Africa has over 18,000 miles of coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The island country of Madagascar has the longest coastline with 3000 miles and is home to some exotic animals, plants, and of course stunning, remote beaches.
A list has been put together by Travel and Leisure that includes what they have picked as the 10 best beaches in Africa for those interested in various activities. These activities include snorkeling, surfing, cultural shows, simply relaxing, and more. Each location offers something different to satisfy all your varying interests.
Mafia Island, Tanzania for Snorkeling and Whale Sharks
The lesser known Mafia Island is located 100 miles south of the popular island of Zanzibar. This small island has uncrowded beaches like Butiama Beach or Chole Bay that are ideal for those who love snorkeling. The island has vibrant reefs that are part of a protected preserve home to various marine life. Mafia Island has a population of about 40,000 residents and attracts tourists that are interested in scuba diving, birdwatching and fishing. Those interested in visiting Mafia Island and its many stunning beaches can do so by flying into Mafia Airport from Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam.
Loango National Park in Gabon for Best Wildlife Scenery
If your fantasy beach getaway includes elephants roaming the beach and hippos surfing, then Loango National park in Gabon might be just the perfect place for you. This unreal place is referred to as Africa’s Last Eden by naturalist Mike Fay. Besides Elephants and hippos, you can also spot buffalos, gorillas, and leopards lounging by the beach. Tourists can stay at either the Longo Lodge or at one of the two campsites fitted with tents.
Cabo Ledo, Angola for Surfing
If surfing is more your thing, then you might just love Cabo Ledo in Angola. You might not think of this Southern African nation as a beach getaway destination, but you might be surprised by what it has to offer. Located a couple of hours from the capital city, Cabo Ledo is becoming a popular destination for those looking for a hidden gem. You can take a guided day trip from the capital or venture out on your own to catch the waves. There are great accommodations lining the beach like resorts, restaurants, and cafes. The waves are said to be the best from May until October.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa for Best Family Swims
Located on the Eastern coast of South Africa, this wetland park is the country’s third-largest protected area. The coastline stretches 136 miles and offers beautiful and unspoiled beaches that are perfect for family getaways. The park is designated as a world heritage site due to the rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems. You can find various ecosystems like coral reefs, savannas, and wetlands here.
Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique for Best Luxurious Submersion
The Bazaruto Archipelago is a group of 5 islands in Mozambique. This archipelago became a nation park in 1971. Today, tourists can indulge in surfing, fishing, diving, or simply relaxing on one of the many stunning beaches. Stay at one of the luxurious resorts and partake in romantic picnics on private islands, go scuba diving, or swim with horses. Just be warned that this “Best Luxurious Submersion” pick comes at a hefty price tag where you will likely spend upwards of $1000 per person, per night.
Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi for Best Cherry Resorts
Ok, this one is not the type of beach we have been talking about, but the enormous size of Lake Malawi will make one feel like they’re standing by the sea. Cape Maclear is a town located on the southern shore of Lake Malawi. It’s the busiest resort on the lake and a popular destination for backpackers. There are affordable options for lodging and plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Visitors can partake in activities such as snorkeling, boat cruises, iking, diving, and kayaking.
Grand Popo in Republic of Benin for Culture
Did you know that Benin is the birthplace of the Voodoo religion? If you’re fond of being by the sea and discovering new cultures but not necessarily swimming, then the Grand Popo might be the perfect place for you. The expansive sandy beaches of Grand Popo are not suitable for swimming due to dangerous rip currents. That means visitors flock to the area for cultural festivals, including the Fete du Vaudou, held in January every year.
Margarida, Principe for Remote Relaxation
Margarida beach is located on the Principe part of the two island nation Sao Tome and Principe. Located 130 miles off mainland West Africa, this isolated nation offers some of the most remote beaches in Africa. Margarida is one of those islands. This paradise can only be reached by boat or foot and offers warm, emerald green waters.
Bruce Beach, Bijagos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau for Best Rustic Vibes
Bruce Beach is located across the peninsula from Bubaque Island, the most populated island out of the 88 islands that make up the Bijagos archipelago. Although there are 88 islands, only 20 of them are permanently populated. Bruce beach has white sands and inviting warm waters as well as rustic beach camps and fresh seafood.
Elmina, Ghana for History Buffs
It’s no secret that Ghana has long been an attractive destination for history buffs. Elmina is one of the many historical beaches in Africa. It is home to St George’s Castle, the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa, which was built in 1482. The Cape Coast Castle Museum is one of many “slave castles” that was later turned into a museum. It was originally a slave trading post and now contains a growing collection of art and cultural and historical objects.