When you want to head to the beach, you might not immediately think of Africa as a destination, but Africa is home to some of the most stunning white sand beaches and luxurious beach resorts in the world.

One of our favorite ways to incorporate these beach destinations into an itinerary for our clients is to add a few days of pampering and relaxation at the beach onto the end of a busy, safari-filled itinerary. After early mornings and late evenings experiencing the excitement of game drives and other active days on safari, a sojourn at one of these stunning beach resorts can be the perfect way to relax before heading home.

Where are the best beaches in Africa?

There are beaches all along the coastline of the continent, but you’ll find some of the best in Zanzibar (Tanzania), Mozambique, and Kenya. South Africa also tops our list when it comes to stunning coastal properties, many of which combine relaxed, beachy luxury with marine safaris, meaning you don’t have to leave the animal sightings behind just because you’re at the beach!

A few of our favorite beach resorts in Africa …

Beyond Mnemba Island (Tanzania)
Azura Benguerra Island (Mozambique)
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa)
Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas and Spa (Tanzania)
Birkenhead House (South Africa)
Hemingways Watamu (Kenya)
Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar (Tanzania)
Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort (Mozambique)
Manda Bay (Kenya)
Oyster Box Hotel (South Africa)

&Beyond Mnemba Island (Tanzania)

Off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar lies the private &Beyond Mnemba Island, inhabited only by guests — a maximum of 24 in 12 beachside bandas — and the staff taking care of them. Less than a mile in circumference, Mnemba is surrounded by an atoll of breathtaking coral reefs and boasts some of Africa’s most magnificent dive sites.

Rustically chic and unpretentiously luxurious, Mnemba Island is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a safari adventure. Dig your toes into your private stretch of beachfront, dine on fresh local seafood by candlelight with the waves lapping at your feet, or privately celebrate the magnificent sunset with the ones you love with fresh sushi and chilled champagne delivered by your personal butler to your beach lounger.

If you can pull yourself away, there are plenty of options for more adventurous activities as well. Watch the sunset over azure waters aboard a private dhow cruise; snorkel, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard along the shore; rejuvenate with an invigorating yoga class; or explore the area with any number of engaging community visits and historical tours.

Azura Benguerra Island (Mozambique)

Mozambique’s Benguerra Island is well-known for having one of the most idyllic shorelines in all of Africa. At Azura Benguerra Island, you’ll find 18 villas that were built by hand by the local community, nestled into gardens and only steps away from the pristine beach.

Guests at Azura Benguerra are assigned a dedicated Mozambican host who is on call to attend to their every need during their stay. Seafood features strongly into the cuisine — as you might expect in this remote island destination — and guests can dine at the restaurant or in a secluded and romantic spot along the beach.

For a change of pace from beach lounging, stop by the luxurious spa for unique massage, or head into the water for scuba diving, sailing, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking. Explore the island on horseback, or connect with a local guide to take a tour of the island community.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa)

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is the perfect place to stay if you’re more interested in exploring the beach than you are in relaxing on it!

Here, you’ll take a short drive to unpopulated and unspoiled beaches with your guide, picking up shells as you walk along the beach, soaking up the sun, or splashing at the water’s edge. Take a picnic along and make a day of it, or, if you want something more adventurous, take the guided cave tour and see the dramatic limestone cliffs of De Kelders and learn about the Stone Age bushmen who called the caves home.

Grootbos is also an ideal destination for marine safaris, shark cage diving, whale watching, and more! On the whole, Grootbos is less about romance and is more family friendly than many of the other resorts on this list.

Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa (Tanzania)

As a Relais & Chateaux property, Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa is as much about delicious dining experiences as it is about ultimate relaxation and white sandy beaches. Situated on the east coast of Zanzibar on the pristine sands of Paje Beach, Zanzibar White Sand is home to 11 private villas, each with a dining lounge, recreational area, sun deck and swimming pool.

Guests at this culinary destination enjoy two restaurants, a rooftop champagne bar, a beach bar, and a lounge. In between meals, guests can rent a bike and pedal their way to nearby Paje village, stroll through the resort’s lush gardens, or take to the water with kitesurfing, diving, kayaking, and traditional dhow cruises, or take to the air with a scenic flight over the island or a skydiving adventure.

Birkenhead House (South Africa)

One of the top 5 hotels in Africa, Birkenhead House is perched atop a cliff overlooking Walker Bay and two sandy beaches. Its position is ideal for whale watching from June through November as Southern Right and Humpback Whales swim close to the shore below.

The luxurious beach house feel of the property is combined with what the hotel describes as “quirky opulence.” With 11 rooms spread across three different houses, the feel is of summering at a friend’s beach house.

With its ideal location in Hermanus, it’s easy to arrange time spent mussel picking, hiking, surfing, horseback riding on the beach, golfing, and for the more adventurous, shark cage diving. Plus, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is just a short drive away and is one of South Africa’s premier wine routes.

