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The good thing about Africa? There’s no shortage of incredible beaches here. The bad thing about Africa? It’s unlikely – although not impossible – that you’ll be able to visit them all in your lifetime. This amazing continent is home to some of the world’s most impressive beaches, with soft white sand, warm azure waters, and postcard-perfect settings.
While some beaches here are designed for days spent tanning with a cocktail in hand, others are for the more active beach-goer, complete with surfable waves, rainbow-colored coral reefs, watersports options, and more. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself in Africa as you’ll find wonderful beaches dotted across every side of this continent.
Not sure where to visit first? Read on for all of the best beaches in Africa, from South Africa to Zanzibar, and some of the most beautiful islands in between.
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Take a trip to Rolas Island, off the coast of northern Mozambique, and you’ll likely instantly fall in love with the white sand, azure waters, and peaceful way of life at this beach. As well as its glorious sand and water, Rolas Island’s beaches are famed for their wildlife and marine life. These protected reefs are home to dolphins, dugongs, gamefish, giant lobsters, and turtles, while the land is home to only a few fishermen and an even smaller number of tourists. Whether you’re a fan of diving, snorkeling, or just good old relaxing, Rolas Island beach is a place you’ll remember long after you’ve left Mozambique.
Mnemba Island is the largest island of the Zanzibar Archipelago in Tanzania and looks almost too beautiful to be true. This paradise island boasts some of the clearest blue waters around and is a top spot for divers or snorkelers. While the island is classed as private (owned by &Beyond), it’s easy enough to take a day trip or arrange a stay here at one of the world’s most incredible adventure resorts. Swim with dolphins, admire the rainbow-hued coral reefs and spend hours wandering along the coastline. The small size of this island makes it perfect for a day of exploring. And at only an hour away via boat from mainland Tanzania, it’s definitely one to add to your bucket list.
Many call Bom Bom Island a relatively untouched part of the world. It’s set on the prestigious tip of Príncipe and is certainly a place that feels perfectly preserved. This tiny island is home to only a handful of accommodation options and comes punctuated by an incredible jungle backdrop. Part of the magic of this beach lies in just how unexplored it is, with an extraordinary landscape with golden sand and ocean views that stretch as far as the eye can see. A top spot for nature lovers, it’s impossible not to get immersed in your surroundings here. Spend your time birdwatching, hiking down nature trails, and exploring well off-the-beaten-track.
Hear the word “Seychelles” and you’ll probably picture incredible white sand, blue skies, and even bluer water. The Anse Source d’Argent Beach on La Digue is perhaps the epitome of that daydream and one of the reasons the Seychelles landed on our “Countries with the Best Beaches in the World” list. It’s a spot so perfect it looks too good to be true. Its location inside a national park means tourists never overrun this beach, and if you visit during the low season, you may just find yourself one of the few people there. This remote spot is one for adventurers, and the only way to access anything here is on foot, by bike, or on an ox cart. Hire a bicycle and drive around to find your piece of paradise next to the sea.
Take a trip down south to explore Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, one of the country’s most-loved beaches, and for very good reason. While this beach may look pretty remote with its mountainous backdrops, it’s easily accessible via public transport from Cape Town. This long, beautiful stretch of sand is famed for a few different things. Rock up during the daytime to hire a sun lounger and umbrella and soak up the sunshine or visit a little later in the day and watch its party atmosphere come to life. Its large promenade of restaurants, hotels, and bars means this beach has a large audience on an almost 24/7 basis. It’s also home to one of the most wish-listed Airbnbs in Africa.
Sharm el-Sheikh is usually Egypt’s most tourist-heavy spot, filled to the brim with luxurious resorts, includiing one of the world’s best diving resorts, and stunning beaches to match. While it’s definitely one of the busier beaches on the list, it comes with its unique charms both above and below sea level. The water here is deliciously warm year round – perfect for anyone who loves to start their vacation with a quick dip. The sea is home to some of the most incredible marine life in the world, making it ever-popular with scuba divers. Above sea level, you’ll find many dune-filled deserts, delicious restaurants, and endless shopping opportunities.
Swakopmund is one of those unforgettable places to visit in Namibia. It’s known for many things: incredible wildlife, skydiving opportunities, German-themed architecture, and wonderful restaurants. Its beach is also well worth a visit and is regularly hailed as one of the best in the country and across the wider continent. The cooler water here ensures a vast range of marine life on a year-round basis and plenty of seafood restaurants just off the beach. This large stretch of blue water comes accentuated with soft, white sand and a long-running trail of hotels just behind. Wander out along the pier in the evenings to watch the sunset over the ocean.
If you’re heading off on a luxury vacation at one of the best resorts in Mauritius, there’s a fair to reasonable chance you’ll spend some of your time at Belle Mare Beach. This postcard-perfect stretch of sand seems to travel as far as the eye can see, sitting against sparkling blue waters and accentuating a perpetual feeling of relaxation. Its clear, shallow water makes it safe for families to visit and is also a popular spot for honeymooners. Take a dip in the water with snorkeling gear to check out all of the fish swimming by, or lay back on the soft sand under the hot sun. Those feeling a little more active can walk around the lagoon for hours.
