced surfers among them.

If you’re going to be around Cape Town and want to help out, definitely contact them. It’s a wonderful organization doing great things.

Waves for Change South Africa

Cape Town Surfing

Planning a surfing trip to Cape Town? The area has an abundance of accessible surf spots for surfers of all levels. Here are a few popular local breaks for beginner & intermediate surfers.

Muizenberg

Muizenberg is one of the best breaks for beginner surfers in the world. It’s located on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Town, so the water is a bit warmer than other spots in the area. However it’s still cold. A 4/3 wetsuit is recommended. It often has long, gentle, and frequent waves. A beach break with a sandy bottom. This makes it an ideal place to learn the basics of surfing. Waves can break all over the place though, both left and right.

Long Beach

While we never made it over to Long Beach, it’s known to be a nice intermediate wave with slightly more power than those at Muizenberg. You can find it near Kommetjie, a suburb of Cape Town. The wave is a bit more sheltered, also with a sandy bottom, and very popular with surfers. It can break both right and left, more frequently left though.

Watch Video: Surfing Cape Town, South Africa


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More Information

Location: Cape Town, South Africa [Map] Accommodation: Bailey’s Surf Shack
Useful Tips: Seriously people, stop freaking out about sharks. You’re more likely to be killed by a dog. I know JAWS was a scary film, but your fears are not based in reality.

UPDATE: Yes, I just heard about the recent shark attack at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg. It was a freak and unfortunate coincidence. Before that, there hadn’t been an attack in Muizenberg since 2006. Countless people have been swimming & surfing there for 8 years with no problems.

Have you ever tried surfing before? Did you enjoy it?

24 Comments

  1. Didn’t have time to head to The Cape this past June… travels swept me over to Victoria Falls & Kruger on my 1st trip to South Africa. No regrets. Just another reason to go back – cage diving & penguins. Although, when it comes to surfing, you can leave the wetsuit at home if you come visit my slice of paradise – Oahu, Hawaii. That is… if, you get bit by the surf bug?!

  2. Excellent post. I have been enjoying the photos on Instagram, so I had to check out the post. I have always wanted to give surfing a shot. I am a pretty decent skier with good balance, so I think I would be able to learn quickly. I am inspired by this post to learn surfing and visit South Africa. I am sure the shark danger is much like hiking with bears. They happen but the possibility is remote, although I am now a little hesitant about getting in my bathtub. Any tips to stay safe there?

    1. That’s a great analogy Ted! Exactly like bears. They’re out there, but most people will never have an encounter with them.

      For bathtub safety, always use a rubber mat for extra traction. And keep the bathtub beers to a minimum. :-)

  3. This looks so awesome. I’ve been surfing a few times, but I would love the chance to give it more of a go. And Cape Town? Looks incredible. I really really want to get there soon! Sharks and penguins? Bring them on!

  4. I’ve never tried surfing but that sure looks like a lot of fun. I’ve never even thought of taking surf lessons before because I am not the most coordinated person on the planet… but from watching your video it looks like he knows his stuff, so now I’m encouraged to try it. Putting it on my “must do” list.

    1. Today I watched a 65+ year old man surf Super Tubes, a famous and pretty dangerous break in Jeffrey’s Bay. If he can do that, I’m pretty sure you can learn the basics Linda! :-)

  5. Fun! I keenly remember how you can see a line form between the two oceans where you are at the tip of Africa. It’s like you pointed out, because the Indian Ocean is warmer than the pacific, the colors are noticeably different where they meet. Magical! I was just too wimpy to try surfing on the Indian ocean side as there had just been a shark incident when I was there and I’m a magnet for things always happening to me. That’s why I don’t skydive, bungee jump or scuba dive. The rest of adventure…sure…bring it on.

    1. I lived in Australia where there were great white shark lookouts all along the coast. They know what they are doing. We only hear about great white attacks because they are so rare. I’m far more worried about bull sharks, which can also thrive in fresh water; they are far more aggressive and have even been known to travel as far up the Mississippi River as Illinois.

    2. Don’t worry about the sharks Ed. Getting bitten is as likely as you winning the lottery. Or getting struck by lightning. Sure it’s a big deal when it happens, but for 99.9999% of us, it never will.

    1. The main beach area has raised wooden platforms to walk on, but the penguins are right next to you. There is also a small lagoon you can swim in, and sometimes the penguins will swim there too.

      A long board is definitely the way to start surfing.

  6. Looks like a lot of fun! I think I would be scared of sharks here just because many of the attack stories I hear happen here, and I would LOVE to see a penguin in the wild.

    1. You always hear about the super rare shark attack because it makes for good news, but never about the many thousands of people surfing or swimming in those waters on a regular basis who are fine.

    1. With an instructor, and plenty of practice time, you can get good quick. The problem is most people think they can learn by themselves in a day. While I’ve surfed before, one member of the group, Chris, was completely new yet he was up riding waves by himself on the 2nd day.

      It took me much longer than that trying to teach myself, and I’m learning now that I was doing things wrong. It’s not an easy sport to master. A few lessons will help big time.

      1. Yeah, I think it’s definitely one of those sports where it’s best to get someone professional to show you the ropes. It’s kind of like skiing – I’m sure some people manage to teach themselves, but they’re probably doing it all wrong! Thanks for the advice.

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