When one thinks of going 'on safari' to Africa you can be forgiven for not thinking of its lengthy coastline and numerous islands. Many of the islands have a fascinating history, unique wildlife and beaches that easily rival those of the Caribbean. The beaches off the east coast of Africa are some of the most beautiful and unspoilt in the world (truly!), and together with an assortment of exotic islands offer the safari goer an outstanding opportunity to combine this .
We have a range of some of the loveliest beach and island locations imaginable - each with its own appeal (and luxury accommodations), boasting unrivalled service and personal attention.
Barefoot luxury, spa treatments, beautiful private beach shelters, horizon pools and incredible underwater adventures are all available; the choice is yours.
Whist we have many fabulous islands and beaches to choose from we would need to consider the logistical implications carefully - not all locations are accessible from where you may be on your safari.
The island of Zanzibar, off the east coast of Tanzania, has been an important trading centre for centuries; a melting pot of African, Indian and Arab influences. Besides its beautiful white sandy beaches lapped by the turquoise sea, Zanzibar's other major attraction is historical Stone Town, with its whitewashed, coral rag houses, charming shops, bazaars, mosques, squares and courtyards.
Pemba & Mafia
Beyond the main island of Zanzibar, Pemba Island is just a 30-minute flight north, and Mafia Island a 45-minute flight south. Both have thriving coral reefs and are excellent for diving and great for getting away from the crowds, however the beaches do not compare to those on Zanzibar.
The allure of Zanzibar often overshadows Tanzania's stunning mainland coast and other islands - leaving them beautifully uncrowded for travellers in the know! If diving is not your main focus, we wholly recommend staying on the mainland coast. The beaches here are fabulous, generally deserted and offer good value for money. There is not much to do in many cases, but if you just want to relax and recharge in a glorious natural setting, a stay here at the beginning or end of a trip is ideal.
Mozambique is a beautiful country most famous for its spectacular white sand beaches – indisputably some of the very finest in the whole of Africa. The Quirimbas (far north) and Bazaruto Archipelago (central) are chains of small islands with world-class beaches and unspoilt, thriving coral reefs. There could be no better location for a relaxing beach honeymoon. Additionally, the Mozambique mainland coast has mile upon mile of rugged, wild beaches where a number of first class resorts can be found (both centrally and in the south).
Mozambique combines well with both South Africa (south and central Mozambique) out of Johannesburg and Kruger Intl. and Tanzania (northern Mozambique) from Dar es Salaam. For more information go to our Mozambique page under Destinations.
The Seychelles (pronounced ‘say-shells’) is a republic made up of roughly 150 islands - once a hideaway for pirates and Arab merchants. The largest of these islands are Mahe, La Digue and Praslin and each are extraordinarily beautiful. This is a place where sugar-like white sand, staggering granite boulders, tangles of tropical jungle and a sea that’s as clear as azure stained glass effortlessly shape a dreamy tropical escape. The white sandy beaches of Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette on Praslin are among the most beautiful in the world.
There is a significant range of very stylish accommodation across the many gorgeous islands, with a truly unique Seychellois French-colonial style, lavish 5* luxury or barefoot eco-conscious hotels according to taste. Most accommodation options are located on the main island of Mahé, but there are so many islands to choose from, you can be assured that you’ll find one to suit you perfectly.
Whilst we do not recommend staying in or around Mombassa itself (more of a packaged holiday destination), if you go south of Mombasa however, you will find Diani and Tiwi beaches which, although also busy, do have a couple of nice lodges. North of Mombasa, the Kenya coast offers some of East Africas most idyllic tropical getaways. Watamu has Hemingways, a good option for a beach break away from the chaos of Mombasa, or you may want to consider some stunning private houses in the fishing villages of Kilfi, Watamu and Malindi. Even further north, Kenya's best beaches and islands are to be found around the Lamu Archipelago; a stunning and remote part of the Indian Ocean where empty pristine beaches stretch for miles and you can enjoy the laid back bare foot luxury that make Lamu such an attractive beach destination and the perfect compliment to a safari (see more on Lamu island below).
The Kenyan coastline stretches for about 300 miles from Lamu in the far north of the country, down to the south of Mombasa. The stretch from Malindi down to south of Mombasa, though packed with large hotels, boasts picturesque white sand, palm-fringed beaches, fulfilling the Indian Ocean stereotype! The snorkelling and diving here are great, due to abundant coral. Absorbing the famous coastal swahili culture and its facintating history is a real draw for spending some time on the beach after the ardour of safari!
It is worth noting that the beaches are very tidal, so swimming can be impossible at low tide and seaweed can be a real problem in the summer months.
In our opinion, the best hotels on the coast are small, boutique and often owner run. They tend to be a fair distance from the hustle and bustle of Mombassa.
Lamu Island is a part of the Lamu Archipelago off the coast of Kenya. Lamu Old Town, the main town on the island, is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa. Made of coral stone and mangrove timber, the town features inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors. There are no roads on the island, just alleyways and trails, and therefore, there are few vehicles on the island.
Dating back to the 14th century, much like its cousin Zanzibar, Lamu was a trading post for the sultanate of Oman and was once one of the most important locations in East Africa for the slave, ivory and gold trades. Today the island's towns and thriving fishing community offer a fascinating insight into the Swahili way of life and retain an enduring charm notwithstanding the recent influx of tourism. Out of the towns, Lamu's real draw is its beaches, perfect for a spot of relaxation before or after a safari. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Lamu is a captivating island with a thriving fishing population and a scattering of well-appointed hotels. The blend of Arab and Swahili cultures creates a peaceful, laid-back environment that can overflow into what seems like classic Swahili chaos in the towns, which are mazes of winding alley ways, walked by donkeys and their masters. You may choose to stop over in one of the towns for a night or two to soak up the atmosphere, before spending the majority of your time on the beaches in southern Lamu or the nearby islands of Manda and Kiwayu, linked by beautiful old sailing dhows.
Madagascar, the 4th largest island in the world, comprises a variety of landscapes including highlands, deciduous forest, rainforest, open savannah and semi-desert; these provide a diverse range of habitats and as a result Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, many of them quite remarkable. Nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar offers a beautiful array of white sand beaches, azure waters and coral reefs. With a fairly underdeveloped tourism sector, if you wander off the beaten track, you will likely have this paradise all to yourself.
The small island of Nosy Be is Madagascar’s premier tourist destination attracting thousands of tourists from across the globe year round. Although Nosy Be’s beaches don’t look as picture perfect as some other beaches in the Indian Ocean, they do win points for tranquility, clear turquoise water and excellent seafood.