Beach Holidays in Africa — Dive into Paradise!

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Africa is a well-known destination for safari adventures, but there is more to Africa than just safaris.

The surrealistic coastline along the Dark Continent offers countless destinations for beach holidays in Africa!

I have listed here what I consider to be the best beach holidays in Africa, each one offering an unforgettable experience with everlasting memories.

Garden Route

South Africa is quite an attractive destination for a beach vacation and offers a tremendous number of destinations to choose from.

For instance, only for the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, there are more than 35 beaches along the way!

Victoria Bay located between George and Wilderness is very popular with tourists and has the safest beaches for swimming as well as for surfing.

KwaZulu-Natal Coastline

Many regions in South Africa are also well renowned for beach holidays and among them, the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is on South Africa’s eastern seaboard. The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is divided into two regions: The North and south coasts.

The KwaZulu-Natal North Coast includes the towns of Ballito and Salt Rock both exceptional destinations for swimming and surfing.

The KwaZulu-Natal South Coast encompasses the towns of Margate, Scottburgh, and Port Edward. The landscape of the South Coast harbors many golden beaches, lagoons, and sub-tropical forests as well as impressive birdlife.

Along the South Coast, a rocky reef named Aliwal Shoal is a famous destination for scuba diving and the home to a wide variety of marine wildlife such as subtropical species of fish and Grey Nurse Sharks.

Also, the Protea Banks, a reef along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast near Margate is the world’s top destination for diving with sharks, particularly bull sharks and tiger sharks.

The main attraction on the South Coast is the annual sardine run. This sardine migration takes place between the months of May through July (late autumn and early winter).

Millions of sardines migrate to escape the cold water along the Agulhas Banks toward the warmer water on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline and up to Mozambique where they give birth to their offsprings.

The shoal of sardines is closely followed by various predators including dolphins, sharks, whales, and birds. The annual sardine run is often compared to the wildebeest migration in Tanzania.

Lake Malawi   

Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake in the heart of the Dark Continent. The lake is bordered by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Lake Malawi is known as Lake Nyasa by Tanzanians and hosts a vast array of marine wildlife that comprises more than 1000 species of colorful cichlid fish.

The clear water of the lake makes it one of the most sought-after destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving. Many lodges are spread out around the lake. Among the available activities, there are water skiing, parasailing, sailing, and Wakeboarding.

If you are looking to mix it up a bit, why not combine a game drive adventure in Tanzania or Kenya with a relaxing beach holiday at Lake Malawi?

Zanzibar Archipelago

The Zanzibar Archipelago off the Tanzanian coast encloses more than 50 islands, and the best-known island is by far Unguja also called by many, Zanzibar.

The Archipelago’s notoriety comes from its slave trade in the 19th century and its spices that include: cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Beach Holidays in Africa — Zanzibar Beach View.

Of course, Zanzibar Island is well-renowned for its white sandy beaches and its turquoise water making it a top-ranked destination for scuba diving.

Discover the barrier reef along with its vast biodiversity of wildlife.

However, if you are interested in exploring further the island, you should combine a visit to a local spice farm with an excursion in the Jozani forest where an encounter with one of Africa’s rarest primates, the red colobus monkey is a definite possibility!

Seychelles Archipelago

The Seychelles Archipelago contains more than 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean. Seychelles is the ideal tropical destination for a romantic holiday with postcard-perfect beaches.

Beach Holidays in Africa — View of the Seychelles Island.

Seychelles constitutes an underwater paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving, enabling you to explore the shallow reefs, swim among clouds of exotic fishes, whales, and sharks, and maybe if you are lucky, have an encounter with the sea turtles!

Mahe Island is the largest of the Archipelago and encloses 90% of the Seychelles’ population. The island offers excellent opportunities for hiking since it harbors the highest peak of Seychelles: Morne Seychellois.

Bazaruto Archipelago

The Bazaruto Archipelago is made up of five islands situated off the shore of southern Mozambique. The two largest islands of the Archipelago are Benguerra and Bazaruto.

During the 1970s, the Bazaruto National Park was created to protect marine wildlife and the coral reefs surrounding Bazaruto Island.

Beach Holidays in Africa — View of the Bazaruto Dunes, Mozambique.

There is rich marine wildlife that includes many fish species, sea turtles, and devil rays to name a few.

The Bazaruto Archipelago with its transparent water allowing visibility up to 40m (about 130 feet) deep is one of the best destinations in the world for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Also, off the coast of the Bazaruto Archipelago, you can enjoy game fishing excursions for the Black Marlin.

Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast is a coastal region in the northern part of Namibia. The name ‘Skeleton Coast’ comes mainly from the presence of an enormous number of skeletons, more specifically whales and seals, due to the past whaling industry.

However, this is quite a unique vacation at the beach! There will be no relaxing or swimming because the water never warms up enough to allow you to dip your toes in it!

The reason for this is the presence of a cold ocean current called: the ‘Benguela current’ that originates from Antarctica.

The meeting of that cold current with the warm air of the Namib Desert creates a dense ocean fog along the coast.

Beach Holidays in Africa — Namib Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia.
Joachim Huber, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The persistent foggy conditions are the cause of many shipwrecks along the coast. The most famous wreck on the Skeleton Coast is without a doubt the British liner called ‘Dunedin Star.’

In 1944, John Henry Marsh wrote a book about the many shipwrecks along the coast, titled: Skeleton Coast. As a result of the book’s fame, the name ‘Skeleton Coast’ was given to the Namibian coastline.

Skeleton Coast is one of the most impressive shorelines in the world and the perfect destination for your vacation. A vast array of landscapes can be found which include sand dunes, desert plains, fossil beds, and unusual vegetation.

Conclusion

The African coastline is the ideal destination for a beach holiday. Not only you can unwind on the various pristine beaches, but also explore the coral reefs off the coast and swim among the rich and diverse marine wildlife.

If you are interested in a different kind of beach holiday and want to go off the beaten path to uncover the breathtaking white sandy beaches, you can read my full review of a Zanzibar Escape, by clicking here.

If you have any questions about beach holidays or would like to share your thoughts about which beaches in Africa are among the top destinations for a vacation in Africa, please leave a comment below. I would love to get your feedback!

Photo of author

Sonia Zannoni

My name is Sonia, a traveler enthusiast and the CEO of Wildlife Safari Adventures. My goal with Wildlife Safari Adventures is to provide insightful information to help you better plan your African travels. Are you ready to uncover the many facets of the Dark Continent?

4 thoughts on “Beach Holidays in Africa — Dive into Paradise!”

  1. Wow, so much great information.

    I love the beaches, and I’d love to see the Seychelles Archipelago. It looks amazing. When I think of Africa, I don’t think about beaches. I’m sure others feel the same. So I think your website will be popular.

    Debra

    Reply
    • Personally, I find the Zanzibar Archipelago to be quite attractive with the spice aroma in the air, but the Seychelles Islands offer breathtaking landscapes, which should be used for the Christmas card!

      Reply
  2. These are all really excellent options. I’d never known that Lake Malawi could be such a versatile place — beaching and safari-ing in the same trip! At the same time, the Skeleton Coast sounds as spooky as its’ name, with an appeal of its’ very own. Fantastic research and pictures! A sight for sore eyes after a long winter. Keep it up!

    Reply
    • What can I say? Before writing this post, I would never have thought that Africa could be a destination for a Beach Holiday! However, Seychelles and the Zanzibar Islands are definitely my favorite destinations for a vacation and are included on my bucket list!

      Reply

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