Smitswinke Bay is stunning. But, is it a secret beach? It’s hidden in plain sight and a simple Google search will give you over 26 000 results all about this beach. So it’s not exactly hidden. Despite this I didn’t know it existed until 2018 when I saw a blog post raving about the beach. I only visited this year this past Sunday. A pandemic had to ravage the globe and now I’m much more interested in secluded places.There’s no WiFi signal, no electricity, no bathroom facilities and not a single shop. Admittedly it’s not the kind of beach for everyone. Don’t be fooled by these “drawbacks” Smitswinkel is a slice of heaven. The beach is spectacular and pristine. If you love calm and sheltered spaces this is the beach for you.
Why is it called Smitswinkel Bay
It isn’t really clear where the beach got its name from. Some say there was a black smith who was an homeowner in the area, others say it’s named after a farm owner called Smit and then there’s the theory that two stones on the shoreline look like anvils hence the name. Honestly, no one knows and chances are that we will never know where the name comes from.
Where is Smitswinkel Bay
Smitswinkel is just outside of Simons Town about 20 minutes outside of it and just before Cape Point Nature Reserve. It’s on the False Bay coast side in Cape Town. The side of Cape Town which I call home.
How to get to Smitswinkel Bay
Like I said it’s after Simons Town and just before the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Ride along the M4 pass the iconic Boulders Beach and lesser known Miller’s Point once you’ve reached a bend with a rocky parking lot you’ve arrived. It’s the last beach which is free to enter on the False Bay coast. It’s not easy to get to this beach. There are no tarred roads and you have to hike down. The trail is on the side of the road and isn’t marked. You have to park at the hiking trail parking. Do note though that the hike is up the mountain. It’s not the trail you want to take. You have to cross the road and you will find the trail on the opposite side of the parking lot. From there on you have to hike for 15 to 20 minutes. The hike is steep and at times narrow. There’s even a little stream following from the mountain side and a makeshift bridge which runs across it which you will pass by. It’s safe and absolutely adorable. The views on the way are totally worth it. The trail is clearly marked and you just have to keep going downwards. I will say that the hike down isn’t that tough. The hike back up to get to your car that’s another story altogether. I was huffing and puffing a bit.
You do need a car to get to Smits as it’s also known as. You could take the train to Simons Town and then maybe get a Uber from there. But I highly doubt it’s going to work rather hire a car from a place like Rent a Cheapie. Public train schedules have been changed due to Covid-19. Be aware and plan accordingly.
Smitswinkel Bay accommodation
There are a few places to stay in Smitswinkel Bay. The majority of the homes are privately owned and have been passed down from generation to generation. The one house only has an outside tap. Yip no running water inside the house. The other house has no TV. And once again no WiFi. Be prepared to carry whatever you need down the hiking trail. Yes, that includes your food, clothes, sunscreen and whatever else you want with you. My advice is to travel light if you’re planning to stay for a day or even for longer. It will make the hike down and up again much easier. Click the links to find out where you can stay in Smitswinkel Bay below:
What to do at Simtswinkel Bay
The beach is perfect for swimming, walking,scuba diving and kayaking.
There’s no kayak rental store. If you want to have a kayak at the beach you will have to reach Smitswinkel by sea in your kayak. I’m guessing that you could kayak from Cape Point or from Castle Rock to get to Smitswinkel Bay. I don’t think it would be fun carrying a boat down the hiking trail.
There’s lots of rock pools which makes walking on the beach exciting, there’s little fish, sea snails, I saw a few muscles, sea urchins, lizards and birds. The area also has baboons which occasionally visit. If you do see a baboon move away slowly and if they are after your food let them have it. Remember that baboons are awesome and are wild animals rather be safe. Never feed them and don’t try to interact with them. Just watch from afar baboons.
You can also picnic at Smits or simply do nothing by just sunbathing. Remember to bring sunscreen and water along these are essential items and like I said there’s no stores close by to quickly grab this.
What is the best time to visit Smitswinkel Bay?
The answer is summertime, early and on a good weather day. I hiked down early on a Sunday morning. There was no one else along the trail down. It’s best to go early to avoid Cape Town’s beating sun from frying your skin, from 10 am to 4pm is when you should try to avoid the sun. It shines at its harshest between those hours according to Winchester Hospital (read more by clicking). You shouldn’t hike the route down in the dark without a torch. I’d avoid it even with one. I also wouldn’t stay too late and hike back up in the dark. There’s no lights along the trail. And imagine bumping into a baboon in the dark. The trail can also get muddy from what I saw as it’s mostly a sand covered path. Sand and rain equals muddy slippery trails. It’s best in my opinion to avoid all of that unless you love falling on your butt, possibly hurting yourself and freezing on the beach.
I was fortunate since the sky was moody and it was warm. As the morning lazily dragged on everything cleared up and it was absolutely perfect. At first I didn’t want to write about this place and maybe unknowingly draw in crowds which will ruin it. Then I thought about it carefully and I think that people aren’t all fit enough or willing to hike in order to reach a beach with out a single shop, WiFi or electricity. And since there’s so much posts on Smitswinkel already online I figured it will be ok to share this “hidden gem” with you. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this post.
Read more & sources:
Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment or just chat. I would love to hear from you.