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best pet-friendly beaches in cape town

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Cape Town

South Africa is home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the entire world, and you haven’t experienced beauty until you’ve watched the sun setting on the waves – and dug sand out of places that you didn’t know you had… Our dogs love the beach just as much as we do, but not all of South Africa’s beaches are dog-friendly. If you want to take your dog to the beach, it’s always best to check whether the beach is dog-friendly or not before you make the trip.

Cape Town is home to 72 of South Africa’s beaches, with only some of them willing to accommodate your furry friends for a day out.

Cape Town Has Strict Doggie Bylaws

Cape Town has quite a few bylaws about dogs. Before you head out to the beach, or even own a dog, we encourage all pet owners to inform themselves about the local bylaws. If certain laws are contravened, it could cost you your dog. This is the city’s official position on dogs, and it tells you more about important things related to dog ownership, including rules on noise disturbance and picking up your dog’s waste during a walk.

Read the full animal bylaws for Cape Town.

Which Beach is Which?

Check the status of the beach you’ll be going to before you arrive; in most cases, it can save you a long roundabout trip, and it might even save you from a fine – yes, you can be heavily fined for going against Cape Town bylaws, even if you didn’t know it at the time.

Fines of up to R2, 000 can be imposed on dog owners who don’t keep their dogs on a leash, and the city has warned that animals considered unruly or dangerous could be muzzled or impounded if someone is injured as a result. Even if your dog isn’t aggressive, know how they react with other dogs before you let them loose on a beach.

In addition, there are some beaches that will only allow dogs during certain times of the day or year. These beaches include Camps Bay, Big Bay (Tableview), Llandudno, and Three Anchor Bay.

Beaches where Dogs on Leashes are Allowed

These beaches are for those amongst us who have reactive or fearful dogs, but still want them to have a good time at the beach without worry that some other dog will approach them. These are Cape Town’s beaches where only only dogs on leashes are allowed. Although there are rules about being on-leash, we have on occasion witnessed those that break the rules, so we do urge you to take a look to see if anyone is not obeying the law before you head out.

Capricorn Beach, Muizenberg – a magnificent stretch of white sandy beach adjacent to a 16 hectare residential estate.

Danger Beach, Kalk Bay – a quiet beach situated close to St. James train station. It’s a small strip of beach that is accessed through a subway beneath the railway.

Milton beach, Sea Point – a mix of sand and crushed shells with a large tidal pool, situated alongside the Sea-Point promenade. Wear shoes if you’re headed to the water, and check your dog’s paws for any cuts – the shells can be quite sharp. You can take your dog for a nice long walk on the promenade (but be warned sections are leash-free!) and then go for a nice walk on the beach.

Nine Miles, Kommetjie – Exactly what it sounds like. A long stretch of white sandy beaches, but very popular amongst surfers and horse riders alike! Be sure to keep your pooch on a steady leash, especially when the horse riders come galloping past.

Milnerton Beach, Milnerton – although technically an on-leash beach, we’ve seen so many people disobey this law, and there are more off-leash dogs than those on leashes.

Leash-free Dog Beaches

These Cape Town beaches allow dogs without leashes:

Clifton 1st, Cape Town – a popular favourite to watch the sunset. Clifton 1st is the only beach there that allows dogs at all sizes, making this one the go-to place for after-work walks, playtime, and pet bonding.

Froggy Pond, Simons Town – a small beach that, thanks to being sheltered from the pounding surf and wind, has become known and loved as a swimming beach.

Witsands Beach, Melkbosstrand – Vast stretches of soft, white sand – the perfect beach for long walks. Bonus is that there are many pet-friendly restaurants too!
Dolphin Beach – Table View – long, wide open stretches, stunning views, and convenient proximity to dog-friendly restaurants and pubs, but keep an eye on the weather as the wind can get rough! This beach is also a firm favourite of kite-surfers, so keep an eye on your dog that they don’t entangle themselves in the kite chords!

Sunset Beach, Blaauwberg – A great beach with soft sand and gorgeous views over Table Mountain. This is quite a popular beach especially with dog parents and surfers alike!
and certain sections of Hout Bay Beach.

General Rules of the Beach

Cape Town’s dog-friendly beaches also have a few general rules of the beach to abide by no matter which beach you find yourself at. Some of this should be common sense, and you should always leave the beach in a considerably better condition than you found it – it’s just the right thing to do.

To make your experience a more pleasant one, make sure you pay attention to the basic rules of the beach, and use some of these tips to make the experience as fun as it should be.

  • Always carry a few spare plastic bags.
    Pet owners can be fined a considerable amount of money if they don’t pick up their dog’s waste on the beach. Always carry a few spare plastic bags for when your dog has to do their thing; you’ll also want to carry a scoop and some hand sanitizer.
  • Remember to bring water.
    Always hydrate, and make sure your pets can do the same. Just remember to take along a few bottles of mineral water and a bowl for your pets.
  • Bring a leash.
    While not all of Cape Town’s beaches require a leash for your dogs, it’s a good idea to make sure you always have one around, especially when your dog gets very excited to see other people or dogs about.
  • Train your dog to listen.
    Dog-training is essential, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort: It’s about associating actions with words or hand signals – and rewarding them when they get it right with a smile, a pat and a treat. You can train your dogs to run right back to you with a simple click, pat or wave of the hand. It makes playing catch less of a one-sided affair, and you know that your dogs won’t run off too far at the beach.
  • Keep an eye on your dog
    Keep an eye on your dog to make sure they’re not ruining someone else’s beach day. You might think it’s cute that your dog likes to play Godzilla and stomp on your sandcastles, but someone else might not.

Find any beaches that is simply a must-do and not on our Cape Town Dog Friendly Beaches list? Let us know in the comments!

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