11. MATEMO ISLAND, MOZAMBIQUE
The Quirimbas Archipelago of Mozambique is made up of 32 coral atolls and every one of them would probably shout that they have the best beaches. There’s probably not much between any of them but Matemo is a serious contender. You might just have to pinch yourself to be convinced the color of the sand and the water is for real. Sling a hammock between the trees, build a fire and have a true castaway experience.
12. JOHN OBEY BEACH, SIERRA LEONE
The exciting thing about tourism in Sierra Leone is that it is very much in its infancy. The dreadful war that decimated the country only finished 15 years ago, so SL has a long way to go to entice people to its shores, but you certainly won’t be disappointed if you get there. There are some lovely beaches around Freetown but if you want to give back through eco-tourism, and enjoy a special place, head for John Obey Beach.
13. KELIBIA BEACH, TUNISIA
Forget the crowds of Hammamet and Sousse, which although are two of the nicest North African beaches, are very touristy, and head instead to Kelibia. The sand is soft and the waters clear. There’s not much development – no major hotels like in the two aforementioned places.
14. LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON
The beaches of Loango National Park don’t really have beachy names but the coastal stretch of the reserve is truly something else. Stretching for more than 100 kms, your sunbathing neighbours are not going to be fellow tourists or locals taking a break, but are more likely to be hippos, gorillas, elephants, leopards, turtles and buffalo. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your wildlife passions, offshore, you’ll probably spot humpback and killer whales and dolphins too.
15. ILE SAINTE MARIE, MADAGASCAR
Though the main island of Madagascar boasts some prime examples of pristine tropical beaches, the beaches on Ile Saint Marie trump them because of the surrounding waters. As well as being one of the best beaches in Africa for whale watching, the island is a superb diving and snorkeling location with waters that teem with marine life. There’s also a fascinating pirate heritage to be explored.
16. CAMPS BAY BEACH, SOUTH AFRICA
Another country which screams fabulous beaches – indeed, a number of them feature in the 2013 best African beaches awards by Tripadvisor readers – you can put a pin in the map to pick a favorite. Every style of beach exists along the glorious coastline, but I’m going for Camps Bay Beach which is also known as South Africa’s St. Tropez. I think I’ll let the picture do the talking.
17. NUNGWI, TANZANIA
On the northern tip of the wowser island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, Nungwi is where the sugar-soft sand gently slopes into sapphire water to meet coral that stretches for miles. Backed by tiny fishing villages where time seems to have stood still, the sublime African beaches of Zanzibar are the perfect island getaway.
18. LEGZIRA BEACH, MOROCCO
With its stunning natural rock archways and soft golden sands, Legzira in Morocco is one of the most picturesque African beaches. It is overlooked by an old Spanish fort, and the hills above the beach have great thermal currents for hang gliding and paragliding.
19. BOM BOM ISLET, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
As a nation of tropical islands, Sao tome and Principe is bound to have some of the best beaches in Africa and it certainly does have some terrific ones to choose from. You could choose Banana Beach, which was immortalized in a Bacardi advertisement, or you could go for my choice Bom Bom Islet. This lovely eco-resort area is on the north shore of the island of Principe and is everything you could want in a tropical paradise. There’s also plenty of wildlife to see, including whales, turtles and tons of birds species.
20. TROU-AUX-BICHES, MAURITIUS
Another island with more than its fair share of the best African beaches is Mauritius. Again, it’s hard to pin down the best one, but my choice is Trou-aux-Biches. It’s not the biggest but it is stunningly gorgeous with cashmere soft sand, filao trees and blue, blue water, and it is also very interesting thanks to the Hindu Temple Maheshwarath opposite the beach.