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Africa is a BIG continent. You can fit the entire China, United States and Canada into it, and still have free space! Its 38 coastal countries and island states rack up a total coastline of about 30 500 kilometres (18 950 miles) in length, and boast some of the most beautiful and untouched beaches on Earth.

But which African country has the best beaches? Well, that depends entirely on the type of African beach vacation you’d like to experience. Being based in Africa means that we’re able to soak up the sun, snorkel, scuba dive, surf, and savour the best African beaches on a regular basis. Here are our 10 best beaches in Africa…

Mnemba Island Lodge on Mnemba Island, Tanzania | Go2Africa
Mnemba Island Lodge, Tanzania

The Best Beach Destinations in Africa

1. Mnemba Island, Tanzania

Mnemba Private Island, Mozambique | Go2Africa
Mnemba Private Island

Located just off the northeast coast of Unguja, the largest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, Mnemba Island is the pinnacle of barefoot luxury. This romantic hideaway is a private paradise of unblemished beachfront that hugs the dappled shade of a casuarina pine forest.

Although Mnemba’s circumference is only 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles), you certainly won’t struggle to find towel space on its exclusive white sand beach. Swimming conditions in the calm turquoise waters are excellent; you can go snorkelling straight off the beach. And you can relish the unforgettable privilege of watching green turtle hatchlings find their way out of their sandy nests and crawl to the ocean.

The only accommodation on the islet is the exquisite Mnemba Island Lodge, comprising 12 private beach cottages nestled in the shade of the island’s tropical forest.

Best Time to Go

  • July to March
  • Turtle hatching is a year-round possibility, but generally peaks between February and March

Best For:

  • Intimate, exclusive and flexible African beach vacations
  • Swimming and snorkelling
  • Combining with a safari in Tanzania

2. Quirimbas, Mozambique

•Azura at Quilalea Private Island, Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Azura @ Quilalea Private Island

Consisting of 32 idyllic islands strung along the Mozambican coastline, the Quirimbas Archipelago boasts significant cultural and historical value – not to mention some of the best beaches in Africa! Many of the islands are under the protection of the Quirimbas National Park, offering nature lovers the opportunity to explore enchanted forests, see unique marine life like turtles and dugongs, and discover thriving coral reefs.

Some of our favourite islands in the Quirimbas are:

  • Medjumbe – a tiny castaway island and the perfect romantic retreat.
  • Quilalea – a completely uninhabited tropical paradise with incredible snorkelling conditions.
  • Vamizi – a conservation success story with exceptionally diverse coral reefs.
  • Ibo – a small, forested island that dates to the early 1600s when it was a prosperous trading post.

Best Time to Go

  • May to September

Best For:

  • Honeymooners and couples
  • Snorkelling and scuba diving
  • Combining with a safari in South Africa

Where to Stay:

Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Fiery sunsets are best viewed from the main lodge deck, where you can also order a refreshing sundowner. Make the most of Mozambique's beautiful sunsets with alfresco dining at the lodge. Ibo Island Lodge on Ibo Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago near Pemba in northern Mozambique. Colourful and exotic interiors speak to the island's eclectic history and cultural influences. Spend lazy days relaxing at the poolside and enjoying the cool ocean breeze while staff tend to your every need. There are a host of exciting watersports to try, as well as snorkelling and boat cruises. The beachfront is just a stone's throw away, offering guests exquisite ocean views from the lodge.

Ibo Island Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Bird watching Boat excursions Cultural visits
Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Nature-lovers can explore the island's tidal pools which attract rare birds, waders and migrants.
Water-based activities include sailing trips, paddle-boating, snorkelling, scuba diving, water-skiing and more.
Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa lines the shores of the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Mozambique.
The resort is set on a small private island and offers beach chic accommodation at the water's edge.
The main lounge boasts spectacular views of the aquamarine ocean, and is ideal for relaxing with friends and family.
Each villa has sea views as well as a private plunge pool.
Have the pleasure of watching the sunset every evening over the dazzling horizon

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Dhow cruises Fishing Kayaking Sailing

3. Cape Town, South Africa

Sunset over Clifton in Cape Town, South Africa | Go2Africa
Sunset over Clifton

It’s no secret that South Africa’s Mother City has some of the best beaches in the world. Whether you’re searching for buzzing beachside bars, world-class restaurants, secluded coves, safe swimming areas or a romantic spot for a sunset picnic, the best beaches in Cape Town will tick all the boxes.

Some of our favourite Cape Town beaches are:

  • Clifton – only ten minutes from the city centre and comprises four gorgeous beach coves that are sheltered from Cape Town’s ‘south-easter’ wind.
  • Camps Bay – Cape Town’s best-known beach with a palm-lined strip of trendy restaurants, cafes and fashionable bars.
  • Boulders Beach – a soft-sand beach that’s home to a large colony of endangered African penguins.
  • Muizenberg – family-friendly with warm water; popular with surfers.
  • Blouberg – offering the best views of Table Mountain, and one of the world’s best kitesurfing destinations.

