The Ultimate Guide to an African Beach Safari
Africa is known for its amazing wildlife safaris, but African beaches are also one of a kind. Don’t leave the continent without experiencing the splendor of its white sands and crystal clear waters.
Many of Africa’s finest beaches lie on the east of the continent, on a segment of shoreline called the Swahili Coast. Meandering along the Indian Ocean from Kenya to Mozambique, the Swahili Coast covers miles of tropical waterfront. Thanks to its centuries-long importance as a nexus of international trade, it has a singular culture influenced by Bantu and Arabic traditions.
Nature enthusiasts will love the Swahili Coast’s marine parks, equatorial rain forests, and dazzling coral reefs. Ancient historical sites, spice and fruit plantations, and friendly villages provide opportunities to learn about the region’s rich heritage.
Some of the best beach-going is within the Indian Ocean itself. Zanzibar and the Mafia Archipelago off the Tanzanian coast are notable for their beauty. Further to the east, the idyllic islands of Seychelles glint like pearls in the deep blue waters.
Here, we highlight Africa’s ultimate beach safari destinations. They offer a wonderful way to relax at the end of a journey or escape from the workaday world.
Laze on the beach or climb atop a camel to experience the area from a new perspective.
Kenya Beach Safaris: Exceptional Views from the Swahili Coast
The Kenya coast features long stretches of alabaster beaches fringed between coral headlands and broken by occasional deltas. Lounging on a quiet, sunny beach in Mombasa, you would never guess you were near Kenya’s second largest city and one of the oldest settlements in East Africa.
Dhow boats dot the Swahili Coast.
Mombasa is situated on an island and served by two deep harbors. Kilindini Harbor is a seaport on the southwest side of the island, while Old Mombasa Harbor to the northeast evokes thoughts of earlier centuries. Picturesque dhow sailboats arrive and depart with the monsoon winds.
Palatial Arabic architecture, open-air lounges, and attentive service make a stay on the Mombasa coastline truly special. Take a stroll on velvety soft sands, swim in tropical waters, or surf the blue waves. Take a day excursion to Watamu National Marine Park to dive in its magnificent coral reefs. Or simply take in the tranquil scenery as you bathe in the sun.
Mombasa presents many points of interest for the culturally curious, including the traditional Old Harbor waterfront and fish market, as well as the imposing Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in 1593. Small shops and open-air markets are the perfect venue for purchasing the colorful woven fabric kikois and lighter kangas worn throughout much of East Africa.
Zanzibar offers expansive beaches along with multiple activities such as nature walks, sunset cruises, and historical sites to explore.
Tanzania Beach Safaris: The Best of Mainland and Island
Tanzania is famous for its islands, particularly the archipelagos of Zanzibar and Mafia. But its mainland coast has just as much to offer.
Rimmed with pristine lagoons, the sparsely populated Kigamboni district near Dar Es Salaam is noteworthy for its seclusion and excellent swimming. Snorkel among shipwrecks, wander the coastal forests, or watch baby sea turtles hatch from their nests and make their first journey to the ocean.
See the amazing whale shark — completely safe and common —while you snorkel when you visit Mafia Island.
Mafia Archipelago comprises six small islands off Tanzania’s coast. Far less populated than Zanzibar, it encompasses a string of superb beaches. All are rich in comfort, relaxation, and privacy.
Mafia Island is the largest of the archipelago’s several small isles. For centuries, vast coconut and cashew plantations have flourished on this trading stop between continental Africa and Persia. But it remains little explored by international travelers. If you are looking for a vacation spot that will get you far from the crowd, this is your answer.
Mafia Island and its little sister, Chole Island, are optimal locales for sunbathing and exploring nature. The diving here is incomparable, immersing you in a world of vibrant corals, tropical fishes, inquisitive dolphins, and gentle whale sharks—where humans are only visitors.
Explore historic Stone Town when you visit Zanzibar.
Zanzibar’s history as a center of trade has created a culture that melds African, Arabic, Indian, and European influences. While relaxing on its white-sand beaches is perhaps the island chain’s most popular pastime, diving and snorkeling come in a close second. The coral reefs here are spectacular.
Zanzibar is both the name of the archipelago and the nickname of its largest island, Unguja. The beaches on Zanzibar island are world renowned, but its culture and natural attractions are equally mesmerizing.