Llandudno Beach in South Africa is located between Camps Bay and Hout Bay. It’s a picturesque sandy haven popular with locals and tourists alike. This idyllic, life-guard patrolled, blissful spot sits in a beautiful location surrounded by mountains. Llandudno Beach is a sort of hidden gem in the area, favored mainly by locals or tourists who’ve done a little extra research. Tranquil and peaceful, this beach is just as loved for its sunset views as it is for the setting itself. Wander along the shore at sunrise to watch the watercolor shades rise across the ocean, and you’ll swear you’ve never known relaxation quite like it.
All the colors at Nungwi Beach look a little like they’ve been artificially brightened – the blueness of the water, the golden color of the sand, and the pink shells dotted along the coastline. A place that needs to be seen in real life to be believed, Nungwi Beach is often voted the most beautiful beach on Zanzibar Island and one of the top things to do and see in Zanzibar. Set on the northernmost tip, this beach is well located for all kinds of exploring. With a subtle backdrop of restaurants and hotels and lots of watersports options, it’s a brilliant beach for eaters, drinkers, relaxers, and adventurers alike.
Watamu is a small coastal town in Kenya, north of Mombasa, and is mostly known for its ecotourism. There’s a big focus on sustainability at this beach, from the tourism options to the restaurants and hotels nearby. Whatever you do here, there’s a high chance you’ll be supporting at least one local charity at the same time. Consistently voted as one of Africa’s best beaches, Watamu Beach is a true sight to behold. Head to Turtle Beach for a swim or a tanning session, or take the quick trip to Malindi Marine Reserve Park to see the best of this spot underwater via snorkeling or scuba diving.
Betty’s Bay is a beach for those who like some good views or an active day on the water. While you’re free to sunbathe here, you’ll see more people surfing, swimming, or strolling along the coast. This incredible spot is a haven for South Africa’s backpacking scene, with plenty of coastal walks and hiking trails to explore during your stay. The coolest part? The Stony Point Nature Reserve, just nearby, is home to a unique colony of African penguins. This rural beach may be popular, but it’s a lot more rustic than many busy spots, a place where it’s easy enough to find an isolated area to relax all alone. Situated in the heart of South Africa’s Boland and Southern Cape, this charming beach is an unmissable one.
Madagascar is already known for its beauty, but Nosy Boraha, an island just off the east coast, is especially magical and a top thing to do in Madagasgar. If ever you had to get stuck on a paradise island, you’d want it to be this one. This sleepy beach isn’t one for those who like a party, but if you’re looking for a few days of undiluted relaxation, it’s a wonderful getaway. Each of the protected bays here is just as beautiful as the last, with pristine white sand and a few tourists dotted around. The bungalows on the beach provide a great spot if you’re looking to stay on the island a little longer.
Anse Lazio sits on the second biggest island in the Seychelles and is often called the most picturesque area – out of an already impressive lineup. Widely considered one of the best beaches in Africa, this beautiful spot is on the smaller side, giving it an extra premium edge. Here, you’re free to swim in the vibrant, warm waters or lie back on the white sand. Wander to the beach’s little cafe to snack on fresh fruit juices and cool drinks throughout the day. The beach is also known for its fabulous scenery, with huge granite rocks and plenty of palm trees to explore when you’ve had your fill of sunbathing.
Admittedly Chitimba Beach overlooks a lake in Malawi rather than the ocean, but this beach is still worthy of its title as one of Africa’s best beaches and a must-visit spot in Malawi. The star of the show here is the beachfront camp, allowing each guest the chance to wake up to glorious sunrise views reflecting on the water. This idyllic setting is a wonderful experience for anyone looking for a bit of tranquility in a peaceful location with almost no distractions. Spend your time here swimming in the water, sipping cold drinks at the bar, or generally soaking up the idyllic atmosphere of Malawi.
The Lamu Archipelago in Kenya is a great spot for island hopping, with the three islands of Pate, Lamu, and Manda all easily accessible and punctuated with clear blue water. Just off the Somali border, this archipelago has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 and is well-loved for its stunning setting. There’s plenty to do here for all kinds of travelers. With such an interesting history and endless natural wonders, this group of islands promises never to leave you bored. It’s also home to various luxury hotels and, with safari trips within easy distance, it really does offer a little of everything.
Loango National Park Beach in Gabon is a beach for people who don’t like beaches. In the sense that, sure, you can spend your time relaxing and swimming here, but you’d probably prefer to check out its protected savannas and forests or go looking for animals while you’re visiting the Congo Basin, one of the world’s natural wonders on the brink of disappearing. Forest elephants, lowland gorillas, buffalo, leopards, and hippos all call this national park home, while it’s easy to see whales, dolphins, and orcas swimming around in the ocean. Head to the beach itself to surf the powerful waves or, if you’re lucky, you may even see a large animal or two sunbathing on the shore.