Best Time to Go

  • December to March

Best For:

  • Families and active travellers
  • Surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and beach bars
  • Sunbathing and beach picnics
  • Combing with a safari in Kruger National Park

4. Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles

Anse Source D'Argent on La Digue, Seychelles | Go2Africa
Anse Source D’Argent on La Digue Island

The sensational islands of the Seychelles Archipelago are seriously tough to beat if you’re looking for some of the best African beach vacations. Set against the placid blue waters of the Indian Ocean, with only granite boulders or the occasional cluster of palm trees breaking the long runs of white sand beaches, the Seychelles offers you the chance to live out your tropical island fantasy in pure, world-class luxury.

If you’ve ever wondered where those arrestingly beautiful images of the Seychelles were taken, chances are it was on the island of La Digue. Anse Source D’Argent is located on La Digue and is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Africa – if not the world! This paradisiacal stretch of pure white sand beach with its dramatic boulders, turquoise waters, and undulating palm trees is perfect for soaking up the sunshine and snorkelling.

Other notable mentions in the Seychelles:

  • Cote D’Or (Praslin Island) – one of the longest beaches in the archipelago; over 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) of powder-soft sand, dramatic granite formations and superb snorkelling conditions.
  • Anse Intendance (Mahé Island) – a beautiful, wild and mostly untouched beach that offers the possibility to see turtles hatch between October and February.
  • Anse Lazio (Praslin Island) – the ineffable beauty of this beach’s big, leafy takamaka trees, pearl-white sand, and smooth granite boulders will take your breath away.

Best Time to Go

  • April to May
  • October to December

Best For:

  • Honeymooner and couples
  • Sunbathing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming
  • Combing with a safari in East Africa

5. Trou aux Biches, Mauritius

Trou aux Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius | Go2Africa
Trou aux Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa

When it comes to choosing the top beach destination in Mauritius, west is best. This Indian Ocean jewel’s west coast is largely sheltered from the weather during the rainy season (January to March) and lined with some of the best beaches in Africa – ranging from the fine white sands of Trou aux Biches in the far north to the isolated Le Morne Peninsula on the south-west tip of the island.

Clear waters and safe swimming conditions make Trou aux Biches particularly popular with families. There are ample water sports to keep the kids entertained, and a great coral reef just a short swim from the shore. The local restaurants serve delicious cosmopolitan cuisine.

Other notable mentions in Mauritius:

  • Le Morne – a long stretch of white sand beach with a reef-protected lagoon and superb golf course, all laid out at the foot of a towering mountain.
  • Flic en Flac – the best-known and longest beach on the west coast, with calm waters that are ideal for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving.
  • Belle Mare – located on the east coast, this super-soft white sand beach boasts an emerald lagoon, lush green vegetation, and some of the island’s most luxurious hotels.

Best Time to Go

  • April to May
  • September to December

Best For:

  • Families with children
  • Family-friendly water sports
  • Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving
  • Combining with a safari in Southern Africa

6. Lamu, Kenya

Manda Bay on Manda Island in Lamu Archipelago, Kenya | Go2Africa
Manda Bay on Manda Island

The Lamu Archipelago, located just off Kenya’s north coast, comprises the alluring Indian Ocean islands of Lamu, Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Manda Toto. These islands are well worth visiting if you’re looking for tranquil, away-from-the-crowds African beach vacations. Enjoy activities like historical walking tours, dhow (traditional sailboat) trips, kayaking and swimming with dolphins. Snorkelling and scuba diving conditions are best between November and March when the water is at its clearest.

Lamu Island, a World Heritage Site, has been a centre of Swahili culture for over 700 years and offers superb barefoot luxury at fantastic Kenya beach resorts. The island also boasts some of the best beaches in Africa with dazzling coral reefs, a wealth of activities, great cuisine and friendly, discreet service.

Best Time to Go

  • November to March

Best For:

  • Adventurous travellers and cultural tourists
  • Sunbathing, snorkelling and scuba diving
  • Combining with a safari in Kenya

7. Mafia Island, Tanzania

Swimming with whale sharks at Mafia Island, Tanzania | Go2Africa
Swimming with whale sharks

While Zanzibar is the most popular island off Tanzania’s coast, Mafia Island offers discerning visitors a serene and exclusive hideaway, far away from the tourist crowds that frequent some of the other Tanzania beaches. The largest island of the Mafia Archipelago, Mafia is home to one of the world’s best dive sites, the Mafia Island Marine Park. Excellent diving equipment and logistics are provided by Mafia’s fantastic beach lodges, or you can simply live out your castaway fantasy on some of the best beaches in Africa.

