With over 18,000 miles of coastline on the mainland and many islands off the coast, Africa is home to some truly amazing beaches. Dotted with thriving, colorful coral reefs, sandbars, lagoons, and mangrove swamps, each one offers something different.
After analyzing the different climates around the coast and islands, natural features, ocean life, and nearby activities and sights, we’ve narrowed down the list to the 5 best beaches in Africa.
The 5 Best Beaches in Africa
From the romantic seclusion of rocky Anse Source D’Argent in the Seychelles archipelago to the world-class diving and marine life around Ponta de Ouro in Mozambique, you’ll find your perfect version of a day at the beach at any of these tropical destinations.
Take a look below to learn more about the 5 best beaches in Africa and what you can expect when you go for a visit!
1. Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
Seychelles is a chain of 115 islands off the eastern coast of Africa known for their secluded, largely undisturbed beauty. But our focus is on one particular beach in this dreamy archipelago: Anse Source d’Argent.
It’s located on La Digue Island and it’s everything you’d expect a tropical paradise to be. Swaying palm trees, big, granite boulders along the shores, and otherworldly pink sand make Anse Source d’Argent one of the best beaches in Africa.
Snorkeling, swimming, and water sports are popular at this tucked-away beach that’s only accessible by foot, bike, or the traditional ox cart. It’s worth the extra walk, bike, or ride over to the beach – you’ll be amazed at the scenery and relaxed, private feel on these secluded shores.
It’s part of L’Union Estate National Park and unspoiled by huge resorts and tourist traps. The waters around the island are guarded by a reef that keeps waves calm and provides the perfect spot for exploring and swimming in the waters.
How gorgeous and idyllic is Anse Source d’Argent? It’s long been considered a candidate for the location of the biblical Garden of Eden, so it’s safe to say that this is a truly incredible destination.
While Anse Source d’Argent is one of our favorites, you’ll also find great beaches in the Maldives. Compare Seychelles vs Maldives to see which destination is better for you!
2. Watamu Beach, Kenya
Watamu Beach on Kenya’s northern coast is one of the most popular African beaches with its warm, turquoise waters, vibrant culture, and thriving marine life around its natural features.
Just offshore, you’ll spot small, deserted islands that can be reached by walking along the sandbars like a path. The waters here are clear and a favorite spot for diving and snorkeling.
If marine life interests you, check out the Watamu Marine National Park just off the coast of Watamu Beach to see over 600 species of fish, 110 stony coral types, and thousands of other ocean creatures.
The culture here is another draw for visitors, with an interesting blend of Kenyan, Italian, and Arabic influences that make for amazing fusion food and local traditions!
Take a day trip over to the Gedi Ruins about 5 miles away to see a palace, tombs, mosque, and ancient homes that help you appreciate the culture and history!
To turn your beach trip here into an adventure, try your hand at paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, and water skiing over at the tidal Mida Creek in Dabaso Village.
Want to make your trip even more memorable? Stay at the amazing, spiral-shaped Watamu Treehouse for breathtaking views overlooking a cliff across the Indian Ocean and lush forests.
3. Naama Bay (Sharm El Sheikh), Egypt
In northern Africa, you’d be missing out if you didn’t check out Naama Bay in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh. This world-famous diving destination has so much to offer travelers!
The marine life in the waters off the coast here are filled with marine life from sharks and sea turtles to vibrant reefs like Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef in Ras Muhammad National Park.
Dive on the Thistlegorm wreck off the coast to feel like a treasure hunter, or just lay back and enjoy the scenery and warmth on the sandy shores. Sharm El Sheikh is Egypt’s most popular resort town and considered very family-friendly if you’re planning on bringing the whole crew.
It’s not exactly private or secluded – consider the “secret” of this amazing spot to be fully out – and it’s packed with great hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, and shops.
You’ll never run out of places to pop into and things to do, on or off the beach! Try to plan your visit during the spring, summer, or fall for the best beach weather. The area sees peak tourism in July and August, but that’s also when it’s hottest!
4. Santa Maria Beach, Cabo Verde
The unforgettable Santa Maria Beach is on Sal, the most popular island in the Cabo Verde (or Cape Verde) archipelago off the western coast of Africa. This is one of Africa’s main summer vacation destinations and you’ll find the temperatures warm and inviting year-round.
