Africa probably doesn’t occur to you as the first destination you would choose when planning a beach vacation, but there are many good reasons to give it a try. Cape Town in South Africa has until recently always been “the” destination to go to if you wanted to go to Africa and enjoy the beach, as well as all the other wonderful things that only this great continent has to offer. Now there are new kids on the block and places like Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, Mombasa in Kenya, and the Gambia have really become their thing, each with their own unique outlets and a taste of Africa, but all great destinations. on vacation at the beach.
One of the most obvious reasons to choose a location on the African continent is to enjoy the beach during the European winter, interrupt the winter, and escape the hustle and bustle of summer vacations. How often these days do we hear about strikes at airports during the peak summer vacation period, delaying millions of tourists and destroying their few weeks away from work? Escape the rush and get out of the high season.
Beach holidays in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town in South Africa remains the most sophisticated beach holiday destination in Africa, with the incredible backdrop of Table Mountain, great accommodation options and some of the best restaurants in the world, it would be a great place to visit even without the Beach. On top of that, you can also enjoy South Africa’s best wines and scenery on the Garden Route, which runs from Mossel Bay to the Storms River in the Western Cape. There are ten nature reserves in the area, as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals, and an abundance of marine life.
Combining golf with a beach holiday has always been popular in places like Spain and Portugal, South Africa and the Cape Region have some of the best golf courses in the world, now you can combine a beach, golf and safari holiday, no there is nowhere in Europe that can boast of that!
And the beaches? Cape Town has some excellent beaches, False Bay with the long sandy beach that stretches from Gordon’s Bay to Muizenberg and includes Boulders Beach and Simon’s Town. The Atlantic coast along the west (Atlantic) side of the Cape Peninsula with well-known beaches such as Sandy Bay, Clifton Camps Bay, Scarborough, and Kommetjie. The west coast, stretching north from Cape Town with the windy conditions, makes these beaches popular for surfing and kitesurfing.
An important point to keep in mind is that the sea in False Bay is approximately 6 degrees warmer than the Atlantic coast and the west coast.
On the downside, Cape Town is the furthest point in Africa that you can travel to from Europe, so expect a long flight as mentioned above, the water can be a bit cold and it is probably one of the most expensive destinations in Africa.
Beach holidays in Mombasa, Kenya
Kenya, probably best known for its wildlife safaris in the Masai Mara, but it also has a lot to offer when it comes to beach vacations on the coast near Mombasa. The city of Mombasa is a bustling “real” African city and there is a stark contrast to the sophistication of Cape Town. However, there are many good places to eat to sample more traditional African food, as well as those that cater to Western palates. Also worth visiting are the old town and Fort Jesus, a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip II of Spain, to protect the Old Port of Mombasa, Kenya. It was built in the shape of a man and was given the name of Jesus as a religious reference.
Along the coast there are plenty of places to stay with some of the most luxurious hotels you’ll find anywhere in Africa, some great little beach huts, as well as basic beachside campsites, something for everyone.
Snorkeling and diving in and around Mombasa is also excellent and is a great place to learn to dive, as the prices here are substantially cheaper than many other well-known dive spots. Bamburi Beach is a great location for your Kenyan beach vacation, about half an hour from Nairobi, there are some excellent hotels and beach huts as well as an excellent PADI dive center located at the well known Travelers Beach Hotel.
Of course, no trip to Kenya would be complete without some kind of Safari and they can be arranged from Mombasa with a popular destination being Tsavo National Park, less known than Masai mara, but at just over 21,000 square km, Tsavo is the Kenya’s largest national park and one of the largest in the world with large herds of elephants and many lions, it is worth considering if you want to take a break from relaxing on the beach!
With these two very different African beach vacation options, I hope I’ve given you a taste of what Africa has to offer on your next seaside vacation.