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When thinking about a getaway in Africa, many people picture embarking on a safari, but some of the world’s most exclusive beach retreats can also be enjoyed along its shores. If you’re looking for the ultimate in privacy, relaxation, and opportunities for outdoor adventure with pristine white sands beneath your feet, you have many options here. From private islands to stunning resorts along South Africa’s coastline, these are some of the top picks.
This luxury resort hotel is the perfect spot for a beach retreat and plenty of R&R. An oasis along the Umhlanga beachfront 20 minutes from downtown Durban, the surrounding beaches, including La Lucia, and Umdloti, are ideal for diving, surfing, and dolphin watching. There are two pools, including one with a serene view of the Indian Ocean, a lavish spa, gym, cinema, and three bars, including a rooftop venue with views of the lighthouse. There are two on-site restaurants, including a fantastic buffet that can be enjoyed on the patio, and a lounge for afternoon tea. Rooms have views of the sea or gardens along with spacious marble bathrooms that include separate rainfall showers and tubs.
Thonga Beach Lodge in iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers plenty of luxuries and comfort as an all-inclusive getaway with the best of both worlds: the forest and the ocean. It sits along the unspoiled Kwazulu-Natal coastline known for its snorkeling, diving, and colorful sunsets. Enjoy tranquil strolls on the secluded beach, refreshing dips in the pool, and lounging on the deck with a good book. After dark, romantic candlelit dinners can be enjoyed beneath a canopy of stars. There are many activities available, including the chance to witness turtles lay their eggs. Watch for the monkeys in the forest behind the resort and just 10 minutes inland you’ll find Lake Sibaya, where crocs soak up the sun on the rocks and hippos splash in the water. The forest-facing rooms provide a perfect view for watching the monkeys and birds, and all have mosquito-netted beds and large balconies. Some include private plunge pools.
Tucked within Milkwood Forest offering a jaw-dropping view of Noordhoek Beach and the ocean, Monkey Valley is a secluded resort made up of thatched-roof log cottages, most of which come with large balconies, many boasting sea views. Some have cozy fireplaces too. The pool is like a hidden oasis, beneath shady trees with cascading water from the surrounding stone. There’s a restaurant and bar on-site and guests also enjoy direct access to the sand.
Spice Island Hotel & Resort has its own private beach and offers spectacular views of the sand and the sea. It lies on the southeast coast of Zanzibar between Jambiani and Paje villages and offers a variety of accommodation options. The oceanfront suites are particularly appealing, complete with butler service and a breathtaking ocean view. You’ll have a 50″ flat-screen TV, Blu-ray player, espresso machine, air conditioning, and many other desirable amenities. The grounds include an on-site restaurant, a spa, and a wellness center. Live entertainment is provided too.
There’s no reason to leave this resort with plenty to keep you busy throughout your stay. Karafuu Beach Resort includes four swimming pools, some with poolside bars, a gym, a spa with ocean view treatments rooms, a shisha lounge area, and six restaurants offering everything from seafood dishes to international buffets. The reproduction African village, Masai, hosts traditional Swahili and Masa dinners with traditional dance performances too. Many rooms open directly onto the beach and all come with flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.
The Manta Resort is the place to go when you want to get as far as possible from the chaos of the “real” world while enjoying all sorts of luxuries. Located on remote Pemba Island, it offers a wide range of activities, including outstanding diving with a dive center that offers everything you need, along with snorkeling, catch and release fishing, deep-sea fishing, and kayak safaris. There are 18 rooms, but the one that’s sure to provide a stay of a lifetime is its famous underwater room that’s anchored 820 feet offshore. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the marine life right from the comfort of your bed.
andBeyond Benguerra Island is a villa resort off the coast of Mozambique. Famous for its diving and snorkeling, it sits within a marine national park, where dugong, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and many other creatures can be encountered. Deep-sea fishing, horseback riding, and excursions to a freshwater lake inhabited by flamingos are just a few of the other options. Accommodation is in 20 stand-alone villas that line the beach, each of which has its own pool, garden, sundeck, and daybed just steps from the shore. Enjoy decadent treatments at the spa or in your room, and dine on fresh fish and seafood. Romantic candlelit dinners can be set up on the beach, or on a remote spit of powdery soft sands accessed by boat.
