Discover Africa’s Hidden Beach Gems: Kirsty’s Guide to Lesser-Known Paradise Islands and Beaches

Published: 11 June 2024

Before I start, this blog is not just for honeymooners. Oh no. If anything, I wrote this for the adventurous spirit, the couple who has spent almost an entire lifetime together and who wants to see places few others have experienced. It’s for those who shun the tourist crowds and want something where nature and marine life is front and centre, and if there is a mix of more affordable and luxurious hotels then “sure, sign me up!”

It’s also a blog for those who wish to add a beach vacation to their safari - preferably an island nearby the mainland and easily accessible via a short flight. So while you’re probably familiar with the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles - today we’re covering the many other lesser-known destinations deserving of a spot on your bucket list.

Comoros: The Perfumed Islands

Image showing beach in Comoros with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Nestled between Madagascar and the African coast, Comoros is an archipelago brimming with unspoiled beauty and rich culture. Known as the "Perfumed Islands" due to the fragrant ylang-ylang and vanilla plantations, Comoros offers pristine beaches, volcanic landscapes, and vibrant marine life.

Image showing Comoros Beach from land with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Here you can explore the untouched beaches of Mohéli, enjoy snorkeling in the marine parks, and immerse yourself in the unique blend of African, Arab, and French influences.

Reunion: An Island of Adventure

Image showing Reunion Island waterfall from hike with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Near to Mauritius one will find Reunion, a French overseas territory renowned for its dramatic landscapes and adventurous spirit. Unlike typical beach destinations, Reunion combines lush forests, towering mountains, and stunning beaches. The black sand beaches of Etang-Salé, the white sands of L'Hermitage, and the turquoise lagoon of Saint-Gilles make Reunion a diverse beach getaway.

Image showing volcanic mountains on Reunion Island with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

The island also offers world-class hiking, with trails leading to active volcanoes and breathtaking waterfalls - and one of my favorite things to do here is jump onto a helicopter and explore the island from the skies - an absolute must when I’m arranging your tailor-made itinerary.

Madagascar: A Land of Enchantment

Image showing beach in Madagascar with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, is a biodiversity hotspot with a coastline dotted with idyllic beaches. Nosy Be, an island off Madagascar’s northwest coast, is famed for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and luxurious resorts.

Image showing Madagascar baobab trees with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

For a more secluded experience, Nosy Iranja offers powdery white sands and a sandbar connecting two islands. Madagascar’s beaches are perfect for diving, snorkeling, and whale watching, with the added allure of unique wildlife and lush rainforests.

Mafia Island: The Diver’s Paradise

Image showing Mafia Island, Tanzania with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Part of Tanzania’s Mafia Archipelago, Mafia Island is a haven for divers and nature enthusiasts. The island's marine park is home to some of the richest coral reefs in the world, teeming with diverse marine life, including whale sharks and sea turtles.

Image showing Mafia Island near Zanzibar with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

The tranquil beaches of Mafia Island are ideal for relaxation, and at certain times of the year swimming alongside whale sharks and turtles can be an experience few in the world can claim to have done.

Chole Island: A Step Back in Time

Image showing Chole Island, Tanzania with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Just a short boat ride from Mafia Island, Chole Island is a small, rustic island that feels like a step back in time. With no cars and limited electricity, Chole offers a truly off-the-grid experience. Visitors can explore the ruins of old Arab settlements, enjoy the serene beaches, and engage with the local community. The island's charm lies in its simplicity and the warm hospitality of its locals.

Image showing woman swimming with whale shark off chole island in Tanzania with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Perhaps what is most special about Chole Island is that it is the spot for swimming with whale sharks during certain times of the year. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is open to anyone, from seasoned divers to marine lovers. 

Pemba Island: The Green Island

Image showing Pemba Island from the sky with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Known as the "Green Island" due to its lush landscapes, Pemba Island is part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago. Pemba’s beaches are less frequented than those of its sister island, Zanzibar, offering a more tranquil and secluded escape. 

Image showing kayak in ocean with Anywhere in Africa Safaris

The island is surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, making it a premier destination for diving and snorkeling. Pemba’s lush hills, mangrove forests, and spice farms add to its allure, providing a rich cultural and natural experience.

There’s Nothing Lesser About These Lesser Known Destinations!

As a travel designer my job is to create an itinerary bursting with adventure (and relaxation), as well as catering to your budget and must-see list. Get in touch with myself, Kirsty Gordon, to plan your next bush and beach escape, or simply just an island getaway - it’s all up to you!

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