Many travelers associate Africa with its rich biodiversity. But that’s not the only thing to write home about this massive continent.
Africa is so segmented that each region has a unique highlight, depending on what tourists are looking for. If your itinerary includes traversing western and northern Africa, you’ll probably be thinking along the lines of desert hikes and Nile cruises. The regions towards the eastern and southern Africa are known for their immense wildlife safari opportunities. But when it comes to amazing beaches, Africa has plenty of them spread across its vast coastlines.
This post shall highlight the continent’s most iconic beaches.
1. Diani Beach, Kenya
Diani Beach is located roughly 30 kilometers south of Mombasa, in the neighboring Kwale County. The beach has been voted as Africa’s leading beach destination for six consecutive years.
To get there, you’ll likely fly from Nairobi into either the Moi International Airport in Mombasa or Ukunda Airstrip that’s 1.7 kilometers from Diani Beach. From here, your local tour guide will facilitate a road drive to the beach.
Diani is famous for a variety of water activities, including sailing, swimming, jet-skiing, snorkeling, and kitesurfing. You might also consider camel rides or go skydiving for a better view of the blue waters and the rolling landscapes. There are numerous cruises that follow the less-traveled paths into some of the most secluded spots, such as the Robinson Island, Fort Jesus, and Wasini Island.
The Shimba Hills National Reserve and the Colobus Conservation Centre located nearby are famous points of interest for nature lovers. The latter destination is a haven for the endangered black-and-white colobus monkey.
The best time to plan a trip to Diani Beach is during the cooler months of July to September or the hotter and drier months from January to March.
Camels walking along Diani Beach
2. Mnemba Island, Tanzania
Mnemba Island is a private island nestled off the north coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. The island is part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, and often features among the top beach destinations recommended for couples and honeymooners. Mnemba is Zanzibar’s most popular snorkeling destination.
The easiest way to get to the beach is to fly into Zanzibar Airport, then take a one-hour drive to Nungwi. From here, you’ll chart the rest of the distance on a boat ride, a trip of about 20 minutes.
Your tour guide will likely drop you off at the reef, from where you’ll glimpse Moorish idols, clownfish, and blue tang just within a few feet of water. If you’re snorkeling closer to the sea bed, you can sight the Red-knobbed starfish, green turtles, and blue starfish, while keeping an eye out for the poisonous coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish. You can also watch the whales or swim with the dolphins and sharks on the island’s pristine waters. Besides snorkeling, another highlight here is scuba diving.
Being an exclusive destination for couples, there’s only one accommodation facility on Mnemba Island – the Mnemba Island Lodge – which is a collection of private beach cottages.
The best times to go to Mnemba Island is either during the drier and hotter months of December to February, during the SuperBowl period. Or the cooler and drier months of June to October.
3. Belle Mare Beach, Mauritius
The island of Mauritius may be relatively tiny geographically, but it isn’t short of amazing beaches. The Belle Mare Beach is located in east Mauritius, near the traditional village of Belle Mare. The easiest way to get to the beach from Port Louis is by road, a trip that takes about half an hour.
Though Belle Mare is primarily a paradise getaway for couples and honeymooners, it also packs numerous attractions for thrill-seeking souls out there. The beach is conveniently protected by the coral reef, offering excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
Belle Mare is also characterized by fine white sands, crystal clear waters, and cyan lagoons. You can go on endless sunbathing strolls along the beach, occasionally shading under the numerous casuarina trees.
Lux* Belle Mare, the world’s famous luxury resort, is located close-by, making it easy for travelers to sample lots of indigenous and exotic delicacies.
Other nearby tourist destinations include the Trek Lion Mountain and the stunning island of Ile aux Cerfs. The best period to visit Belle Mare is during the hotter and drier months of October and December.
A scuba diver underwater
4. North Beach, South Africa
North Beach is a bustling beach that’s located between Dairy Beach and the Bay of Plenty, just outside Durban City. The easiest way to get to North Beach is to take a cab or shuttle, either of which takes roughly 20 minutes.
The beach is especially popular during the festive season, with thousands of tourists all over the world flocking the beach to savor its warm waters. The beach is known for its numerous swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding activities.
Due to its proximity to the lively Durban city, North Beach hosts all kinds of tourists, from watersports freaks to beachcombers and even cyclists. As you stroll along the beach, you’ll frequently bump into joggers and regular revelers looking to take advantage of the many beachfront cafes and restaurants.
Other leisure attractions within North Beach include an ice-skating rink, a saltwater swimming pool, and a skate park. If you’re only interested in taking in the sights, you can make it to any of the piers to get unhindered views of the seascape.
The summer months of December to March are ideal for visiting, though they often register more rainfall compared to the winter months from June through August.
5. Anse Soleil Beach, Seychelles
Anse Soleil is located on the southwestern coast of Mahe, Seychelles. The beach is characterized by its jungle setting, which blends harmoniously with the clear waters, making it a unique destination for a romantic getaway.
Anse Soleil Beach is roughly 26 kilometers from Victoria, and the easiest way to get there is to take a road drive along the La Misere Rd and W Coast Rd.
The beach is a haven for beachcombers, swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. Its reefs are healthy and well-maintained, providing snorkelers and scuba divers a chance to glimpse at some of the country’s rare marine animals, such as the Hawksbill turtle and clownfish. The relative shallowness of the beach makes it easy for beginner swimmers to take their chances with the calm waters of the Anse Soleil Beach.
A notable point of interest nearby is the Morne Seychellois National Park, which features plenty of hiking trails through a neon-green forest, winding their way around the country’s highest peak.
The best time to visit Anse Soleil Beach is during the months of April and May, as well as October and November, when conditions are cooler and drier.
A tourist combing through the beach
One thing that sets African beaches apart is their relative warmth, rich marine biodiversity, and super-friendly locals. If you’re planning a safari tour of Africa, why not consider including any of the above beaches in your itinerary?