**Important Notes: Chart extracts, Sketches, GPS co-ordinates and descriptions are given as a guide only and are not verified nor guaranteed comprehensive. Not to be relied on for navigation! Use at your own risk.

Useful Charts & Publications

  • SAN150 Table Bay to False Bay
  • South African Nautical Almanac ISBN 978-0-9921810-0-0
Clifton Bay, just west of Lion’s Head

Clifton Bay General

  • Clifton Bay lies due west of Lion’s Head between Bantry Bay to the north and Camps Bay to the south.
  • There is a webcam showing “live” conditions at Clifton’s 4th beach here.

Clifton 4th Beach [approx. 33o56.390 S; 18o22.380 E]

Clifton Bay is marked on the official charts as being due west of Lion’s Head. The recommended anchorage off Clifton’s 4th beach, is in about 5-7m of water in sand and, space permitting, tucked in close behind the reefs marked by South Lion’s Paw which serve to break and dissipate the predominant SW’ly swell.

This spot, close to Table Bay harbour, is a favourite. The sheltered area behind the reef is quite small and on a busy weekend the late-comer may have to anchor further out of the shelter of the reef than is optimal.

This spot should be useable in winds with any easterly component and perhap even veering to southerly. In any winds with a westerly component this anchorage will quickly become untenable. Care should be taken during the summer months with strong SE’ly winds as the catabatic gusts roll off the mountain to the east and can catch out the unwary skipper.

Several cruisers have voiced the opinion that the holding here is not the best.

Approaches and surrounding dangers

SW’ly Swell
The anchorage is always subject to continuous SW’ly swell and due care must be taken to only use this anchorage in suitable conditions. In winds with a westerly component the reefs of South Lion’s Paw will not offer suitable shelter.

South Lion’s Paw [approx. 33o56.303’S; 18o21.579’E]
Approaching from the south a course should be shaped to enter the anchorage from due west midway between north and south Lion’s Rocks. Do not attempt to cut the corner since the reef that shelters the anchorage runs in a NW’ly direction toward South Lion’s Paw.

North Lion’s Paw [approx. 33o55.845’S; 18o21.853’E]
Approaching from the north one has two options. You can keep North Lion’s Paw to port and enter from due west as if approaching from the south. this is the longer route. Alternately, one can shape a course to enter the anchorage from the NW between North Lion’s Paw and the unnamed rock shown due east on the chart. The chart gives the impression that this is dangerous but, in any conditions that are suitable to anchor here, this approach leaves the boat plenty of roon shaping a course midway between the two dangers.

Submerged rock due east of North Lion’s Paw [approx. 33o55.820’S; 18o22.260’E]
The official charts, as well as Navionics, shows an unnamed rock due east of North Lion’s Paw. Care should be taken to keep well clear of this danger.

Nearest Safe Haven

  1. Table Bay Harbour [6nm]
  2. Hout Bay Harbour [14nm]


  1. Mobile network reception could be available
  2. VHF14 [Cape Town Port Control] most likely NOT reachable
  3. VHF16 could fetch a response from offshore shipping

Ocean Blue at anchor behind the reef off Clifton’s 4th beach, March 2022

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