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The Best Beaches in Africa

Posted by Jody on December 6, 2011

Today’s Featured Writer: Alaina Diehl

When you think Africa, you might think “really, really, really, big.” Perhaps you already know that this massive continent covers 11,677,239 square miles (30,244,049 square km) with 22,921 mi (36,888 km) of coastline. Our best bet on narrowing down a beach to visit is to take a tip from someone who has already been there. Fortunately for us, readers of The Guardian dish on their favorite African beach destinations in “Readers’ tips:  the best beaches in Africa.”

Beaches are a girl’s best friend, but Sierra Leone (located on the west coast of Africa above the equator) is better known for its diamonds.  Two Atlantic beaches from this country make this list:

River No. 2 Beach, Freetown: If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Freetown, River Number Two Beach is a no-frills tranquil getaway. Take in the white sand and palm tree landscape while enjoying the fresh coconut you bought nearby. Bring handy wipes – the restroom is a latrine in a shed.

River No. 2 Village Beach, Sierra Leone (Annabel Symington/Wikimedia Commons)

Sussex Beach, Freetown: Because there’s no way I can describe it better, here is what Pauline Hughes has to say about this beach: “Along the peninsula south of Freetown, this quiet, sandy beach faces the Atlantic with an opening onto a salt lagoon with mangrove trees, on the edge of which is Florence’s guesthouse.” You might want to check out Florence’s Guesthouse or read more about Sierra Leone.

Next, this mini African beach adventure takes us to Morocco.

Essaouira Beach (notice that sometimes “y” is the only vowel missing) is a beautiful place to soak up the sun or hit the surf. Remember the pictures of camels on the beach from Beaches of Morocco: “Beaches for Every Taste”? Better than a camel ride at the zoo, I’d say. There is also activity and food to entice you in the nearby Unesco heritage town.

Uganda (US CIA/Wikimedia Commons)

The next beach experience is in the middle of Africa (say what?) Landlocked Uganda hugs the rather large Lake Victoria. Reader Josie89 has recommended Banda Island, Lake Victoria. This privately owned island (one of the Ssese Islands) belongs to an “eccentric” British Kenyan named Dominic. You can all about it at the website that the article provided: Travel Uganda.

Tanzania is home to the another one of the Best Beaches in Africa. On the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean, Kendwa Beach is an “idyllic stretch of white sand” that sounds (and looks) absolutely magical.

A Beautiful Beach at Kendwa Breezes Beach Resort (Kibabe/Wikimedia Commons)

Malawi is another landlocked African country that sports beachfront, this time on Lake Malawi. The Guardian reader jennylondoner describes the atmosphere of Cape Maclear as “chilled,” in the relaxed sense. This enclave has many secluded beaches where you can enjoy just about any of your favorite beach activities.

Monoxylon Beach, Lake Malawi (Stefan Kraft/Wikipedia)

Mozambique (CIA World Factbook/ Wikimedia Commons)

If your idea of fun is swimming with whale sharks and gigantic manta rays,  then Mozambique’s Tofo Beach, Inhambane is your Indian Ocean beach destination.  Yikes. Don’t worry, whale sharks are filter feeders. If you prefer to stay on dry sand, the eateries and wicker bungalows can be your happy place.

Bazaruto Archipelago, Vilanculos is the next location in Mozambique that makes the article’s cut. Although the beaches of Vilanculos itself are described as “dirty,” a short boat ride takes you to the picturesque Bazaruto Archipelago Nature Reserve. You can rent your own skipper for the day to enjoy exploring the deserted beaches, snorkeling with tropical fish, and aimless wandering. Maybe you’ll want to check out Sailaway Dhow Safaris, as the article suggests.

Finally we get two exciting beaches of South Africa. Who doesn’t love penguins? So, no matter who you are, you’ll love Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town. Boulders is within walking distance of Simon’s Town. This beach is home to the, I kid you not, African “jackass” Penguin. The nickname doesn’t come from cutting you off in heavy traffic. These penguins have a donkey-like bray. Named for boulders, not penguins, this beach is a fun spot to climb and jump into the warm ocean waves. Bring a picnic, build a sandcastle, and snap a photo or two!

African Penguin, Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England (Adrian Pingstone/Wikipedia)

The last but not least Best African Beach destination, Sodwana Bay is nestled in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Whales, dolphins, and leatherback turtles! Oh, my! This marine reserve and world heritage site is a paradise for nature, by nature.

Africa is a huge continent with 50-ish countries and endless adventures. Where will your next beach adventure take you?

Check out  The Readers’ Tips at The Guardian for more photos, insights and information on the Best Beaches in Africa.

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