An African beach stay can make a relaxing tail or top end to a safari holiday – or it can provide an added element of fascinating culture and grand adventure, says Abra Dunsby
While Africa is usually synonymous with unparalleled wildlife experiences, its surprising, eclectic array of beaches remain under the radar.
Yet beach and safari twin perfectly in many African countries, allowing clients to wind down before or after the early mornings and thrill of game drives. Many beaches are also well suited to those who are more adventurous, offering everything from diving to surfing.
Here we round up some of the leading beach and safari options for your clients.
John Parker, product manager at Premier Holidays, recommends South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region as a good option for a coastal stay. Clients can now reach the region easily thanks to a new British Airways Heathrow to Durban route, launching this month.
“I suggest a stay in Umhlanga, boasting wide sandy beaches lined with exclusive hotels and a wide range of watersports, combined with a game reserve in Hluhluwe or hiking in the Drakensberg mountains,” adds Parker.
“The five-star Oyster Box in Umhlanga is an iconic hotel enjoying a stunning location opposite the famous lighthouse. Clients can soak up its colonial charm, lush tropical gardens and seaside setting alongside its legendary reputation.”
Book it: Prices start from £1,199pp for a four-night B&B stay with Premier Holidays, including flights and transfers, based on two sharing. trade.premierholidays.co.uk
Zanzibar is more than just a sublime beach island – its crystalline, coral- fringed waters are rich in marine life, making it one of the world’s best diving destinations. Visitors can spot migrating whale sharks from August to September and again from February to March, while humpback and sperm whales also migrate through the waters in August.
A stay on the island pairs perfectly with a Tanzania safari. Tour operator Acacia’s 11-day Highlights of Tanzania trip is one of its most popular tours. It includes a four-night stay on Zanzibar, with the first night spent in cultural Stone Town – a Unesco World Heritage site – before heading to the island’s northern beaches.
Book it: The tour, priced from £972pp, is aimed at clients aged 18-39. acacia-africa.com
Mozambique is home to a plethora of beaches, from dune-filled coves to windswept stretches that are popular with surfers. Jonny May, regional product manager at Audley Travel, recommends combining a classic Kruger safari in South Africa with the lesser-known, secluded Machangulo Peninsula in southern Mozambique.
May suggests a stay at Machangulo Beach Lodge, which is surrounded by three nature and two marine reserves. “The white sandy beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters of Machangulo are what makes Mozambique one of the best beach destinations in Africa,” he says.
As well as sun worshipping, clients can enjoy activities including fishing, diving and kayaking, or they can try a taste of local living on a trip to the nearby village of Santa Maria.
Book it: The 12-day holiday, which includes four nights in Kruger and five nights on the Machangulo peninsula, costs from £4,230pp including flights, transfers, accommodation and some meals. audleytravel.com
After exploring the biodiversity and wildlife of Madagascar, clients can kick back and relax on one of its many beaches.
Volanirina Raveloson, executive director of the Madagascar Tourism Board, recommends the country’s southern region for its idyllic beaches, specifically Ambatomilo.
“This small village, located 77 miles from Tulear in the Morombe district, is a truly unique haven,” she says. “Ambatomilo comprises a beautiful turquoise lagoon, which is the world’s third largest, and a beach often listed as one of the most beautiful in the world.”
Visitors can stay at remote Mikea Lodge, which offers accommodation in the form of 10 tented beachfront bungalows, and includes a variety of cultural and nature-based experiences, such as visits to Mikea national park.
Book it: Rainbow Tours can tailor a Madagascar itinerary to include a three-night stay at Mikea Lodge. rainbowtours.co.uk