Africa, the world’s second-largest continent, is blessed with an incredible array of natural wonders, including its breathtaking beaches. With an expansive 18,950 miles of coastline, Africa is home to some of the most stunning beaches on the planet. From the palm-fringed shores of the Seychelles to the dramatic landscapes of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, these top 10 beaches in Africa are sure to leave you in awe. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey to discover the unparalleled beauty of the African coastline.
1. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
Highlights: Diving and snorkeling in colorful coral reefs in the marine park
Located off the coast of Mozambique within the Bazaruto Archipelago Marine Park, Bazaruto Island boasts some of the most captivating beaches in Africa. Set against a backdrop of swaying palms and towering sand dunes, the warm, turquoise blue waters and pristine white sandy beaches create a picture-perfect vision of paradise.
The Bazaruto Archipelago is renowned for its exceptional diving experiences, with the coral reefs surrounding the island providing excellent snorkeling opportunities. Bazaruto Island can be reached by boat or small plane, with accommodations ranging from budget guesthouses to the luxurious Beyond Benguerra on a neighboring isle.
2. Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Highlights: Cape Town’s top beach, views of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostle peaks
Situated just a 10-minute drive from downtown Cape Town, Camps Bay Beach is one of South Africa’s most beloved beaches. Boasting striking views of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostle peaks, the white sands of Camps Bay are ideal for sunbathing. Although the water is too cold for the average swimmer, the beach is a popular spot for beach volleyball and relaxing on summer weekends.
Our favorite place to stay on this beach is South Beach Camps Bay, a boutique hotel featuring original modern South African art and Miami-inspired studios with white-on-white decor, full kitchens, and private balconies for watching the fiery nightly sunsets.
Camps Bay is just one of many top beaches within a 30-minute drive of Cape Town. The nearby Clifton Beaches are equally popular, with four coves protected from wind and accessible via a steep set of stairs leading down from the main road.
3. Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Highlights: Swimming in the emerald-meets-turquoise sea at high tide off Nungwi Beach, when the water finally gets deep enough
A visit to Zanzibar Island off the Tanzanian Coast is a truly magical experience, with Nungwi Beach being one of the island’s most extraordinary attractions. Rich in culture and natural beauty, Zanzibar boasts lively bazaars, traditional wooden dhows navigating the clear turquoise waters, and the Swahili coastal trading center of Stone Town.
Nungwi Beach, located at the northern tip of the island, offers pristine white sands, swaying palm trees, and stunning emerald ocean views. Once a simple fishing village, Nungwi has evolved into a popular vacation destination with excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities just offshore.
4. Anse Source D’Argent, La Digue Island, Seychelles
Highlights: The luminous turquoise sea is super photogenic, and there is good snorkeling offshore
Nestled in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Madagascar, the islands of the Seychelles have long been a sought-after vacation spot for the rich and famous. Among the hundreds of gorgeous beaches scattered throughout this archipelago, Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue Island stands out as the most exquisite.
Here, the lush jungle cascades into immense granite boulders beyond a snow-white beach and a sea so luminously turquoise it appears almost surreal. The beach offers excellent snorkeling opportunities offshore, with more exclusive and private beaches found around resorts on Desroches, Denis, and Fregate Islands. The best times to visit the Seychelles are in April and May or October and November when skies are typically sunny and blue.
5. Naama Bay, Egypt
Highlights: White-sand beach with clear, calm blue water; good diving in offshore reefs
Situated on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Naama Bay is the heart of the country’s premier beach resort, Sharm el-Sheikh. The white-sand beach borders the clear, calm, blue waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, with Saudi Arabia’s rugged coastline visible in the distance.
In winter, Naama Bay becomes a bustling hub for Europeans seeking to escape the cold. The area surrounding Sharm el-Sheikh is also renowned for its diving opportunities within the coral reefs of Ras Mohammed National Park, catering to divers of all levels. Excellent snorkeling is available in the area as well.
Numerous lodging options can be found around this beach, with Movenpick Resort Sharm El Sheikh offering a modern resort experience overlooking the bay from its cliffside location. A good mid-range option is Oonas Dive Club Hotel, where guests can also learn to scuba dive.
6. Île Sainte-Marie, Madagascar
Highlight: Visiting between July and September to see humpback whales just offshore
As one of Africa’s most unique and undiscovered countries, Madagascar is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Just off the eastern coast lies one of its top beach vacation spots: Île Sainte-Marie.
This tropical paradise features year-round sunny skies, long stretches of immaculate white-sand beaches fringed with swaying palm trees, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. From July to September, visitors can witness humpback whales just off the coastline, while excellent diving can be found among the untouched coral gardens.
7. Shela Beach, Lamu Island, Kenya
Highlights: Spending a day island-hopping on a traditional dhow; exploring the streets of Lamu Town
For a truly unforgettable experience, head to Lamu Island off the Kenyan coast north of Mombasa. Shela Beach, located near the laid-back village of Shela, offers crystal-clear aquamarine and turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, palm trees, and fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the region’s rich culture by exploring Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest settlements in Kenya, dating back 700 years. Alternatively, embark on an island-hopping adventure aboard a traditional dhow, discovering hidden beaches and local fishing villages along the way.
8. Agadir, Morocco
Highlights: Family-friendly beach and resort town, located on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coastline
Agadir, situated on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast, is home to the country’s most famous golden-sand beach. This family-friendly beach and resort town is especially popular among European travelers in winter, who flock here to escape the cold.
The beach is divided into several areas, including two private sections, Palm Beach and Sunset Beach, which are reserved for guests of the resorts located on them. For families, Iberostar Founty Beach offers a range of kid-focused activities and a beautiful stretch of sand.
9. Coffee Bay, South Africa
Highlight: Visiting Hole In The Wall to watch the waves crashing through
Located along South Africa’s rugged Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province, Coffee Bay is an awe-inspiring beach where green hills and cliffs meet golden sands and the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean. While the sea can be rough and moody, making it unsuitable for swimming, Coffee Bay’s wild beauty is perfect for long walks and admiring the dramatic landscapes.
Just eight kilometers from Coffee Bay lies Hole In The Wall, a rock formation at the mouth of the Mpako River that offers a spectacular display of force as waves crash through it.
10. Bom Bom Beach, Principe
Highlights: Seeing nesting sea turtles; participating in whale watching, snorkeling, or deep sea fishing excursions
Bom Bom Beach, located on the smaller of the two islands that make up São Tomé and Príncipe, offers visitors a remote and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Situated on the island’s northern shore, this idyllic beach is part of Bom Bom Principe Island, an eco-friendly hotel set within beachfront cabins and featuring an on-site restaurant.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to observe nesting sea turtles, while whale watching, snorkeling, and deep sea fishing excursions are also popular activities. The best time to visit this remote destination is during the dry season, between June and October.
In conclusion, Africa’s diverse coastline offers a myriad of breathtaking beaches, each with its own unique charm and allure. From the tranquil shores of Bazaruto Island to the rugged beauty of the Skeleton Coast, these top 10 beaches in Africa provide the perfect setting for unforgettable adventures and unparalleled relaxation. So, why wait? Start planning your dream African beach vacation today.