Back by popular demand – summer! And what fun-loving dog and his owner aren’t looking forward to a romp on the beach?! If you’re living in South Africa, you’re in dog beach heaven, because this country is crazy about canines and has miles and miles of widely varied, beautiful, and welcoming beaches.
If you are about to relocate to South Africa from, say, the US or the UK, remember that the seasons are opposite in the southern hemisphere. So, as summer is on the horizon in one locale, it is about to end in the other. Fortunately, all you have to do is wait a few months and summer comes around again. So even if you can’t hit the beach with your dog right now, you can start planning your upcoming sand and surf adventures.
But where to go, to find all the best beaches?
Thanks to ProMeal, a Sub-Saharan company that produces high-end canned pet foods, you can find lengthy lists of dog-friendly South African beaches here, for the Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth areas.
Cape Town beaches are divided into three categories: those that allow dogs off leash, those that require leashes, and those that have seasonal time-of-day restrictions. These kick in during peak periods when there are lots of families who flock to the beach and may not be excited to share with your pooch.
Port Elizabeth, on the other hand, is well-known for its strict on-leash requirement in all public places, including beaches. However, there are a few beaches that do allow dogs as long as you obey the rules.
Other coastal areas offer prime territories for dogs and their families to walk and run on the beach and play in the surf. Here are just a few of the places you’ll want to investigate:
- Knysna – Brenton-On-Sea and Buffelsbaai (on-leash only, with holiday restrictions during December-January)
- Wilderness Beach, within the Garden Route National Park
- Plettenberg Bay – the Poortjies Lagoon Area and Lookout Beach
Southern Cape Coast
- Denys Hessom Trail in Betty’s Bay runs from Jock’s Bay to Stony Point and includes a nice beach for swimming
- Hermanus’ Grotto Beach and Kleinmond’s coastal walk allow dogs, as far as the mouth of the Palmiet River
- Elands Bay
- Langebaan, between Pearly’s Restaurant and Club Mykanos
- Yzerfontein, which offers 16 miles of beach (only the designated swimming area requires your pup to remain on-leash)
- Bonza Bay – on your way to the beach, you’ll follow a walkway built just for dogs that leads through the coastal forest
- Haven Beach, from Coffee Bay to Mazeppa Bay
- Second Beach in Port St Johns
Preparation Ensures Safety as Well as Fun
Before heading to the beach, it’s a good idea to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date. Talk with your vet, because some immunizations that South Africa categorizes as optional might be recommended for maximum, beach-worthy protection. (The same holds true if you and your intrepid canine are planning inland adventures that include wildlands.)
Also, remember that hydration and shady rest periods are essential when you’re playing in the sun. Dogs get hot just like people, and they are also prone to sunburn and heat stroke just like people. As the pack leader, it’s up to you to tell your pup when it’s time for a cooling break. And, speaking of breaks, be sure to pack a supply of poop bags, too. Good petiquette is always the #1 rule of the road, you’re your consideration for other beach-goers will be especially well-received.
No matter what South African beach you choose to visit, with sunscreen, plenty of water, some clean-up bags, and a towel to dry off, you’ll be ready for action, interspersed with a bit of snoozing on the sand.