Clifton is an exclusive residential area just beyond Bantry Bay and before Camps Bay, in Cape Town Western Cape. It is home to some of the most expensive real estate in South Africa and features dwellings nestled on cliffs with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Clifton is seen as a trendy area and is a favourite tourist destination both locally and internationally.
Clifton has four beaches, which are named from 1st to 4th. The beaches are separated by huge granite boulders and have soft white granitic sand with calm, turquoise water. Clifton’s beaches are well protected from the wind by the Lion’s Head mountain, which makes it very popular with bathers. A fifth beach called Moses Beach, appears and disappears as the sand is washed in and out with the seasons. The beaches are at their widest in late summer, allowing for easy pedestrian movement along the waterline, from beach to beach.
Although the water is chilly, Clifton plays host to a variety of water sports with surfing being the most popular. The strongest surf is at First beach, diminishing to Fourth beach where it is the weakest. Fourth beach is the most populated and glamorous of Clifton’s beaches. Clifton’s fourth beach has also been awarded Blue Flag status for high standards of safety and protection of the environment.
Clifton was originally known as Skoenmakers Gat (Cobbler’s Cave), named after a ship deserter who lived in a cave above Second beach. The diminutive size of the properties in Clifton, between Fourth and Second beach, is due to the fact that the area was laid out for returning soldiers who had fought in World War I. The original bungalows were built from the packing cases that conveyed imported motor cars during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The houses that are now built on these properties fetch high prices.
The Bungalow restaurant and bar in Clifton is a popular place to enjoy views, sunsets, cocktails and a delicious meal. During the summer top DJ’S spin sultry sundowner sets. The bowling green in front of the restaurant is a landing spot for the paragliders who launch themselves off Lion’s Head.
One of Clifton’s more interesting events, is its monthly swim in the cold Atlantic Ocean. It takes place on the first Sunday of each month and the route starts at Fourth Beach, stretching to First beach and back again. The event started in 2006 with a handful of swimmers, and has grown to over 150 participants.