Spend some time roaming the streets of Stone Town in search of distinctive artworks and fabric. Tour a spice plantation to sample cinnamon bark straight off the tree. Or visit Jozani Forest, the only place in the world where Kirk’s red colobus monkeys can be found in the wild.
Bask on secluded beaches with glittering turquoise waters in Mozambique, often called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
Mozambique Beach Safaris: Adventures in Paradise
Mozambique’s North Coast
The northern coast of Mozambique is kissed by warm tropical waters year-round. Whether you stay on the continental coast or choose an island for your getaway haven, you will be astounded by the beauty you encounter at every turn.
The Quirimbas Archipelago is a wonderland for both humans and wildlife. Here, you can dive among seahorses and dugongs, explore biodiverse mangroves, or watch dolphins play in the waves.
It took the Portuguese 50 years to complete their massive Fort São Sebastião in Mozambique. Photo credit: Stig Nygaard
The environs of Ilha de Moçambique, or the Island of Mozambique, are rich with history as well as natural charm. This coral isle is the country’s former capital and home to about 14,000 of the Makua people, an ethnic group that spans northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. An UNESCO World Heritage site, the Island of Mozambique is dotted with majestic stone buildings, including the Fort São Sebastião, built in 1558.
Mozambique’s northern coast offers panoramic scuba dives for both beginning and experienced divers, as well as incredible whale watching each August through November. It is also perfect for windsurfing, sailing, and other water sports—or just resting on the beach.
Partake in the time-honored—and fun!—tradition of sliding down sand dunes (left) or explore artifacts that have washed up on shore (right) in Machangulo, Mozambique.
With its dramatic windswept dunes, Machangulo Peninsula in southern Mozambique is ideal for a more active beach safari. Snorkeling and diving are outstanding at the area’s marine reserves. You are likely to see extraordinary corals, jellyfish, sea turtles, rays, and more in waters that stay in the 70ºs and 80ºs Fahrenheit year-round. Kayaking, fishing, birding, and even game drives are all within reach.
Or simply indulge by the seashore with an evening cocktail or beach picnic featuring delicious delicacies prepared for you by skilled lodge chefs.
Further down the coast, near the South African border, Ponto do Ouro and Ponto Mamoli are synonymous with luxurious serenity. A variety of resorts cater to all tastes. Enjoy horse riding on the waterfront, explore enormous pinnacle reefs, or ride the waves on a paddleboard or surfboard. Whether you prefer Robinson Crusoe-like solitude as you wander barefoot along sumptuously soft beaches or being pampered with a massage in the fresh sea air, this segment of the southern Mozambique coast offers the height of relaxation.
Relax like royalty on the glorious beaches of Seychelles.
Seychelles Beach Safaris: A World Apart
Located 900 miles east of Kenya in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are often overlooked as part of Africa. They are true hidden gems, forming a necklace of a hundred sparkling islands across 150,000 square miles of turquoise seas.
The Seychelles are a genuine paradise: they are outside the cyclone belt, have no poisonous snakes, and are free of malaria, yellow fever, and typhoid. The archipelago serves as a protected area for whales, dolphins, dugong (cousins of the manatee), and turtles, and coral thrives in the Aldabra Atoll—the world’s largest tropical lagoon. The Seychelles are also home to 950 recorded species of fish, with 200 of them co-existing in 1,000 square miles of coral reef.
Divers in the Seychelles can encounter tortoises, Barracuda, Bigeye Trevally, Batfish which often encircle them, and fan coral serves as a backdrop.
The islands of the Seychelles are classified into two groups: granitic and coral islands. The granitic islands are part of continental rock dated at 600 million years old, and they boast 17 unique species of birds and 81 endemic plants. This includes the impressive Coco de Mer Palm, a tree that can grow to an age of 800 years.
Both the granitic and coral islands offer gorgeous beaches, striking views of the Indian Ocean, indulgent seclusion, and tropical luxury. Swimming, surfing, kayaking, and scuba diving are just a few of the many ways you can enjoy your Seychelles getaway.
Plan Your Ultimate Beach Safari
Africa is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Silver sands, sapphire waters, and extensive coral reefs create serene coastlines that beckon you with their waving palms.
Take a journey into another world, where every day is sunny, the weather is always warm, and your worries dissipate far beyond the horizon. Contact Ujuzi African Travel today to plan the beach getaway of your dreams.
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