December beach holidays are a South African staple, but there’s no denying that the crowds make lounging in the sun significantly more stressful than it should be.
Luckily, there’s a solution. Avoid the fuss of the festive season and hit the beaches in January instead! Not only will you have the sandy shores primarily to yourself, but you’re also bound to save on holiday accommodation and activity expenses.
Wondering if it’s worth it to wait? We answer some of your most frequently asked questions below and provide a round-up of our preferred suppliers, promising a heavenly beachside escape – no matter when you choose to visit.
What’s the weather like in January?
Thankfully, January is still full-blown summer, so temperatures shouldn’t differ much from those in December. Popular coastal regions, like Cape Town, Durban, and the Wild Coast, remain sunny and blissful.
Are there any less crowded beaches to visit during the festive season?
Some beaches are certainly more popular and busier than others. But you’re bound to fight for space no matter which beach you visit during the festive season. That said, some slightly less-crowded options include:
- Port St. Johns Beach
- Diaz Beach
- Noetzie Beach
- Mabibi Beach
- Platboom Beach
- Robberg Beach
Are prices cheaper when booking a January beach holiday?
Generally, yes – especially if booking in advance. Prices usually remain high for the first week of January but tend to start reducing from the second week onwards.
Are water activities still available in January?
Yes. Even though it’s generally considered shoulder season from mid-January for most beaches, it’s still possible to book various water activities, such as scuba diving, kite surfing, and snorkelling. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Our top beach holiday accommodation suppliers
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
Where? De Hoop Nature Reserve (approximately a three-hour drive from Cape Town) – built on a 6 km stretch of white-sand coastline.
Accommodation: Seven ocean-view suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Family-friendly? Yes, but only for children from six years old. The lodge offers a family unit with a second loft bedroom and shared open-plan vanity and shower. Families should note, however, that the lodge swimming pool is unfenced, and there is no lifeguard on duty at the pool or on the beach.
Why we love it: Lodge guests enjoy exclusive access to De Hoop Nature Reserve, where you can embark on scenic nature walks, explore rock pools, and stargaze with a telescope.
The Marine Hermanus
Where? Hermanus, South Africa, on the iconic cliff path overlooking Walker Bay.
Accommodation: A choice between standard Double Rooms, Luxury Double Rooms with Sea View, and 10 Premier Suites.
Family-friendly? Yes. Children of all ages are welcome. For a stay with two adults and one child, the travel party must book a second room and will be charged the single rate. On request and subject to availability, an extra bed can be placed in a Premier Suite for a child under the age of 12. Cots are also available at no additional charge, subject to availability.
Why we love it: Along with world-class hospitality, the hotel offers easy access to various family-friendly activities such as penguin spotting, whale watching, horseback riding, and mountain bike trails.
Where? Hout Bay, Cape Town, on a pebbled beach in the shadow of Chapman’s Peak.
Accommodation: Various suites, all inspired by different islands around the world. There’s also the Elba & Corsica Island villa, comprising two island suites.
Family-friendly? Yes. Children of all ages can stay at Tintswalo Atlantic, and children under six stay free. Children six to 11 years old pay 50% of the adult sharing rate, and children 12 years and older pay the full adult rate.
Why we love it: The vibrantly coloured suites are all absolutely stunning and unique, promising a fresh, revitalising aesthetic every time you visit. Team GILTEDGE’s personal favourite is the Robben Island Suite, with gorgeous green, earthy tones and classic African accents.
Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve
Where? Port Alfred, Eastern Cape.
Accommodation: A selection of Lodge, Pool, and Ocean suites. The three Lodge suites are all inspired by local animals you might spot on a game drive within the reserve, while the two Pool suites provide the additional perk of a private plunge pool. The four Ocean suites boast secluded wooden decks with ocean views. There’s also the Private House, accommodating up to six guests.
Family-friendly? Yes. The Lodge suites are perfectly suited to families, with a king-sized bed, a sleeper couch, and camp cots available for kids. The Private House is also great for family and multigenerational getaways.
Why we love it: The reserve offers SA residents preferential rates. It’s also a firm favourite because it provides the best of both worlds for classic South African holidays: beach and bush!
Where? Hermanus, South Africa, overlooking Walker Bay.
Accommodation: 11 rooms, located in three separate houses. The rooms include standard, luxury, superior, and deluxe superior options, most of which boast picturesque views of the ocean.
Family-friendly? No. Only children 12 years and older are allowed unless booked on an exclusive-use basis.
Why we love it: This breezy boutique beach house setting has it all – beachfront access, complimentary parking and Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, and in-room TVs.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Where? Gansbaai – less than a two-hour drive from Cape Town and about a 30-minute drive from Hermanus, where the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic merge.
Accommodation: Two private villas are available in addition to two peaceful lodges. Forest Lodge is the largest of the two, with 16 freestanding suites, while Garden Lodge has 11.
Family-friendly? Yes. Garden Lodge has a reputation for being child-centric, offering a forest-themed playroom and exciting kids’ programmes. Some of the lodge’s suites have two bedrooms, ideal for visiting families. The private villas are also suitable for families and multigenerational escapes.
Why we love it: The reserve is an award-winning eco-paradise and a respected global leader in sustainable tourism.
Mantis No5 Boutique Art Hotel
Where? Summerstrand, Gqeberha.
Accommodation: 10 stylish suites, each with a lounge area, air-conditioning, a garden view and a private terrace or balcony. They’re all just a stroll away from the beach.
Family-friendly? While more of a couples’ retreat, children are allowed at Mantis No5 Boutique Art Hotel. Kids under three stay free when sharing with two adults.
Why we love it: The Presidential Suite is the epitome of luxury, with a four-poster King-sized bed and private balcony overlooking the ocean.
The Winchester Boutique Hotel Cape Town
Where? Sea Point, Cape Town – located directly on the iconic Sea Point Promenade.
Accommodation: A mix of luxurious rooms and suites, including loft rooms, mountain- and sea-facing suites, and the exclusive Premium Suite, with views of the promenade.
Family-friendly? Yes. There are two family suites available. Both are mountain-facing, spacious, and have two bedrooms.
Why we love it: The hotel is a 1920s Cape Dutch-style icon and boasts an unbeatable location in one of Cape Town’s trendiest suburbs. It’s also famous for its Bougainvillea-adorned courtyard.
Where? Cape Town, where Lion’s Head meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Accommodation: Various rooms, suites, and villas. The villas accommodate six – 10 guests, making them an excellent choice for group or multigenerational holidays.
Family-friendly? Yes, but there are age restrictions in place. Children of all ages are welcome at Villa One, and children over eight are allowed at Villa Two. Only children over 12 are allowed to stay in the rooms at Ellerman House.
Why we love it: The property features incredible local art and wine collections.
Whether you’re seeking a serene beach escape in January or any other time of the year, Sure GILTEDGE is your go-to for crafting that perfect, bespoke seaside holiday. With our handpicked selection of luxurious beach accommodations, from the vibrant Tintswalo Atlantic in Cape Town to the wildlife-rich Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve, you’re assured an unforgettable experience tailored to your preferences.
Don’t let the festive season crowds dictate your holiday plans. Embrace the tranquillity of off-peak travel and revel in the beauty of South Africa’s coastal gems with us. Contact us today to plan your dream beach holiday – we’re here to make it happen beautifully and seamlessly.