3 Incredible Beach Holidays in Africa
Madagascar and the Seychelles might be well known, but the beaches surrounding the continent of Africa itself are dramatic and diverse. With a coastline offering everything from ancient ports, to forest fringed white sands and transparent waters, a beach holiday on the shores of Africa should not be overlooked. Here’s a guide to three of the best.
Roughly two hours from Marrakesh, the ancient port of Essaouira on the West coast of Africa was first made popular during the sixties, when Mick Jagger and Maria Callas spent time there. Since then, Essaouira has upped its game, offering luxury hotels alongside atmospheric traditional Riad’s. The 10 kilometres of sandy beaches, water-sports, fine restaurants, a Sofitel Hotel and a Gary Player golf course mean Essaouira has joined the 21st century, but neither has it lost any of its bohemian charm. A traditional walled medina, fish shacks on the beach, the scent of spices in the air, and the maze of ancient winding streets tick all the boxes for a charming and authentic holiday experience. Known for a laid back vibe with friendly locals, even the souk is known for the lack of aggressive sales techniques commonly seen in Marrakesh.
JOURNEY: 3 – 4 hours flying from London. There are no direct flights to Essaouira from the UK, so fly from Manchester, Gatwick or Heathrow to Marrakech then transfer by Bus or Train.
Tanzania and Zanzibar
Located on the East of Africa, here you’ll find some of the most secluded beaches in the world. The true beach lover will be able to indulge in some true me time, stretched out on the sands, or swimming in the azure Indian Ocean, beneath endless blue skies and year-round temperatures of around 30 degrees. The islands of Tanzania and Zanzibar include Unguja, Pemba, and Mafia Island, renowned as one of the best diving destinations on the East African coast. Apart from endless white sands and snorkelling and diving opportunities, Unguja boasts historic palaces and forts, while Pemba is an uninhabited island paradise popular with honeymooners, rich in spice plantations and coconut tree studded unspoilt beaches. A visit to any of these islands will have you reconsidering the rat race and dreaming of your very own hut on the beach, in true Robinson Crusoe style.
Journey: 10 – 15 hours from the UK. BA fly direct to Dar-es-Salaam, or via Amsterdam with KLM or Kenya Airways.
Mozambique has put its troubled history to rest, and Tofo has earned a great reputation as a tourist destination largely for its beautiful sandy beaches. That said, it also boasts great nightlife, a laid back atmosphere, and good restaurants – only 20km from the historic port city and airport of Inhambane. Holiday in Tofo, and you can enjoy horse riding, deep sea fishing, and surfing, or scuba dive with the Manta Rays, whale sharks and dolphins in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean.
Journey: No direct flights between the UK and Mozambique. Southern Mozambique is accessed from South Africa.
Bill Turner is an athlete, entrepreneur and freelance writer who specialises in guest blogging. He enjoys spending time with his dogs and family when he’s not traveling for business.