One thing's for sure, Africa has plenty of islands! Some of these islands are just paradise on their own. Characterized by spectacular flora and fauna with magnificent beaches that welcome you to their graceful waters and ecosystems.
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We put together this collection of our ten most beautiful islands, to make it easy for you to organize your best trip; as well as a daydream about sand (or rocks) at your feet.
10. Sao Tome and Principe
Sao Tome and Principe is a two-island nation off the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. It is one of the few island nations in West Africa that attracts huge tourist flow. There are many nearly exclusive beautiful beaches.
Once the world’s leading cocoa producer and still one the best producers of high-quality coffee, this is a place for lovers of these two beverages to enjoy the natural taste from its source. Due to the small population on these two islands, beaches are less populated and thus provide a high level of exclusivity of any given public beach in the world.
Yet, there are still many exclusively private beaches that dot the two islands. There is a smooth blend between the coastal environment and the interiors making it easy for one to seamlessly transition between the two environments. The two islands, especially Principe, are a paradise for bird watchers.
9. Lamu Archipelago
Lamu archipelago is found on the north coast of Kenya. It is famously known as ‘secluded beauty’ due to its highly secluded environment and hidden beaches. Peace, quietude, and tranquility are its famous hallmarks. There are several eyelet islands on the Lamu archipelago. Lamu is characterized by white sand beaches and clear blue waters of the Indian ocean. Shela village is one of the most famous villages in Lamu. The 700-year-old town of Lamu is characteristically famed for its narrow streets which are impassable for cars. Donkey rides are common as they are the best means of navigating these narrow streets. Apart from donkeys, canoes and dhows are the other means of transport. Lamu town is home to some of the most ancient historic buildings dating back to almost half a millennia. It is a mixture of culture involving the Arabs, Africans (Swahili people), and Portuguese. It is also a leading UNESCO World Heritage Site along the east coast of Africa.1 Elaborately carved wooden doors, inner courtyards, mangrove timber, verandas, etc are the hallmarks of Lamu town. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities along the shores.
8. Nosy Be, Madagascar
Nosy Be is the smallest island of Madagascar archipelago. It is very popular with tourists around the world. It receives visitors all-season, and is not reputed for great beaches, but rather an environment with a high tranquility that allows re-connection with calming nature. Crystal clear turquoise waters and the scenic smooth sculptured stones, plus surrounding green vegetation, makes it a great place to unwind. The mouthwatering sea dishes makes it a good place to sample out a unique taste of culinary art.
7. Moheli Island, Comoros
Moheli Island is the smallest of the three major islands that make up Comoros. Comoros is a small island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, East Coast of Africa. What attracts tourists most to Moheli is its marine life comprising of rare sea turtles, whales, and dolphins which inhabit the protected zone. The colorful coral reefs help to accentuate the stunning natural beauty of the Moheli beaches. Due to its relatively calm waters, it attracts snorkeling parties from around the globe!
6. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Bazaruto archipelago has maintained its stunning natural beauty due to it being a national park. It remains a great blend of land and sea ecosystems in their natural habitat. The beaches remain clean and pristine with minimal offshore activities. Whales, sharks, dolphins, and rare colorful marine fish species grace the offshore waters. It is a great place to explore the underworld of marine life. As such, it remains one of the best entry or exit points for those who want to experience both safari tourism and beach tourism. Pertaining to safari tourism, Mozambique, especially its northern part, is home to some of the most spectacular grassland wildlife – the big cats and the big herbivores call it their home.
5. Djerba, Tunisia
Djerba is the largest island and most visited beach for tourist attraction in North Africa. You can find it north of Tunisia, along the Mediterranean Ocean. Djerba blends ecotourism with cultural tourism. Visitors can enjoy the authentic traditions that are greatly expressed in the architecture, culinary art, and virtually the way of life for the locals. Despite highly modern beach resorts, this largely remains undiluted. The sandy beaches are extremely beautiful, and the options available for sports are plenty both onshore and offshore.
4. Sal, Cape Verde
Cape Verde is an archipelago comprising of 10 islands in total. All are great islands for beach life. However, Sal comes out top as the most loved tourist destination. This is due to its great nightlife, scenic marine beauty, warm shallow waters that make it fun to do snorkeling and overall nerve-calming atmosphere.
3. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Zanzibar is a palm-fringed archipelago on the east coast of Africa. It is an autonomous island that is part of Tanzania Republic. In Zanzibar rests the Nungwi village, from which you can witness dhows which are characteristics of the ancient Arab tradition along the coast of East Africa. Mnemba Island on this archipelago is famed for scuba diving, snorkeling, whale watching, and swimming with the dolphins. There are several cottages known as ‘bandas’ along the beach each with its own veranda and etched within the lush tropical forest shade. Zanzibar is popularly known as ‘spicy island’ due to the plenty of spices and is also famed for its exceptionally polite inhabitants. It is also home to Stone Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Stone Town comprises of ancient buildings of early Arabic architecture.2
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. It is an archipelago comprising of smaller islets whose citizens are highly hospitable people; a true melting pot of culture, flavors, and sunshine. Trou-aux-Biches is a popular town where the best beaches are located. The town itself boasts of a mile-long stretch of fine white sand with a calm pristine environment suitable for a family relaxation. After your trip, you'll be able to take with you the exotic spices and memorable unique crafts.
Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa and north of Madagascar. What can you expect to find here? Giant tortoises, black parrots, and coconut crabs are just some of the unique fauna of this exceptional island nation. Seychelles is a birds paradise. Here you can watch different types of birds as they sing for you unique happy melodies. Anse Source d’Argent is a famous location with plenty of beaches. It is located on the island of La Digue and is loved by the public. In case you desire private party space, then you can find exclusive beaches in Fregate, Desroches, or Denis islands which are quite remote and detached. Praslin is the most well-known island in terms of tourist attractions. Seychelles is considered one of the world’s most romantic destinations. Gently curving palms, shallow turquoise waters, smooth curvy boulders, and a pure white sand floor makes this a paradise archetype.
Pack your bags!
The sunbathing in the warmth of African beaches are incomparable to any other place in the world. We hope these beautiful African islands have ignited the travel bug within you and we assure you they are some of the most unique paradises in the world. Bon voyage!