The sun is warm on your face. As you stand up, a slight breeze moves the air around you. The baked white sand heats the bottom of your feet as they carry you towards the ocean. Water laps softly over your toes, and, as you wade deeper, the transparent sea surrounds you in its cool but refreshing embrace. You stroll back to your deck chair, book, and G&T… the stresses of life having long since exited your mind.
Although Africa is renowned for its safari holidays, the continent and its surrounds hold some of the world’s most exquisite beaches. Here are some of our favourites. Warning: get ready to experience extreme levels of wanderlust.
1. Tsarabanjina beach: Madagascar
This tiny idyllic island is located off the coast of Madagascar, near Nosy Be. Home to dreamy turquoise waters and powdery sand, the remote beach is also devoid of crowds as the island is only accessible via boat.
[caption id="attachment_32358" align="alignnone" width="2448"] Tsarabanjina Resort[/caption]
2. Watamu beach: Kenya
In Kenya’s Watamu National Marine Park you’ll come across this quiet sandy paradise. A renowned snorkelling destination, this beach hides beauty beneath its ocean surface as well.
[caption id="attachment_32360" align="alignnone" width="3888"] Filip Lachowski[/caption]
3. Anse Source d’Argent: Seychelles
Surrounded by towering smooth boulders and cascading jungle, Anse Source d’Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in this region. Finished by soft snow-coloured sand and dreamy cerulean ocean, this beach is nothing short of spectacular.
[caption id="attachment_32361" align="alignnone" width="5128"] Jean-Marie Hullot[/caption]
4. Nungwi beach: Zanzibar
Home to a plethora of travel-brochure beaches, most of Zanzibar’s coastlines will leave you starry-eyed and drooling, including the picture-perfect Nungwi beach. With unimaginably turquoise water and practically untouched sand, it's perfection personified.
[caption id="attachment_32362" align="alignnone" width="800"] Moongateclimber[/caption]
5. Camps Bay beach: Cape Town
With prime views of the Twelve Aspostles Mountain Range, combined with sky blue water and powdery white sand, Camps Bay is certainly one of the Mother City’s most renowned beaches. Although the water is a little chilly, this is the place to be on a hot day — the views will never disappoint.
6. Anse Georgette: Seychelles
One of the less frequented beaches of Praslin, Anse Georgette is no less beautiful. Often less crowded than other beaches and with unbelievably clear water, this beach is pure paradise for water babies.
[caption id="attachment_32366" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Fabio Achilli[/caption]
7. Diani beach: Kenya
You’ll find Diani Beach approximately 30km south of Mombasa along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. With dense verdant vegetation, platinum sand, turquoise-green sea, and magnificent sunsets, Diani definitely had to make it on to our list.
[caption id="attachment_32367" align="alignnone" width="800"] Łukasz Ciesielski[/caption]
8. Boulders Beach: Cape Town
Home to idyllic scenery and a large colony of African penguins, Boulders is hidden in Simon’s Town, just outside of Cape Town. A visit to this renowned beach means you are likely to share a swim with these amazing flightless birds.
[caption id="attachment_32368" align="alignnone" width="3574"] Bas Leenders[/caption]
9. Anse Intendance: Seychelles
Found on Mahe Island, Anse Intendance is yet another picture-perfect Seychelles spot. With a luscious green-covered mountain backdrop and only one resort, this wild and unspoiled beach is also a favourite surfing location.
[caption id="attachment_32369" align="alignnone" width="5323"] Jean-Marie Hullot[/caption]
10. Pemba Island: Zanzibar Archipelago
Located off the coast of Tanzania near Zanzibar is the remote and unspoiled Pemba Island. Known as the “Green Island” in the past, Pemba is home to lush tropical greenery and is surrounded by lagoons, mangroves, and coral reefs.
[caption id="attachment_32370" align="alignnone" width="3854"] Marcel Oosterwijk[/caption]
11. Flic en Flac beach: Mauritius
Packed with picturesque sandy spots, Mauritius is one of the most popular Indian Ocean islands. Flic en Flac is everything you think of when you dream of Mauritius: silver sand, clear water, and lush greenery… African island paradise.
[caption id="attachment_32371" align="alignnone" width="640"] Sandy Marie[/caption]
12. Île aux Nattes: Madagascar
You’ll find this teeny tropical island just off the southern tip of Sainte Marie, near Madagascar. Only 3km in diameter, this island is the real-life version of your tropical island dreams. Blue skies, cream-coloured sand, palm trees, and azure-gradient ocean… need I say more?
[caption id="attachment_32372" align="alignnone" width="3072"] Gloumouth1[/caption]
13. Anse Lazio: Seychelles
Located on Praslin Island, this picturesque combination of sand and sea is flanked by mountain peaks on each side and sheltered by a thick collection of palm and takamaka trees. Whether you snorkel, swim or tan there’s no way of ignoring the dazzling scenery of this legendary beach.
[caption id="attachment_32373" align="alignnone" width="3264"] Bjørn Christian Tørrissen[/caption]
14: Clifton: Cape Town
Next to Camps Bay you’ll find Clifton’s four beaches. Smaller and more sheltered than their renowned neighbour, the white sand and blue waters are an ideal host on windier days or in the evening when the sun makes its daily descent.