Windmill Beach is without a doubt our top dive site and an amazing little beach. It is very sheltered and year round provides the best conditions for snorkeling in Cape Town. In terms of entry level freediving courses, only Long Beach in Simon’s Town offers better freediving conditions. The entire area is packed with marine life ranging from seastars, urchins and brittlestars to octopus, small sharks, cuttlefish, otters, seals and penguins. The varied topography and diverse ecology make this site very interesting no matter how many times you have snorkeled or freedived here. It falls within the boundaries of the Boulders Restricted Zone so no fishing or any other marine harvesting activities are allowed.
Windmill Beach is located on the seaward side of the Simon’s Town Country Club and is one beach down from the extremely popular and busy Boulder’s Beach. You can find parking (limited during busy periods) along and at the end of Links Crescent. There is a gate and path that leads past the public bathrooms and down to the beach. This 80m long, soft sandy beach is ideal for family beach days as the kids have nowhere to disappear to and the water is calm and shallow close to shore. Large granite boulders border the beach to the north and south while the fenced golf course borders it to the west. The north or ‘left’ channel leads into the ocean with granite outcrops separating it from the south or ‘right’ channel. The north channel is wider and slopes very gently for about 90m, starting off sandy with small rocks and then becoming rocky bottom with kelp. At the edge of kelp it suddenly drops to about 8-9m with a sandy bottom. The south channel gets deeper much quicker and after about 10m you are over 5-6m of depth which continues to drop until you reach the sandy floor outside the channel which is 8-9m deep. The shallow ‘middle’ channel links the north and south channels halfway. The north channel might seem lifeless over the initial shallow, sandy section, but this is where numerous octopuses can be found as well as small fish species. The rocky outcrops that separate the north and south channel are often used as resting spots for seals, particularly those at the end of the north channel. The middle channel is best snorkeled at high tide and when there is little swell, but is well worth the effort. Bigger fish species like Red Roman are more often spotted in the south channel.
This dive site is at its best in winter. In summer it is exposed to the South Easterly wind, but the two channels (particularly the north) tend to be protected and allow for freediving and snorkeling adventure activities. Be warned though that in summer during the busy holiday periods, Boulders Beach becomes chaotic and the spillover of people reaches Windmill. Parking also becomes an issue and Links Crescent is closed off by traffic officers. You will then need to find parking along the M4 or at the golf club. You will be able to walk across the golf course to get to the beach.