The Southern African countries of Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique present beauty and diversity in their varying landscapes of mountains, islands, rivers, deserts and of course beaches. Come rain or shine, each coastline will present families, romance-seekers and adventurers with many opportunities to enjoy the water. While there are too many to mention, we’ve narrowed it to down a few beaches for every kind of traveller and ones you can’t miss when visiting these African countries:
1. Coffee Bay, South Africa’s Wild Coast
Wild, rural and beautiful without abandon this is a beach and stretch of coastline best enjoyed by walking along it. Coastal trails will take you past rural huts, river mouths and grazing cattle. Trail with a guide to the natural wonder of Hole in the wall which juts out to sea, try a surf lesson at Coffee Bay Beach or perch atop one of the green cliffs and take in the endless views of this blissful rural life that still exists in very few parts of South Africa.
2. Skeleton Coast, Nambia
Don’t arrive expecting to relax, tan or frolic in this wild, chilly Atlantic Ocean, but come with anticipation of a rugged stretch of beach found between the Kunene and Swakop rivers. A haven for seals, marine birdlife and ship wreakages ( due to the tumultuous ocean), where the barren warm desert meets the cold ocean and forms a haunting mist. Come with your camera and desire to witness one of the most unique stretches of African coastline.
3. Bazaruto, Mozambique
It’s not called one of the world’s most picturesque islands for nothing. A tropical paradise bringing day trip visitors from the mainland, divers seeking great visibility and dugong sightings as well as snorkelers wanting to enjoy the turquoise ocean, turtles and rich marine life. Climb the dunes for island views and a feeling of being caught somewhere in the desert and savanah, enjoy a fish braai with local guides on the beach or hop on a dhow cruise to bid farewell to the sun.
4. Cape Columbine Reserve Beaches, South Africa’s West Coast
Most visitors get stuck in Paternoster and never look past the instagram-worthy fishing boats of Paternoster, but once in Paternoster, keep left until you enter the reserve where giant boulders enclose tiny bays with clear, cool water. Jump from boulder to boulder or join a kayaking tour in the bay or just savour the serenity of the reserve.
5. Swakopmund, Namibia
Find little Germany in this town along with a beach bustling with ways for visitors to enjoy it such as quad biking, sand boarding, kayaking and surfing and of course just lazing in the sand.
6. Tofo and Tofino Beaches, Mozambique.
Four hours drive from the popular town of Vilankulo, lies 8km worth of sandy beach for swimming, wading, sunning and family fun. For those wishing to go deeper, diving, deep sea fishing excursions are on the cards. Surfers and those wanting to try their hand at fly fishing will do well to visit nearby Tofino beach.
7. North Beach, Durban South Africa
A hive of activity for those to keen to jump in the water and those wishing to enjoy it from a distance. With a skate park, bike rental, nearby coffee shops and restaurants, families can take their pick of how they’d like to spend an afternoon here. Popular amongst locals for surfing, catch a glimpse of these guys ( and girls) jumping off the pier to catch waves.
8. Smitswinkel Bay, Cape Town South Africa.
A short walk down a pathway at the base of a cliff beside Cape Point Nature Reserve, you’ll find a beach much-loved by local residents and one providing a wonderful place to picnic and laze in the sand more than swim. Pack a picnic and all the food you need as there are no shops nearby and be mindful to take all refuse and goodies you brought with you.
9. Terence Bay, Namibia
Another beach known for its wildlife appeal and beach angling opportunities rather than swimming and ideal beach temperatures. The icy Benguela current will ensure that you may not want to dip into its waters, but join a desert excursion and look out for desert-adapted wildlife roaming the coastline.
10. Cape Vidal Beach, Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal-South Africa
Found beside Lake St. Lucia in the fairly secluded region of Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, this beach can get windy but provides a long stretch of beach perfect for walks, family picnics, snorkeling right off the beach hugging the reef and solitude on most days.
11. Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town
The more laid-back cousin to Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard sexy beaches, Muizenberg is a beach packed with energy, life, restaurants, cafes and places to rent and get lessons in surfing, SUPPing ( stand-up paddle boarding). Dog walkers, toddlers, couples and families love this beach for its play park, coastal walk, relatively warm water ( warmer than the Atlantic seaboard) and local vibe.
12. Point and Main Beach, Jeffreys Bay- South Africa
Top International surfers hurry here from around the globe to catch one of the world’s best right-hand breaks at the beaches of Supertubes and Point. For non-surfers, these aloe-lined beaches with their wooden walkways are also enjoyable for the rock pools, long stretches of sand to walk on or a place to bring your coffee and take in the surf artistry below. Main Beach is wonderful for families who want to laze on the beach, bodyboard or even learn to surf. Coffee shops and restaurants offering incredible seafood can be found nearby as well as water park the kids will love.
13. Chintsa Beach, South Africa’s Wild Coast
Another wild beach with hardly anyone on it, go on a coastal horse riding trail and ride on the sand, past dunes and over green hills. Find serenity and a place to relax away from the city crowds. Just in from the beach is a river where you can rent a kayak and float down the river watching the abundant bird life.
14. Kraalbaai, South Africa’s West Coast National Park
Once you set eyes on Kraalbaai’s aquamarine ocean, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re somewhere in the Maldives. With houseboats moored in the bay, learner kitesurfer and SUPPers ( stand-up paddle boarders) loving this calm, sheltered bay, this is a beach perfect for a hot day where the refreshing water is welcomed and all you need do is lay back beneath your umbrella.
15. Llandudno Beach, Cape Town
There isn’t a better place for romantic sunset picnics, visits with the family and a chance to bring the dog for a walk. Nestled between plump boulders and something resembling an Italian coastline, this is a beach favorite amongst locals and foreigners alike. Don’t miss out on the viewpoints from above as well as the coastal drive all the way from Llanduno to Camps bay and Clifton.