Hemingways Watamu (Kenya)

Hemingways Watamu sits right in the middle of the pristine Watamu Marine National Park, which is home to white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. The hotel offers a combination of airy oceanfront rooms and ultraluxe apartments in 1-, 2-, and 4-bedroom configurations.

The pristine beach and ocean invite relaxation, but for the more adventurous traveler, there is plenty to do. Spend a morning snorkeling over the coral reef, master kite-surfing, learn to dive, or take a sunset dhow cruise on Mida Creek. For wildlife-lovers there is deep sea fishing, humpback whale watching and the extraordinary Arabuko Sokoke Forest – the largest, most intact coastal forest in East Africa, home to some of Kenya’s rarest mammals, elephant, brilliant butterflies, and saltwater mangroves.

And if all of that sounds too energetic, the resort suggests relax around the pool with a good book as you work your way through the extensive cocktail menu.

Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar (Tanzania)

With its fusion of Arabic, Swahili, and Indian design, Baraza Resort and Spa is truly unique among the resorts on this list. Its 30 expansive villas (the smallest of which comes in at around 1,600 square feet) recall the heritage of Zanzibar dating back to the era of the Sultans.

The resort offers four exquisite dining options and a luxurious spa featuring its own lap pool with underwater music, indoor and outdoor relaxation rooms, the Sultans bath, as well as a fitness center and tennis court. 

A PADI five-star Gold Palm diving center makes this resort an exceptional place for enthusiastic scuba divers, and the resort also offers snorkeling, beach games, bike rentals, and coral reef discovery walks. Try windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and more from Bwejuu Beach — one of the 30 best island beaches in the world — located just steps away from the resort.

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort (Mozambique)

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort is located on the small private island of Medjumbe, part of the protected Quirimbas Archipelago along Mozambique’s northern coastline.

The resort is home to just 12 beach villas, but there is no shortage of activities to keep guests occupied. Stroll white sands to the island’s deserted lighthouse, keeping an eye out for sea turtle hatchlings. Dive in some of the world’s best reefs and search for the largest population of rare dugongs on the East African coast, set sail in search of whales and dolphins, kayak or paddleboard through clear turquoise waters, or get more adventurous and try your hand at waterskiing or wakeboarding.

For an extra special romantic experience, visit the nearby private island of Quissanga to sleep completely secluded under a star-filled sky in a four-poster bed on the beach, draped in linens, surrounded by glowing lanterns.

Manda Bay (Kenya)

Manda Bay is a small privately owned boutique lodge located on the northern tip of Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago on Kenya’s coast. An unspoilt, secluded location where you can switch off from the rest of the world, take your shoes off and enjoy simplistic beauty in palm thatched cottages and open living spaces.

The only access to Manda Bay is by speedboat so guests can enjoy this private island all to themselves. Manda Bay combines the ultimate bush and beach experience with miles of soft white sand on a private beach and Coconut palms mixed with Doum palms, Acacia Tortilis and a variety of wildlife.

Guests can spend their time deep-sea fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, Laser Sailing, waterskiing, line fishing, snorkeling and more. Take a traditional dhow boat cruise or spend time combing the beach for shells.

Uniquely at Manda Bay, guests can take drives to visit the Manda ruins, an ancient settlement that dates back nearly 1,000 years. You can also see a wide variety of wildlife in the area, such as the greater Galago bushbaby, white-tailed mongoose, civet cat, porcupine, hyena, genet cat, and even an occasional leopard. Guests commonly see the dik-dik, buffalo and bushbuck, dwarf mongoose, yellow baboons and vervet monkeys.

Oyster Box Hotel (South Africa)

The Oyster Box Hotel is a South African classic. Located steps from Umhlanga’s golden beaches, the hotel provides direct access to the rolling waves just beyond the historic red-and-white lighthouse.

A member of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, The Oyster Box offers timeless elegance and five-star luxury, blending the charm and nostalgia of a bygone era with contemporary comforts. Alongside 86 rooms, suites and villas, The Oyster Box offers an array of restaurants, an award-winning spa, two swimming pools, extensive events facilities, and an intimate private movie theatre.

Foodie guests can take a seat at the Chef’s Table, as Executive Chef Kevin Joseph and his talented kitchen team create an unforgettable culinary experience, or they can experience the elegant High Tea at The Oyster Box at the Palm Court.

Stepping off of the property, guests can take a variety of foodie and cultural tours, exploring the Indian culture and food of the area, discovering the Zulu culture, or embarking on a nature and sea tour to discover the natural wonders of the area.

So, ready to make one of these beach resorts your home-away-from-home? Or just think you might want to add a few extra days of pampering and relaxation to your next trip to Africa? Click the button below and send us a note; we’d be happy to make all of your beachy African dreams come true!

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