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Best Beaches in Africa

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Boats on tropical sea coast with sandy beach at sunset in Tanzania, Zanzibar on the continent of Africa

Zanzibar, Tanzania

With pristine shores and inviting waters, the best beaches in Africa will complement the dramatic interior landscape and wildlife wonders on a safari and beach vacation.

The beaches can range from indelibly tropical, fringed by coconut palms and postcard panoramas, to epic in scale, with forests and mountain backdrops that feel guarded by the natural habitat. From fine sands to warm waters, boulders to curling waves, the beaches across the continent are diverse and mesmerizing.

Spending time on Africa’s best beaches can immerse you in the beauty of the Indian Ocean coastline for the perfect way to accentuate your adventure as you explore or unwind under the African sun.

  1. 1. Camps Bay, Cape Town
  2. 2. Mahe Island, Seychelles
  3. 3. Zanzibar, Tanzania
  4. 4. Thanda Island, Tanzania
  5. 5. Dolphin Coast, South Africa
  6. 6. Diani Chale Marine National Reserve, Kenya
  7. 7. The Garden Route, South Africa
  8. 8. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
  9. Explore the Best Beaches in Africa

1. Camps Bay, Cape Town

Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

Surely one of the most photogenic and captivating beach towns in Africa, Camps Bay in Cape Town possesses white sand that hugs the west coast of the continent.

The colorful exteriors of restaurants and houses contrast the mountainous backdrop and add to the cosmopolitan ambiance of your beach experience. The Atlantic Ocean refreshes bathers, while upbeat music fills the air as local entertainers sing and dance on the main avenue.

From popular views to tucked-away pockets of sand, each new discovery will add a little adventure to the relaxing ambiance.

Best Beaches: Camps Bay Beach • Clifton 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Beaches

Learn more: Cape Town Vacations

2. Mahe Island, Seychelles

Petite Anse Beach on Mahe Island, Seychelles

Petite Anse Beach on Mahe Island, Seychelles

With an isolated location edged by dense forest and granite cliffs, the silver sands of Mahe Island’s beaches in the Seychelles offer the perfect beach escape.

Separated from the mainland by a remote bay reachable by an intense hike or scenic boat ride, the sands of Petite Anse provide an exquisite view of the crystal-clear waters, a quiet ambiance, and an excellent place to swim in the warm Indian Ocean waters or snorkel in search of colorful tropical marine life.

Relax on the picturesque stretch of coastline at Baie Lazare, indulge in the cooling breeze on Anse Intendance, and embrace the scent of coconut on Beau Vallon.

Best Beaches: Petite Anse Beach • Baie Lazare Beach • Anse Intendance Beach • Beau Vallon Beach

Learn more: Seychelles Vacations & Tours

3. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Beach on the Island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania in Africa

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar’s white-sand beaches offer a place to relax and watch fishermen cast their nets at sunrise, as well as an ocean playground where divers can explore incredible reefs.

Long stretches of pristine sands merge with the warm Indian Ocean, while umbrellas offer shade and a panoramic view.

Experience everything the spice island has to offer, from the intricate detail on beautifully designed resorts to enticing local cuisine, as well as culture that reflects Asian and African influences.

Best Beaches: Nungwi Beach • Bwejuu Beach • Kizimkazi Beach • Michamvi Beach

Learn more: Zanzibar Vacation Packages

4. Thanda Island, Tanzania

Aerial view of Thanda Island

Photo courtesy Thanda Island

The seductive sands of Thanda Island accompany one of the most exclusive private island resorts in East Africa for the perfect beach getaway.

Accented by villas and luxurious chalets, the small island in the Indian Ocean offers access to its own reserve for a panoramic view of marine life that includes nesting turtles and passing whale sharks.

Whether eager to relax on the powdery sands or enjoy the aromas of tropical spices accentuated by the sea breeze, Thanda Island offers the perfect combination of relaxation and exploration in prime luxury.

Best Beach: Thanda Island Private Beach

Learn more: Tanzania Safaris & Vacations

5. Dolphin Coast, South Africa

Tiffanys and Salt Rock Beaches on the Dolphin Coast, South Africa

Tiffanys and Salt Rock Beaches on the Dolphin Coast, South Africa

Discover a sandy wonderland that stretches along the golden KwaZulu-Natal coast in South Africa, where a smattering of rock pools, forests, and endless pathways connect you to the hidden treasures of the coastline.

The sand is golden and the waters of the Indian Ocean feel inviting for swimmers, surfers, and scuba divers. From Ballito to Blythedale, Sheffield to Shaka’s Rock, the beaches are quiet and open.

A proud few belong to a select group of Blue Flag beaches that demand a high standard of cleanliness, safety, and provision of amenities.

Best Beaches: Willard Beach • Salt Rock Beach • Thompson’s Bay

Learn more: South Africa Tours & Vacations

6. Diani Chale Marine National Reserve, Kenya

Diani beach seascape with white sand and turquoise Indian ocean, kenya

Diani Beach in the Diani Chale Marine National Reserve, Kenya

Lying south of Mombasa in Kenya are the exquisite white-sand beaches of Diani Chale Marine National Reserve.

Expansive and inviting, the sands seem to disappear into an aquamarine ocean, where the warm waters are perfect for those wishing to cool off or explore undersea treasures. On land, nearby Shimoni Slave Caves or the Kongo Mosque wait to be discovered. Take a bike ride to Chale Island, hop on a boat to Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park, or spend a day deep-sea fishing.

The beach at Diani is spectacular, where you can choose to relax or explore, meet locals as you walk alongside lapping waters or indulge in the surrounding beauty.

Best Beaches: Diani Beach • Galu Beach • Tiwi Beach

Learn more: Kenya Safari Tours & VacationsKenya Safari Guide

7. The Garden Route, South Africa

Wilderness Beach, on the Garden Route, in Wilderness, South Africa

Wilderness Beach on the Garden Route, South Africa

A stretch of South Africa’s eastern coastline belongs to some of the most popular beaches in the country, supported by quaint tourist towns that beckon visitors to experience their coastal magic.

Stretching from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, the aptly named scenic drive is a mix of forests and lagoons, inlets and open ocean.

Once known as the millionaire’s playground, the beaches have become favorites for local and international holidaymakers who secure their space on the golden sands and eagerly enjoy the endless opportunities to bask in the sun, surf, or engage in an ocean safari.

Best Beaches: Wilderness Beach • Buffalo Bay • Plettenberg Beach

Learn more: South Africa Safari Tours & Vacations

8. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Dhow beach bar on Benguerra Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago of Mozambique

Benguerra Island, Mozambique. Photo Courtesy andBeyond Benguerra Island

An evocative series of sandbanks and uninhabited islets form Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of marine importance that will immerse you in tropical tranquility.

A series of exclusive beach destinations gives the impression of lost-island escapism, with a varnish of luxury service and accommodation. Relax and watch dolphins swim past, enter the clear waters as you snorkel or dive the coral reefs, and bask in the enticing silence.

Best Beaches: Bazaruto Island Beaches • Benguerra Island Beaches

Learn more: South Africa Safaris with Mozambique

Explore the Best Beaches in Africa

Breathtaking sandbanks and turquoise water on an island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

No matter where one chooses to lay their beach towel, the breathtaking white and golden sands of Africa’s best beaches are beautiful and inviting, offering a perfect place to rest, be adventurous in the waters of the Atlantic or Indian oceans, or discover local pastimes and treasures along the African coastline.

To start planning your ideal African beach escape, explore our collection of featured African safari and beach vacations, see amazing Africa bush and beach trips, or browse our Africa travel guide.

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