The run-up to Christmas has its charms, especially if you’re surrounded by excitable children, but as all adults know, what really looks attractive at this time of year is the prospect of escaping to the sunshine come January or February. When it’s cold and damp outside, the mere thought of turquoise waves lapping against pristine white sand, lying back in the warmth with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other, and perhaps with some colourful tropical birds singing to each other in the palm trees overhead, is the stuff that dreams are made of.
At Africa Exclusive, we like to think of ourselves as dream makers: far better than Christmas elves in their workshop, we create bespoke experiences for every guest. And at this time of year, it’s no surprise that winter sun is high on everyone’s wish list. We’ve therefore asked our team to compile a list of their favourite escapes, and summarised them into this list of the best beaches for 2017.
North Island, Seychelles
North Island is the last word in luxury, a tropical island hideaway with 11 guest villas made from local materials. The laid-back ambience means that each villa feels like a very upmarket beach house, and you can step straight from your deck onto the sand. It’s a particularly private, romantic spot, ideal for relaxing with the one you love. There are plenty of ways to indulge yourself, from spa treatments and massage to the admirable contents of the wine cellar, and the daily menus — often created from ingredients harvested on the island — are some of the most imaginative in the Seychelles.
Azura Benguerra Island, Mozambique
Azura is renowned for barefoot luxury, and the Benguerra Island resort feels simultaneously rustic and chic. Accessible only by boat or helicopter, you can enjoy the solitude here in a Marine National Park. The Indian Ocean is a constant presence, dictating the orientation of the villas for optimal views, the fresh seafood and fish on the ever-changing menu, and the range of activities to enjoy. Snorkelling and scuba diving are perennially popular, and you can borrow equipment and learn to dive on the island. Those who prefer to keep their feet dry can sail directly from the beach on a traditional dhow, fish, spot dolphin and whale, or picnic on the sandbanks at low tide.
Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius
The family-friendly Le Prince Maurice manages to combine a spectacular location with stunning villas designed with Feng Shui principles in mind, exquisite attention to detail and customer service, and a wide-ranging programme of activities which will appeal to guests of all ages. The ribbon of white sand is fringed with lush tropical greenery, and the sea is shallow, warm, and crystal clear. At Le Barachois restaurant you can dine out on pontoons above the water, feasting on seafood caught by fisherman that day.
Essque Zalu, Zanzibar
Even the name of Zanzibar conjures up images of an island paradise. At Essque Zalu, you won’t be disappointed. This dramatically designed hotel is framed by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, and backed by rich forest. You can walk out above the water on the long jetty, move back and forth between the sea and the magnificent infinity pool, and, if you have more energy, dive, jet-ski, and parasail was well.
Coffee Bay, South Africa
If you want to laze in the sunshine by day, but enjoy a vibrant nightlife after dark, South Africa’s Coffee Bay is a vibrant destination with Fair Trade-certified ecolodges coming right down to the sand. There are full moon parties on the cliff top, and Xhosa dance performances on the sands, as well as some excellent opportunities for surfing and hiking. It attracts a much younger crowd than our other favourite beaches, so is one to consider if you’re travelling with teenagers in tow.
The world’s best beaches are often understandably busy, but when you book with Africa Exclusive you can be confident that our destination specialists have already sought out the undiscovered gems, and booked you a space in paradise. In our best beaches of 2017 you’ll find no crowds, no pollution, and no unsightly development, only the beach stay you’ve always dreamed of.
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One of the leading Africa travel specialists for over 25 years, our team has hundreds of years of combined travel experience.
Our specialists have a personal understanding of the destinations they are recommending for you.
You will have your travel planner and a dedicated co-ordinator ensure that you receive the best service from the moment you first contact us until you return from your holiday.
Our detailed planning and preparation will ensure that your holiday runs like clockwork.
Experience impeccable service throughout your holiday with the support of our dedicated and experienced partners on the ground.
We have a 24 hour emergency phone contact, should you need to speak with us while you are away.
We aim to provide you with your ideal holiday, individually designed just for you and expertly organised. When you book with us you receive this perfectly designed holiday, travel advice and preparation, flawless organisation of the trip, ATOL financial protection and our 25 years’ experience. Because we have excellent confidential rates with lodges and airlines, the price of your holiday will be generally the same as you would pay were you to somehow book all the lodges, transfers and flights yourself.
There is a world of difference between one of our tailormade safaris and most package holidays printed in a brochure. Package holidays are usually designed to be as cheap as possible and of course involve large numbers of people doing the same thing. Our safaris use small, more exclusive and remote camps usually with guests flying in, and often virtually everything is included in the price. The experience is completely different.
Many of these small lodges and camps have broadly similar prices, and it is possible to arrange a superb safari holiday for between £6,000 to £10,000 per person ($8,000 – $13,000) season dependant, all inclusive. Realistically it is difficult to reduce that figure, and by including Botswana in peak season, chartering a private plane, disappearing to some magical desert island, or flying at the front of the plane it’s easy to substantially increase that figure!