The Dark Continent of Africa probably does not Jump to mind as the first destination you would choose when planning a holiday at the beach, but there are many great reasons to give it a try.
The Cape in South Africa has up until very recently always been “the” location to visit if you felt like going to Africa to enjoy the beach as well as all the other great things that only this great continent has to offer.
There are now new kids in town and places like Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, Mombasa in Kenya and the stunning beaches in The Gambia have really come in to their own each offering their own unique perspective of Africa but all wonderful beach holiday locations.
Winter Sun Holiday Destination
An obvious reason to pick somewhere on the African continent is to enjoy the beach during the European winter, breaking up your winter and escaping the summer holiday rush. How often these days do we hear of long delays at airports during the summer peak holiday period, delaying thousands of people going on holiday and destroying their few weeks away from the daily grind of work? So escape the rush and go on holiday out of the peak season.
South Africa and Cape Town as a beach holiday Location
Cape Town, right on the bottom tip of Africa is still the most sophisticated beach vacation location in Africa, with the incredible backdrop of Table Mountain, excellent accommodation options and some of the finest places to eat in the world it would be an excellent place to visit even without the beautiful beaches. On top of that you can also enjoy the finest wines and scenery of South Africa on the Garden Route, which stretches 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 a host of other marine life.
Including a round of Golf with your beach holiday has always been popular in places like Spain and The USA, South Africa and the Cape Region have some of the finest Golf courses in the world, now you can combine a beach, golf and safari holiday all in one location, there is nowhere in Europe that can boast that!
So what are the beaches like?
Cape Town has some excellent beaches, False Bay with the long sandy beach which extends from Gordon’s Bay to Muizenberg and includes Boulders Beach and Simon’s Town. The Atlantic Seaboard along the West (Atlantic) side of the Cape Peninsula with well known beaches including Sandy Bay, Clifton Camps Bay, Scarborough and Kommetjie. The West Coast, running Northwards from Cape Town with the windy conditions make these beaches popular for surfing and kite-surfing.
An important point to note is the sea in False Bay is about 6 degrees warmer than the Atlantic Seaboard and the West Coast!
on the negative side, Cape Town is the furthest point in Africa you can travel to from Europe, so expect a long flight around ten hours). Also mentioned above the water can be a little chilly and then it is probably one of the more expensive locations in Africa.
Beach Holiday in Mombasa, Kenya
Kenya is probably mostly thought of for it’s African wildlife safaris on the Masai Mara but also has plenty to offer in the way of beach holidays on the coastline near Mombasa. The city of Mombasa is a typical African city and there is in stark contrast to the sophistication of Cape Town. There are however many excellent restaurants to eat enabling you to sample some more traditional African food as well as those catering to western palates. The old part of Mombasa is also well worth visiting and Fort Jesus, a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip II of Spain, to guard 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.
On the coast there are many of places to stay with some of the most luxurious hotels you’ll find anywhere in Africa as well as some fantastic beach huts and cottages as well as basic beach side camp-sites, all in all there is something for everyone.
The scuba diving and snorkelling in Mombasa and the surrounding areas is also excellent and makes a great place to learn to dive with the prices here are much cheaper than many other well know diving locations. Bamburi beach is a great location to base your beach holiday in East Africa, about half an hour from Nairobi, there are some great hotels and beach cottages as well as an excellent PADI dive center located at the well know Travelers Beach Hotel.
Beach and Safari Holiday in Kenya
Obviously no trip to Kenya would be complete without some sort of wildlife safari and they can be organized from Mombasa with a popular destination being the Tsavo National Park, which not as well known as the Masai Mara, but at just over 21,000km sq, Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world with large herds of Elephant and plenty of lions, it is definitely worth visiting if you want to take a break from relaxing on the beach!
With these two very different African beach holiday options, I hope to have given you a just a flavour of what Africa can offer you in the way of your next seaside holiday.