You’ll find a few private, secluded beaches around this large area, but many of the beaches fit the classic tourist area trope – perfect for travelers with families or those who want lots of activities and adventure options.
The sand is pillowy-soft and golden, the waters are clear and vibrant blue, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot for swimming, snorkeling, or zipping around the surf on a jet ski.
Note that this isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for cultural authenticity – after all, much of the island is owned or managed by TUI Group, a major UK-based travel company. But you’ll still find glimpses of the rich roots and history of Santa Maria Beach when you check out the Santa Maria Pier.
In the past, this area was a fishing village where seafood catches drove the local economy. Today, you can buy fishermen’s fresh catches on the pier or try them at the local restaurants.
For an accessible, family-friendly beach trip that gives you tons of things to do and see in a familiar, tourist-driven setting, Santa Maria Beach is one of the best beaches in Africa.
5. Ponta de Ouro, Mozambique
If you’re itching for a wilder, more natural beach experience, head to the eastern coast of southern Africa for Ponta de Ouro Beach in Mozambique, which has the 4th-longest coastline in Africa.
This is a tiny, coastal village that means “Tip of Gold” – a reference to the golden sands that contrast so beautifully with the brilliant turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. In those very waters, you can take part in some of the best diving in the world!
Scuba diving and snorkeling is one of the main attractions for Ponta, as the locals call it. You can see whale sharks, reef sharks, sea turtles, sting rays, and dolphins here.
Take a day trip flight to the nearby Inhaca Island for even more diving and snorkeling opportunities, visit the Marine Biology Museum, or island hop around to Santa Maria Island and Portuguese Island.
You’ll find many of the usual beach town delights in Ponta de Ouro, including thriving local restaurants, bars, and shops to keep you busy and entertained off the beach.
It’s a family-friendly beach destination, but during the Christmas and Easter holidays, it becomes a hub for parties and revelry with a huge influx of visitors from South Africa. Try to plan your visit between November and March for the warmest water and the best all-around beach experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting the best beaches in Africa is always a better experience when you know exactly where to go and what to expect. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic!
Which African country has the best beaches?
While every island and coastal African country features some amazing beaches, many believe Seychelles has the best beaches in the country.
It's the smallest African country, but it's home to stunning shores, pink sands (like on Anse Source d'Argent), amazing diving and marine life, great dining options and activities, and excellent weather.
What part of Africa has the most beautiful beaches?
You'll find beautiful beaches all around the African continent, including in northern, eastern, western, and southern Africa.
Gorgeous beaches and bays can be found in the islands off Africa's coast, too. Beaches from the north, east, west, and south are included on the list of the best beaches in Africa.
What is the most beautiful beach in East Africa?
Watamu Beach in Kenya is often considered the most beautiful beach in East Africa. Coconut palm trees, soft, white sand, glistening blue water, and offshore coral reefs make it truly gorgeous.
Nearby Malindi (about 30 minutes away) is also commonly named as one of the most beautiful beaches in East Africa. Consider taking a day trip to see both!
Are there sharks in Africa?
There are lots of sharks around the African continent, including 200+ species known to call the waters here home.
The sharks off Africa's coast make for excellent diving and shark-spotting, but most of them are found swimming off the coast of Southern Africa.
Don't worry about sharks ruining your beach trip! TravelSafe Abroad found that there were only 3 verified shark attacks in the entire continent in 2021.
So, Ready to Visit the Best Beaches in Africa?
It’s hard to settle on the very best African beach, but we’re certain it’s one of the destinations on our list of the best beaches in Africa! From the rocky, pink-sand shores of Anse Source d’Argent to the world-class diving in Naama Bay and Ponta de Ouro, there’s an ideal beach trip for every type of traveler here.
Will you choose your African beach destination based on the seclusion, vibrant culture and atmosphere, family-friendly activities, or marine life and reefs?
As long as you pay attention to local seasonal weather changes (especially in northern Africa, like Naama Bay), you’ll arrive to warm, clear waters and soft sands that put you in a state of deep relaxation and contentment.