The African continent offers approximately 18,950 miles/30,500 kilometers of coastline and with it, an innumerable array of spectacular beaches. With so many possible destinations to consider, choosing where to go on your African beach vacation can be difficult especially once we’re able to travel again. Options range from the rugged splendor of South Africa’s Wild Coast to the paradise islands of the Seychelles and Mauritius.
Although this list of our top 10 beach destinations barely scratches the surface, it’s a good place to start the trip planning process. Please note this list is in no particular order, all of these score a 10 in our books.
1. Lamu, Kenya
The most laid back and relaxing coastal town in Kenya is Lamu, by far. With only occasional braying donkeys and calls to prayer, nothing can disturb the peacefulness travelers will experience in Lamu. What is best, the beaches there are breathtaking, and the town is located very close to a stunning marine national park ideal for snorkeling activities. Shela Beach is one of the most perfect places to chill out and adopt a slow coastal living style.
2. Mnemba Island, Tanzania
Located off the north coast of Tanzania, Mnemba is a private Indian Ocean island and part of the historic Zanzibar Archipelago. The island offers the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Zanzibar, and there are ample opportunities for whale watching, swimming with dolphins and whale shark encounters in the island’s clear, warm waters. It’s also the perfect destination for a romantic honeymoon or anniversary celebration. The only accommodation on the island is Mnemba Island Lodge, an exclusive collection of 12 private beach bandas owned by luxury travel company &Beyond. Each cottage has its own veranda and sits nestled in the shade of the island’s lush tropical forest.
3. Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm el-Sheikh has become Egypt’s resort capital for good reason: the warm, crystal waters and wide beaches are great for swimmers and sunbathers and it’s the gateway to some of the best diving in the world, along the reefs of the Red Sea.
4. Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
The Seychelles archipelago has long been one of the world’s most romantic destinations and its beaches feature frequently in global Top 10 lists. One of the island nation’s most famous beaches is Anse Source d’Argent, located on the island of La Digue. This stretch of pure white sand is perhaps the archetypal paradise beach, with dramatic boulders, shallow turquoise waters and gently curving palm trees. It’s a great place to soak up the sunshine or go snorkeling, although its perfect beauty also makes it a popular stop for visiting daytrippers. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, head to the more exclusive beaches on remote Desroches, Denis, or Fregate islands.
5. Île Sainte-Marie, Madagascar
Île Sainte-Marie lies just off the coast of eastern Madagascar and until a few years ago, your luggage would have been transported from the tiny airport to your hotel on a wheelbarrow. This tropical paradise boasts sunshine all year long, incredibly warm waters and perfect white sand beaches fringed with palm trees. The island was a popular haven for pirates during the 17th century, and there’s a pirate cemetery near the main town. You can view humpback whales in season (July to September) and dive among gorgeous coral gardens. Stay at upscale eco-resort Princesse Bora; check into mid-range Baboo Village or save money at comfortable 2-star option Vanivola.
6. Llandudno Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
The Blue Flag Llandudno Beach, wedged between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, is without a doubt one of Cape Town’s most picturesque beaches. As it is located at the bottom of one of Cape Town’s most desirable residential areas, with expensive houses and famed residents, the beach has a certain exclusivity to it.
As you wind your way down through the bush-lined pathway towards the beach, you’ll immediately be surprised by the beauty of the soft white sands and glittering turquoise ocean, contrasted with the magnificent surrounding mountain ranges. The beach is secluded by enormous granite boulders on either side that shelter the sands from most winds and it is rarely overcrowded due to the limited parking space.
The beach is popular for sun bathing, picnics, sundowners, surfing, body boarding, beach games, and dog walkers. Most surfers enter the water with wetsuits, but the water is great for swimming if you can brave the icy water. Facilities include two ablution blocks and an established lifesaving club. While traders usually walk the beaches in the summer months selling ice creams and cool drinks, there are no nearby shops, so bring along anything you may need for the day.
7. Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Those with a taste for extreme adventure should consider a trip to Namibia’s isolated Skeleton Coast. This untamed stretch of coastline starts just north of Swakopmund and extends 300 miles/500 kilometers to the Angolan border. It is characterized by soaring dunes that drop off abruptly into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and although it’s certainly not a place for sunbathing or socializing, it is one of the world’s last true wildernesses. Nature lovers can spot vast Cape fur seal colonies in addition to desert-adapted elephants and hyenas. Abandoned shipwrecks like the Eduard Bohlen make for fascinating photographs. The northern Skeleton Coast National Park is only accessible by fly-in safari with a licensed operator.
8. Belle Mare, Mauritius
The sunrise from the quiet beach of Belle Mare, on the east coast of Mauritius, is worth the bleary-eyed wake-up call. Although it’s known for its fine white sand, you’re likely to find a secluded space along this barely-developed stretch of beach.
The beach at Belle Mare is located near the town of Mahebourg on the South East coast of Mauritius, between Belle Mare and Pointe de Flacq. By visiting the beach you will find long stretches of sandy pristine white, turquoise sea with crystal clear water surrounded by large casuarina trees. The beach is surrounded by unspoilt nature as there has been little development on this side of the island except for the hotels and few luxury villas.
The beach at Belle Mare is considered as the most beautiful beach in Mauritius by many holiday makers, but also remains very popular among the inhabitants of the island who visit the beach mainly on weekends and holidays. This part of the island is very authentic and keeps the spirit of the island intact facing the rapid development that know the other cities in the coastal regions in particular Grand Bay, Flic en Flac and Black River.
9. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
For an idyllic tropical island beach, Bazaruto, the namesake of Bazaruto Archipelago, wins hands-down.The island’s lazy sand beaches stretch forever into clear turquoise water, before dropping off into the Indian Ocean, and palm trees dangle over the beach creating perfect cocktail-sipping shade.
Today it is hard to believe that there could exist such a holiday destination as this – totally unspoiled, only crafted by wind and water. Situated far from the mainland, the remote place is divine. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water, dunes, constantly being sculpted by wind, and a few lodges, offering the ultimate relaxation.
Surprisingly there are plenty of activities to do here: fishing, sailing safaris, water skiing, paragliding and more. The animal lovers can watch dolphins, flamingos and whales. Paragliders Jody MacDonald and Gavin McClurg were probably the first to fly here. Mesmerized by the views, the adventurers captured them in the stunning photos.
10. Praia das Bananas, São Tomé and Príncipe
This is Príncipe’s most famous beach – perfect for swimming, with white sand curving in a banana shape around turquoise waters. The easiest way to visit is to stay at Belo Monte. Another way of exploring the beach is on a 25-minute boat trip from Bom Bom.
There is hardly a shoreline quieter and perfect for a-relax-and-reflect getaway spot than Banana Beach on the tiny island of Principe, off the western coast of Africa. Its clear, shallow waters, forest-fringed edges and, quite likely, no other tourist in sight character are as inspiring as they are energizing. Some of the world’s best deep-sea fishing waters are off the coast of Príncipe.
We know we definitely haven’t covered all beautiful beaches of the continent. if you think we missed a crucial beach in our list of 10 most beautiful beaches in Africa, add a number 11 on the comment section.