Arts and Culture

Taking the scenic route

Steven Bartlo

According to the South African Naturist Federation, "naturists are not different from other people, they are just more comfortable". If you are one of these, then South Africa has some of the best places on Earth for you. Not to be confused with "naturalists", "naturists" are people who are interested in extending the number of activities that can be conducted in the nude.

According to the South African Naturist Federation, “naturists are not different from other people, they are just more comfortable”. If you are one of these, then South Africa has some of the best places on Earth for you.

Not to be confused with “naturalists” (those who study plants and animals), “naturists” are people who are interested in extending the number of activities that can be conducted in the nude.

Although there are only two “official” nude beaches in South Africa, there are a growing number of resorts, guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs) for those who just want to hang out (the use of the pun was irresistible, so please bare with me).

The most famous by far is Sandy Bay, which is part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve and just 18km from the centre of Cape Town. Though the chilly waters of the Atlantic make swimming au naturel a sport for the brave, the soft sand and large slabs of granite rocks are extremely popular with those who are serious about perfecting their tans.

The other “official” nude beach is at Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape and is located just below the Great Fish Point Lighthouse, 24km out of town. The term “official” means that no one is going to bother you for taking your clothes off on these beaches, but be advised that there is no club or resort looking after the well-being of beachgoers and the crowds you may find there will vary from day to day. There is certainly no guarantee that there won’t be lonely perverts with binoculars and lotion bottles lurking in the vegetation.

Other beaches include a place near Port Elizabeth called “Secrets” just past the wreck of the Pati on Pati Beach, near Cape Receife. Here you will find secluded dunes and wide stretches of sandy beach. Couples and groups use one stretch of beach while single men and gay couples have their preferred area. At Empanjati beach, between South Broom and Port Edward, is a lovely spot on the bank of the Empanjati River that is popular with naturists during the holiday season.

Near Durban, apparently the lagoon at Umhlanga is the place to be. And the farther up the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal you go, the less populated the beaches become. The beautiful, relatively empty beaches (since the banning of 4X4s) of Mtunzini are becoming more and more popular with naturists.

Detailed directions to all of these places can be found on the South African Naturist Federation (Sanfed) website where you will find links to no fewer than nine naturist resorts, campgrounds and B&Bs around the country, all encouraging people to relax, de-stress and see more of your friends (groan).

Many places, such as Lazy Haven Lodge near East London, and Kiepersolkloof Sun Village in the North West Province, have hundreds of hectares for nature walks in-the-buff. All the Sanfed-affiliated resorts stress that they are family orientated and an e-mail or a phone call to their organisation will yield you a wealth of friendly information.

Many of these places don’t allow singles, unless they are guests of couples, in order to maintain “a gender balance” and “a non-threatening sexual environment”. But at Harmony Nature Farm, near Magaliesburg, there are only two rules: 1. Respect yourself and others. 2. Always sit on a towel.

The lowdown

For directions and further info:

  • South Africa Naturist Federation — www.sanfed.com
  • Kiepersolkloof Sun Village, North West Province, Derek on 083 631 0292, www.kiepersol.homestead.com
  • Harmony Nature Resort, North West Province, www.harmony-nature.co.za
  • Lazy Haven Lodge, East London, www.lazyhaven.co.za
  • Suneden — www.suneden.com
  • Naturist Home Stay, Cape Town — e-mail: [email protected]
  • Squires Holiday Accomodation, Somerset West, www.squiresholidays.co.za
  • Guineafowl Lodge, Durban, 031 2621173 www.wheretostay.co.za/gfl/
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