Adventure Beaches

Top 5 Island Destinations in Africa to Explore This Holiday

Written by Abraham Odhiambo

If laying back surrounded with long white sand beaches is what you crave for, then there are numerous island destinations in Africa waiting for you. African islands are beautiful and they can be associated with spectacular beaches, lapping waves, swaying palm trees, carefree days wiled away under the sun’s rays, and endangered flora and fauna.

So, this holiday forget about the usual safari tour to Maasai Mara or a trip to the ancient Egyptian monuments and plan an exploration of the exotic African islands. There is plenty to do in these islands that constitute the major geographical sub-region of the African continent.

1. Sal, Cape Verde 

Located on the western coast, Cape Verde is one of the most popular island destinations in Africa. Sal is the archipelago’s most popular spot for holidaymakers because it not only cater for serious beach goers, but also those in search of something a little more unique.

Island destinations in Africa

Sal, Cape Verde. Photo/ TUI.

From golden sandy beaches sinking into cool waters to some truly spectacular natural phenomena worth exploring, Sal is the place to be this festive season. There is also a lot of  history to learn here, and Cape Verde at large. Other places to explore in Cape Verde include Cidade Velha, Sao Vicente, Praia de Chaves and Praia de Santa Maria.

2. Nosy Ankao, Madagascar 

Situated on the far northeast coast of Madagascar, Nosy Ankao is a remote island which happens to be one the leading beach retreats in the world. Board your private helicopter in Nosy Be for a 1 hour trip to the island which is the largest in the Nosy Ankao archipelago.

There’s a whole string of uninhabited tropical islands off this coast that are waiting to be explored. Enjoy whale watching, shipwreck dives and the abundance of marine life such as turtles, which are nestled on the shore.

Nosy Ankao

Nosy Ankao. Photo/ Robb Report.

3. Zanzibar Island 

Well, no list of the most beautiful island destinations in Africa would be complete without Zanzibar. For so many years, the Zanzibar archipelago has been attracting tourists from different parts of the world and it’s not surprising why.

From enjoying water sports such as snorkelling and diving to exploring the various historical places, there are so many things to do here that you’ll be spoilt for choice. This tropical island shouldn’t be missed, especially when on a safari in Tanzania or Kenya.

4. Sao Tome and Principe 

The second smallest country in the African continent, Sao Tome and Principe is situated off the west coast of Central Africa. The islands are well loved by tourists who come here since they offer options for adventurous activities and are a favourite spot for water sports lovers. Here, you can enjoy snorkelling, fishing and also bird watching.

Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe. Photo/ Niarra Travel.

Sao Tome and Principe were formed by volcanic activity and are covered with bio-diverse rainforests and the best greenery. Ensure you pass by the chocolate factories and taste the world’s best coffee before travelling back home.

5. Mwali, Comoros 

Also known as Moheli, Mwali is the smallest and the least developed of the three islands constituting Comoros. It is a stunning tropical paradise blessed with pristine beaches, lush greenery and crystal-clear waters. Activities to enjoy here include fishing, snorkelling, boating, sailing and whale watching. This is the place to go if you’re a nature enthusiast and beach lover seeking to have a memorable holiday this December.


Island destinations in Africa. Photo/

Top attractions to explore in Mwali include the Niumashuwa Forest, a protected area home to unique flora and fauna, and Moheli Marine Park, which is the only national park in Comoros.

What Are The Major Islands in Africa?

The islands of Africa can be subdivided into Indian Ocean Islands and Atlantic Ocean Islands. The largest number of islands are found in the Indian Ocean, with the most notable ones being Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles.

What Are The Offshore Islands in Africa?

  • Madagascar
  • Zanzibar
  • Mauritius
  • Lamu
  • Seychelles
  • Pemba
  • Reunion

What Holiday Island Is Off The Coast of Africa?

The Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde, which is made up of ten islands floating in the Atlantic Ocean, is located off the west coast of Africa. Here, the weather is sunny throughout the year which means there’s plenty of choice for when to go.

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About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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