Africa’s 10 most incredible beaches
Africa's seemingly endless coastline can lay claim to some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, from world-class luxury hideaways to isolated stretches of pristine nature reserve.
Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Although named after the rugged hunks of half-billion-year-old rock that protect this secluded stretch of coastline from the swell, making it ideal for a paddle, Boulders Beach’s main draw is unquestionably its penguins. A small colony of African penguins settled here around the Simon’s Town suburb in the early 1980s. Today, thanks to astute conservation efforts, there are more than 2,000 of the dapper little fish fanciers scurrying around. Pay R65 for a stroll along the new boardwalk and learn about the penguins at the visitors center, where everything is in black and white.
Watamu Beach, Kenya
Watamu Beach is spectacular in and of itself, with its idyllic soft sand, coconut palms, and crystal-clear waters made serene and still by the nearby barrier reef. The real treasures, however, are the beloved local turtle population. Locals have taken the protection and nurturing of these shelled beauties seriously since 1997, patrolling the beaches nightly to ward off poachers and nursing those who have been ensured by fishing lines. The result is a peaceful invasion of hawksbill, green, and olive ridley turtles, which now number in the thousands. Absolutely fantastic.
Michanwi Pingwe beach, Zanzibar
Michanwi Pingwe beach has plenty to satisfy your senses with its vast expanses of pale dunes and consistently balmy skies. The cheerfully bonkers Italian-inspired restaurant set on a rock just a little way out into the azure Indian Ocean is its undisputed claim to fame. ‘The Rock’ has only a dozen or so tables, and depending on the tide, you’ll either walk out or take a short boat ride. The unique eatery donates funds to the Kichanga Foundation, which teaches locals and tourists how to swim and spearheads sustainability initiatives, by utilizing its local bounty of octopus, lobster, and calamari. In a nutshell, it’s fantastic.
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Mnemba Island, Tanzania
This enchanting private island is located 3 kilometers off the coast of Unguja, Zanzibar. It’s only a kilometer and a half around, and it’s home to a dozen barefoot luxury ‘bandas,’ or thatched houses, each with a veranda that opens directly onto a beach. Mnemba Island’s fragrant casuarina pine forest ensures privacy, and it is home to shy sun antelope and dainty Ader’s duiker, as well as turtles nesting on the beach in February. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, surrounded by coral reefs and patrolled by peaceful humpbacks, whale sharks, and dolphins. Which, by the way, comes with its own private chef.
Varela Beach, Guinea Bissau
If all you want is peace and quiet and wildlife, you can’t go wrong with this remote stretch of Guinea Bissau’s western coast. From the iridescent long-tailed Abyssinian roller to the campy spike-haired black-crowned crane, dozens of eye-catching bird species provide a lilting soundtrack to some of Africa’s most consistently jaw-dropping sunsets. Cows, pigs, and monkeys share the beach with you, while nearby restaurants specialize in fresh-caught oysters and whatever the fishing dab hands on the colorful boats manage to dredge up that day. A tranquil slice of the good life.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
If the name sounds creepy and repulsive, that’s understandable. The carcasses of countless ships, aircrafts, whales, and other hapless creatures strewn across the desert make for a dramatic, if haunting, spectacle along this undeveloped 500km stretch of Namibian coastline where the desert meets the Atlantic swell. The northern half is so desolate that it is fenced off, so you must apply for a permit. To be honest, it’s totally worth it if you think your vacation photos could use a little post-apocalyptic – but undeniably beautiful – je ne sais quoi.
Nioumachoua Beach, Mohéli, Comoros
You’d be forgiven for drawing a blank if asked to point to the Comoros Islands on a globe. Which is just fine by the folks there. This Indian Ocean archipelago between Madagascar and Mozambique is just as pretty as the likes of Mauritius or the Seychelles, but way less developed. Case in point, Nioumachoua Beach on Mohéli, the smallest of the Comoros islands, sandwiched between lush rainforest and a coral rich sea, with charismatic megafauna all around you from civets – leopard-like cats – to turtles to giant Livingston Bats and humpback whales. In a word – unspoiled.
Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles
It’s no surprise Anse Source d’Argent is consistently voted the world’s most beautiful beach. The rocks themselves are seductive in some ways, with sinuous heaps of muscular granite punctuating talcum-fine sand beneath psychedelically green palm trees. The water is warm and shallow, dotted with colorful darting fish, silky rays, and languid cruising turtles. Unfortunately, this is not a hidden gem, so get there early – really early – to avoid the daily spellbound throng. But, without a doubt, come and pay your respects at least once in your life.
Île Aux Nattes, Madagascar
You could walk barefoot around this almost-too-good-to-be-true island in two hours, never leaving the beach. Île Aux Nattes is the powdery, turquoise sunshiney paradise of your dreams, accessible only by canoe from the southernmost tip of nearby Sainte-Marie Island, itself a satellite of Madagascar. The White House in the middle, with its panoramic terrace overlooking the island over a beer, and the thoroughly chilled reggae-themed Lucky Dube Pizza Bar down on the beach, are the only landmarks. A lighthouse and a large lagoon are also present. And no automobiles. And there are no worries.
Cape Three Points, Ghana
Locals refer to this wild and beautiful peninsular as “the land nearest nowhere.” Why? It is the town on the planet with the closest latitude, longitude, and altitude to zero degrees. During the bumpy hour-or-so drive from Agona, you’ll pass through a number of makeshift towns involved in the rubber trade, and when you arrive, you can poke around in a ruined lighthouse built by the British in the nineteenth century. When you’re done relaxing on the idyllic palm-fringed sand, there are plenty of enticing trails through farms and pockets of forest to explore, with the possibility of encountering some exotic bird life or a troop of curious monkeys. It’s unlike anywhere else.
Travel to Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a rugged, landlocked country in the Horn of Africa divided by the Great Rift Valley. It's a place of ancient culture, with archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years.
History of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is bounded to the north by Eritrea, to the northeast by Djibouti, to the east by Somalia, to the south by Kenya, and to the west by South Sudan and Sudan.
People Of Ethiopia
Ethiopians are ethnically diverse, with the most significant differences based on linguistic classification. Ethiopia is a linguistic mosaic of about 100 languages divided into four groups.
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