Whale sharks migrate along the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania from about October to April every year. During this period, these gentle giants concentrate around Mafia Island longer than anywhere else on the East African coast. To swim alongside these gentle, slow-moving filter-feeders is one of life’s greatest privileges.

Best Time to Go

  • June to October (best weather)
  • February to March (can be hot and humid)

Best For:

  • Discerning travellers looking for exclusivity
  • Scuba diving
  • Swimming with whale sharks
  • Combining with a safari in Tanzania

8. De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

Lekkerwater Beach Resort in De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa | Go2Africa
Sundowners at Lekkerwater Beach Resort

Often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Western Cape’, the De Hoop Nature Reserve is located about three hours drive from Cape Town and offers a convenient stopover for travellers exploring South Africa’s gorgeous Garden Route. This remarkable coastal reserve is part of South Africa’s Whale Coast, renowned for delivering the world’s best land-based whale watching.

While whales migrate here from Antarctica to calve and breed between July and November, this protected marine area is also a playground for dolphins, seals and a plethora of pelagic birds. An area rich with incredible fauna and flora, rolling hills and abundant sea life, De Hoop offers unique land-based marine safari experiences on some of the best beaches in Africa.

Best Time to Go

  • Summer (November to March) is perfect for sunbathing and coastal adventures
  • Spring (September to October) is when the indigenous flora comes to life and sunsets are incredible
  • Winter (July to August) is when the migratory whales arrive

Best For:

  • Nature lovers seeking total exclusivity
  • Independent travellers who prefer self-drive African beach vacations
  • Land-based whale watching
  • Combining a trip along the Garden Route

Where to Stay:

Cape Town, South Africa
Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_exterior1 Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_boma Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_mountain_biking Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_bedroom Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_nature_drive Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_day-bed Morukuru-Beach-Lodge_lounge

Morukuru Beach Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Guided walks Hiking Mountain biking Nature drives
Whale Coast, South Africa
Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Arial-seascapes Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Bedroom-at-night Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Bedroom-views- Lekkerwater Beach-Lodge-Dinner-and-sundowners-on-the-beach Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Lunch-in-the-main-area Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Main-area-and-views-to-the-beach Edited-Lekkerwater-Beach-Lodge-Main-area-views-of-the-ocean

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Day tours Sundowners Whale watching
Whale Coast, South Africa
morukuru-ocean-house-birds-eye-view morukuru-ocean-house-patio morukuru-ocean-house-pool morukuru-ocean-house-fynbos morukuru-ocean-house-2 morukuru-ocean-house-dining-area morukuru-ocean-house-bath

Morukuru Ocean House

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Biking Day tours Picnics Snorkelling

9. Bom Bom Island, São Tomé and Príncipe

Bom Bom Island Resort on Bom Bom Island, São Tomé and Príncipe | Go2Africa
Bom Bom Island

São Tomé and Príncipe comprise two tropical islands floating in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa. This emerging hidden gem and bucket-list African beach destination combines barefoot luxury with Crusoesque adventure.

São Tomé is the larger and more developed of the two islands, while Príncipe is much more off the beaten path. Both islands are ringed by some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa, ranging from golden sweeps to powder-soft white crescents.

Bom Bom Island is situated off the northern tip of Príncipe and harboured by palm-fringed beaches. The interior forests are a birdwatcher’s paradise, while activities like snorkelling, whale watching, and deep-sea fishing will keep active travellers entertained.

Other notable mentions in São Tomé and Príncipe:

  • Praia dos Tamarindos (São Tomé) – one of the island’s best swimming beaches and an easy drive from the capital.
  • Praia Banana (Príncipe) – its idyllic waters and postcard-perfect sand were made famous by popular Bacardi rum adverts from the 1990s.
  • Praia Bateria (Ilhéu das Rolas) – a sensational scallop of sand wedged between two natural rock walls, a definite couple’s choice.

Best Time to Go

  • June to September

Best For:

  • Adventurous couples and nature lovers
  • Swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling

10. Ilha Caldeira, Mozambique

Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira, Mozambique | Go2Africa
Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira

This private island off the coast of Mozambique is earmarked for being next year’s ultimate barefoot luxury escape. Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is set to open its first luxury resort in Southern Africa on this pristine Indian Ocean jewel in 2022. With sustainability at the forefront, Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira’s private villas will showcase breath-taking views of the islet’s white sand beaches and glorious sunsets.

Ilha Caldeira is part of a marine protected area and a world-class diving site – home to 20% of Mozambique’s intact living coral! Other than sunbathing on footprint-free beaches, guests will also be able to enjoy activities like whale watching, kayaking, tours to nearby islands within the archipelago, and exploring a historical shipwreck that sank in 1947.

Best Time to Go

  • May to November

Best For:

  • Couples and honeymooners
  • Multi-generational families
  • Swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling and scuba diving
  • Combining with a safari in South Africa

Ready to Start Planning Your African Beach Vacation?

Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make a trip that’s right for you:

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