Apart from being the mecca of Wildlife, Africa has some of the most majestic beaches in the world. Over half of the continent is coastally situated and has a coastline of more than 30,000 kilometres. It comes as no surprise, then, that this continent comprises of numerous hidden gems on its sandy fringe.
The Zanzibar Archipelago situated in the Indian Ocean has some of the best beaches in mainland Africa. Zanzibar is reachable by short flights from Arusha, Nairobi, or Dar es Salaam. Mnemba is a private Indian Ocean Island that offers the best scuba diving and snorkelling in Zanzibar. The only accommodation available here is Mnemba Island Lodge, a luxurious collection of private beach bandas. You can also go whale-watching, swim with the dolphins, or have an encounter with whale sharks. Nungwi beach is situated in northern Zanzibar and is one of the crown jewels of this region. Once a small fishing village, Nungwi beach has now become a popular tourist destination, thanks to its white sand, spectacular views of the blue sea, and amazing sunsets. Eastern Zanzibar, with its gentler waters, offers luxurious and tranquil stays at Paje, Bwejuu, and Jambiani. There are lots of luxurious villas, spas, and lodges here. Those looking for an exclusive experience may head to Pemba Island, a beautiful place that is untouched by tourists. Another little-known destination is Jambiani, approximately an hour away from Zanzibar’s stone town. The Jambiani beach offers plenty of snorkelling opportunities, traditional dhow boat rides, stunning views of the sea, and numerous accommodation options.
Thousands of tourists flock to Kenya every year to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration. However, a lot of them overlook the beautiful and colourful Mombasa, home to some of the most stunning beaches in this region. Lamu Archipelago is located to the north of Mombasa. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest settlements of Kenya. The beaches of Shela Village are on the main island of Lamu. With clear blue waters, powdery white sands, and ample snorkelling opportunities, they are one of the hottest destinations in Mombasa. Another famous beach in Mombasa is Diani Beach. It has over twelve miles of pristine sand beaches. Other activities that tourists enjoy at Diani Beach are skydiving, big game fishing, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, and its famous parties. Diani is also famous for kite surfing, thanks to its windy season. There are plenty of great and luxurious accommodations available in this region; with picturesque views of the sea and the endless stretches of white sand. You can book sprawling villas with private pools and private chefs, or you can go for cosy lodges; there’s no lack of options. Nyali beach, situated just 20kms north of Mombasa is teeming with shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and fitness centres and is ideal for people who want to mix business with pleasure. The beach supports activities like beach soccer, beach volleyball, kite surfing, scuba diving, and snorkelling.
The picturesque beaches of Seychelles frequently feature in the World’s best beaches lists. The crème-de-la-crème of this country is Anse Source D’Argent. With perfectly white beaches and exquisitely turquoise water, this peaceful and alluring place is the perfect honeymoon destination. The crystal blue waters punctuated by jutting rock formations and palm trees make Anse Source DÁrgent picture perfect. It offers activities like snorkelling, swimming, and diving. Another gem of a beach in Seychelles is Anse Lazio, a pristine and serene location, is smaller and quieter than its sister beaches. You can head over to Grand Anse Kerlan to watch hawksbill turtles hatch or participate in conservation efforts of local turtle species. For a more private experience in Seychelles, you can head to Anse Soleil in Mahe. The beach stands close to a hillside covered with jungle and boulders and offers an excellent view of the sunsets. The Petite Anse beach is backed by a dense forest and granite cliffs and is located on the southwest coast of Mahe. This beautiful beach is exclusive, and the best way to access it is to stay at the Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles. Treehouse villas with private pools offer an unparalleled and luxurious experience to the visitors of Petite Anse.
With a sprawling coastline of around 2800 kilometres, South Africa has a lot of beautiful beaches. Sodwana Bay is one such place; it is a meeting point of the beautiful flora and the sea. It is interspersed with vibrant trees and offers excellent scenery. You can enjoy beautiful sunsets while swimming in the warm waters of Sodwana Bay or enjoy the vibrant parties at night. Camps Bay is a 10-minute drive from Cape Town and is the site of the famous Clifton beach. This cluster of beaches and their surrounding roads are filled with cafes and bars that offer the ultimate experience to party lovers. The visitors also love taking in the beautiful scenery, tall trees, birds, and the majestic sea. If one wishes to see penguins, they should visit Boulders Beach in South Africa. It is truly a treat to see them interacting with their kin, or just going about their day. The beach, named so because of granite boulders flanking the landmass, is a perfect destination for families; the seas are calm here and offer the right swimming temperatures. Another South African beach famous for its calm waters is the Buffalo Beach. It is less crowded than the other beaches, and thus offers a tranquil experience to visitors. The Robberg Beach is nestled amongst the grassy boulders of Plettenberg Bay. This isolated beach contains the Robberg Trail- a circular path threading through miles of protected forests.
The tropical paradise of Ile Sainte-Marie is situated just off the coast of Madagascar and has the most perfect white sand beaches, throughout-the-year sunshine, and beautiful palm trees. From July to September, visitors can spot humpback whales and take a dive among the spectacular coral gardens. Another beach to catch sights of whales while basking in the shade of palm trees is Ifaty, located on the southwest coast of Madagascar. Ifaty beach is a haunt for visitors looking to explore coral reefs or ride the waves on a colourful canoe. Nosy Be is a laid-back, but tourist-friendly beach off the coast of Madagascar that hosts a lot of inland activities. You can spot sharks and humpback whales and enjoy scuba diving. Visitors also love exploring the numerous waterfalls and running trails spread throughout Nosy Be. The Lokobe National Park, located not too far, is a favourite amongst the tourists wishing to witness the playful black lemur’s endemic to Madagascar. On the southeast side of the island, Manafiafy beach is one of the smaller beaches of Madagascar and is one of its best-kept secrets. Visitors can enjoy the solitude while surrounded by lush green scenery and rainforests.
Thrill and adventure seekers are in for a treat if they visit Skeleton Coast in Namibia. Starting just north of Swakopmund and extending 500 kms to the Angolan border, this place is famous for its towering cliffs that drop off into the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can spot hyenas and elephants, as well as Cape fur seals. Photographers and adventurers can also visit abandoned shipwrecks, like the Eduard Bohlen. Swakopmund is an adventure centre as well, with activities like surfing, kayaking, fishing, sand-boarding, and quad biking. Another extraordinary destination in Namibia is Sandwich Harbour, housed in the middle of a desert and dotted with wastelands and lagoons. This place is known for its unpredictable weather and is often covered in fog. Sandwich Harbour is a part of Namib Naukluft Park. Giant dunes, dropping suddenly into the ocean make for breath-taking scenery. One can also visit the nearby salt pans and bird sanctuary to witness the local wildlife and a huge bird colony of around 200,000 birds belonging to various species.
Some of the beaches in Africa can give competition to the best in the world, and actually some of them have no equal on the planet. Being predominantly known as a wildlife destination, this aspect of Africa is often overlooked at. Next time when you decide to experience Africa, think not only of wildlife, but also of its many pristine and breathtakingly beautiful beaches.
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