Relaxing places in Africa
Half of Santana Beach is taken up by the village while the other half is occupied by the luxury resort Santana Club. The resort has jacuzzi, infinity pool and swaying palms, the local section has fishing boats and swaying palms. It's a bit of a contrast between the resort guests and the villagers, but they seem to coexist in harmony.
Second, only to Saly on La Petite Côte, Cap Skirring is one of the most popular package destinations in West Africa. You will almost inevitably see the wristband-carrying all-includers stroll around town, when they, by accident, have left their resort. However, there are plenty of beach and family owned guesthouses and bungalows to go around – and plenty of these are far from the resorts' private beaches. It's one of those rare places on the West African coast where it's possible to indulge in all those usual beach vacation activities. From lazing around on the beach chairs, over dune buggies and surfing, to diving and water skiing. Here's even a golf course.
With almost 100 km of endless beach, it is no surprise that La Petite Côte is home to the majority of Senegal's tourism. It's all centred around the tourist mecca of Saly. Here is plenty of beach activities and bars – and probably more tacky souvenirs than in the rest of the country combined. If you are not part of the charter crowd, you might want to head to one of the quieter villages elsewhere on the coast during the tourist season (December-May). Toubab Dialaw, Popenguine and Nianing comes to mind. Outside the season, it is necessary to be more careful picking a place to stay as large parts of the beach outside Saly are only cleaned when the sea-side hotels are busy. Thus, staying in Sali during the summer might be the best option. Fingers crossed, most of the souvenir-sellers will have returned home to help their families in the fields during the rains.
A small shady beach with palms and trees. It's right at the road junction, so if you're bussing around the island, you might end up here while waiting for the next bus. It's certainly not the worst bus stop.
This is what postcards are made of. A long and ridiculously pretty beach. Shady trees fringe the white strip of sand and here and there lean a coconut palm over the translucent waters. The small settlement of Baie Lazare lies right north of the beach and there are some bungalows at the southern end, but there is a shady spot for everyone.
This long gently arching beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the Seychelles. Big granite boulders are scattered around the ends and a variety of trees and palms fringe the broad pale-sand beach. The aquamarine waters can be rough, but there is an area for safe swimming. As this is a famous beach, expect lots of curative couples walking up and down looking for that perfect photo spot.
A small bay with a narrow beach. Motorboats are anchored up in the bay and the beach has a nice local vibe.
The long beach at Anse Royal is far from being the best beach on Mahé, but it's equally white and pretty as the others. Since it runs along the town of Anse Royal, it has a bit of a local vibe with people hanging around in the shade.
Right next to the road lies this series of small beaches. Big boulders separate the pockets of sand and leafy palms. Just off-shore lies the tiny island Ile Souris, which is great for snorkelling. Fairyland is a nice shady alternative to the long exposed beach at Royal Bay next door.
The name says it all. Freetown's primary getaway destination is a short boat ride off the southwestern tip of the peninsula. The two islands, connected by a small causeway, offer beautiful beaches and great forest hiking, respectively. The three guesthouses here range from basic to luxurious, and the local fishing communities will be happy to provide any visitors with a taste of the islands' palm wine. If neither relaxing in a beach hammock nor hilly forest walks are your thing, the guesthouses offer a range of water-based activities: snorkeling and diving, boat and fishing trips, even spearfishing.