#AfriTravel: Unwind at these top beach destinations in Africa + SA’s exclusive beaches to visit

2018-07-05 16:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photograph of a dhow sitting on the shoreline of a

Photograph of a dhow sitting on the shoreline of an ocean (Photo: iStock)

We know it's winter, but SA has some of the most breathtaking coastal areas worth visiting any time of the year.

From beautiful Cape Town beaches and the coastal towns along the Garden Route, to surfing in Jeffreys Bay and swimming with dolphins (or sardines) at Durban beaches, Mzansi is not short of sites and activities at our oceans – even during the coldest of seasons.

However, if the snow and #ColdFront is too much to handle, you can always soak up some sunshine at SA’s beaches or take your travels even further and plan an escape along Africa’s east coast.

SEE: #FindYourEscape: Explore the Garden Route's luxury castle on a beach + 7 exclusive beaches in SA

Two South African destinations - Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay - have been nominated for Africa's Leading Beach Destination in the 2018 World Travel Awards. The awards serves as a hallmark of travel industry excellence, rewards the best facilities, businesses and destinations across sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

The public can vote for the nominees until midnight on 19 August 2018. The Africa and Indian Ocean segment of the Awards ceremony is set to take place in Durban, for the third time, on 6 October 2018.

ALSO SEE: SA cruise ports nominated for World Travel Award + get planning for 2018/2019 cruise season

Take a look at the nominated beach destinations in Africa that prove why a beach escape should be on your agenda.

Cape Town

It’s no surprise that Cape Town has been nominated as one of the best beach destinations in Africa – even though west coast waters prove to be icy cold! The varying landscapes from rocky shorelines to sun-kissed sandy beaches – from the west coast right through to the Garden Route – have a number of recreational facilities nearby for visitors to enjoy, from restaurants and play areas to water sports and adventure spoils, all while boasting spectacular views.

So, if dipping into cold water – even during summer – is not for you, there’s plenty to get up to along the Mother City’s shoreline.

SEE: School Holiday Fun: Mother City spoils

Plettenberg Bay

This quaint coastal town along the serene Garden Route makes for the perfect beach stop while road-tripping this iconic SA route.

At the eastern coastline of the Western Cape, Plettenberg Bay’s shores meet the Indian Ocean which boasts warmer waters than other parts of the province, allowing for more pleasant swimming experiences.

ALSO SEE: Durban beachfront on the 'brink of change' with new R35bn development

Bazaruto, Mozambique

Go on an island escape and explore the warm waters of Mozambique, while soaking in the splendour at Bazaruto island and beach.

Part of Bazaruto National Park, the beach is renowned for its clear waters and rich, colourful ocean life that provide perfect snorkelling adventures.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Quick Guide: Magical Mozambique

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Diani Beach, Kenya

Diani Beach, just 30 kilometres south of Mombasa, has held the title of Africa's Leading Beach Destination since 2014.

It offers a secluded beach escape – perfect for a romantic getaway - or for a bit of adventure there’s fishing, diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing and other water-based activities to choose from.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Quick Guide to Kenya: Visa-free travel for South Africans

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Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Tanzanian archipelago popularly known as Zanzibar is an Indian Ocean paradise boasting idyllic beaches and a historical Stone Town.

Here, visitors can take their ocean exploration to the maximum with scuba diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing and even go sailing on traditional local dhows.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Quick Guide to Tanzania: Visa-Free travel for South Africans

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Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Unlike the more humid conditions along east African beaches, the climate at this north African beach is warm and dry. Sharm El Sheikh is said to be the closest destination to Europe for holidaymakers to get some beach sunshine and corals reef diving experiences.

Apart from usual water sports like diving, snorkelling, sailing, wind and kite-surfing, you sky dive or parachute from a helicopter!

SEE: #AfriTravel: Egypt's latest tomb discovery hopes to spur tourism

If an #AfriTravel trip is a bit far out for you, then keep it local and check out these exclusive beaches in SA:

Noetzie beach, Western Cape

Situated near the Garden Route's Knysna, a luxury suite at Pezula Castle on Noetzie beach went on auction in early 2018. The property, situated on the secluded beach with a garden, consists of three castles offering five luxury suites. Apart from the secluded cove and pristine beach, visitors also get to explore a large variety of indigenous flora and fauna.

Described by the late President Nelson Mandela as "an exquisite piece of heaven", some visitors say it "has a magical air about it and it feels as though you have been whisked away to paradise", while others call it "beautiful and so elegantly appointed".

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ALSO SEE: SA's Boulders and 49 other best beaches around the world

Uvongo Beach, KZN

This secluded beach is often visited by holidaymakers who want to escape the crowds of nearby Margate or Scottburgh. It boasts a waterfall which runs into the ocean and is close to Durban. Nearby accommodation makes it an exclusive weekend getaway in the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Boknes, Eastern Cape

Boknes is one of the best kept secrets of the Sunshine Coast with a small town and only a few local shops. It is close to Cannon Rocks and Kenton-on-Sea, and a walk to the nearby Dias Cross is a must.

Water’s Edge, Western Cape

An off-the-beaten track beach is Water’s Edge in Simon's Town. The beach lies between Seaforth Beach and Boulders, and most people know nothing about it. When entering, it looks like going through a garden gate, but it actually leads to the beach. 

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ALSO SEE: #EcoTravels: Popular Thailand beach, Maya Bay, closing?

Pebble Beach, Eastern Cape

A hike to this beach is a must - stick to the coast and head south from Amapondo backpackers for about 10km. You’ll hike up steep mountains, but the reward at the stony beach is worth it all.

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Preekstoel Beach, Western Cape

This beach lies in the West Coast National Park, which is what makes it more exclusive than the other West Coast beaches. The 25km stretch of sand also has a rusted shipwreck.

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