If you’re looking for seclusion, privacy, and breathtaking natural beauty, andBeyond Mnemba Island may be your perfect pick. It sits on a five-acre island in the Zanzibar archipelago boasting jaw-dropping ocean views in every direction, along with idyllic beaches, with the entire island ringed by soft white sands. On one side the water is calm for snorkeling among abundant marine life, and you’ll enjoy opportunities for kayaking and sunset cruises too. Accommodation is in a small collection of seaside cottages that are set back from the water, nestled in the forest, and built on a platform over the sand. All have private verandas that feature panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
Set on a rocky point, The Plettenberg Hotel offers fabulous views of the bay, the Tsitsikamma Mountains, and Keurbooms Lagoon, with opportunities to watch dolphins and whales pass by. There are two sea-view infinity pools, a spa, boutique, bar, and a restaurant serving contemporary seafood dishes. Of course, you can always grab beach towels and an umbrella to enjoy a day at the beach too. The opulent rooms and suites include fresh-cut flowers, complimentary bottled water, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, and bathrooms with heated floors. If you want to go all out, book the villa or beach house, which has two bedrooms, a private pool, kitchen, flat-screen TVs and DVD players.
Tucked between the Indian Ocean and Morne Brabant mountain, Dinarobin is a gorgeous beachfront resort set along the southwest coast of Mauritius. The five-star property includes a pampering spa with a heated pool, hammams, saunas, and a gym. Traditional treatments are provided in air-conditioned cabins that surround a relaxation pool. The 18-hole Paradise Golf Club Course is located at the hotel’s sister property just a few minutes away. Right on-site you’ll find a sports center, tennis courts, and four restaurants, one of which provides a free breakfast buffet. Accommodation is in elegant suites with minibars, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs – some have ocean views. Go all out by booking one of the four-bedroom villas that include kitchens, private pools, and butlers.
This idyllic beachfront resort offers lots of tranquility for enjoying the sun and the sand. You can roll right out of bed and step onto the beach for a peaceful stroll, swim, or just relax and enjoy the scenery. Horseback riding is possible too. There’s a sparkling pool that overlooks the ocean and an outstanding restaurant that offers everything from seafood dishes to Mediterranean and vegetarian cuisine. Suites are complete with a kitchen and private deck for enjoying the awe-inspiring sea views.
Located on a remote private island, Four Seasons Resort at Desroches Island is an ultra-luxe resort with nearly nine miles of unspoiled white sand beaches and a variety of activities on offer, including scuba diving and game fishing. Guests receive complimentary bikes for getting around and buggy service is available too. Spacious suites and villas feature beach-chic decor, indoor/outdoor showers, private decks, and private gardens. Book a villa for your own private pool.
Zuri Zanzibar sits along a beautiful stretch of private beach with its soft white sands contrasted by brilliant blue waters. It includes an infinity pool, a dive center, three restaurants, and four bars, with local live music often hosted in the evening. Upendo is the main eatery, offering dazzling views of the sea and sand while dining on international fare with an Indian Ocean/African twist as well as hosting live cooking shows. It’s also possible to have meals or sundowner cocktails set up on the beach. The suites and villas offer spectacular views that include jaw-dropping sunsets, while the property’s spice garden delivers an exotic fragrance throughout.
One of the most exclusive stays on the Kenyan coast, Alfajiri is made up of three luxurious villas. Each one is self-contained, secluded, and comes with its own butler who can help you with everything from arranging activities to laundry service and drinks. All have private swimming pools, areas set up for spa treatments, multiple dining and lounging areas, sea views, and direct beach access. Many activities are included too, just a few of which include snorkeling on the reef or in the lagoon, complimentary use of local ngalawa sailing punts, a daily massage, and vehicle transport anywhere along the Diani Beach strip. A sauna and gym are available to guests at a nearby hotel.