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Best African Beaches for Bookworms

Tropical spots to relax with a novel

At present, the Quirimba Islands are closed for tourism but we will keep you updated as soon as anything changes.

Best beaches for bookworms - cape town

Clifton Beach

Cape Town

If you’re looking for a sunny spot in the Mother City to park yourself with your new holiday read, look no further than Clifton. Here, you’re spoilt for choice with four beautiful beaches to pick from (helpfully named 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th), each with white sandy shores and azure waters. Whilst on some beaches you might be tempted to stray away from your book with a cooling swim in the sea, you won’t have that trouble at Clifton: the waters are known for being a little chillier than you might expect, so it’s best for a quick dip and back to the safety of your towel and whichever tale you have your nose stuck in. And if you get carried away with your plotline (desperately trying to find out whodunnit) and find yourself still at the beach later on, fear not, for Clifton has some of the most spectacular sunset views in the whole of South Africa. So, sit back and enjoy the show.

Just because you’re done with the beach, doesn’t mean you have to be done with the views. Stay at Cape View Clifton Beach House, a designer den perched high above those beautiful waves. Move over Amalfi, this is the cliff-side spot to be at.

Best beaches for bookworms - diani beach

Diani Beach


The sultry shores of Kenya’s Diani are exactly what you’d expect to read about in an African novel. Here you can wander along miles of white sand, searching for the perfect spot to park yourself, book in hand – and what a place to do it! Diani Beach is what people mean when they say ‘picture-perfect’ and the cloud-like beach stretches out before you as far as the eye can see, hemmed on one side by lush turquoise waters and the other with waving palm fronds. When evening comes, we advocate leaving your book behind and spending your nights supping on cocktails in the local restaurants and bars. We think we might have just described the perfect day…

If you’re after a little gem to stay in with beach views, great food and courteous staff (and really who isn’t?) then look no further than the Waterlovers Beach Resort. Perched right on the shore’s edge, you won’t have to wander far to find the perfect spot to nestle with your tome.

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Best beaches for bookworms - kaya mawa

Lake Malawi


Just because you’re in a landlocked country, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little beachside R&R with a book, and this spot is the first in our argument in favour of inland beaches… Arguably the most famous feature of this miniature nation, Lake Malawi takes up almost half the country and is a staggering 365 miles long from top-to-toe, and 52 miles in width. Even better, the turquoise waters are edged with crisp, white sand and you’d be forgiven for forgetting you’re actually in the middle of the continent! No one will ask anything of you here and it’s the perfect spot to spend your days, book in hand. And, if you happen to be reading a fast-paced thriller and find yourself inspired to try something adventurous, the water activities are excellent and there are plenty of mango-strewn forests begging to be explored.

For a special stay in the land of the lake, we love the dreamy Kaya Mawa. Set on its own private island, huddled on the shores of a cotton-candy beach, coastal breaks don’t get much better.

Best beaches for bookworms - dhow boats

Quirimbas Archipelago


From inland idylls we take you to pristine private islands in the Indian Ocean. Miles from the mainland, Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago is an undiscovered patchwork of atolls and islands scattered off the northern coast of the country and truly a beach lover’s paradise. Here you won’t need to ask people to leave you in peace with your beach read, as there won’t be anyone around to disturb you! You and your book will be almost entirely alone, a mere speck in the Indian Ocean, so spend your days getting lost in fictional worlds, roaming long stretches of white sand and picnicking on desert islands.

We don’t like to play favourites here at Timbuktu but we think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more magical Quirimbas retreat than the entirely unique Ibo Island Lodge. Comprised of three majestic, 150-year-old buildings, restored to their former glory, the lodge is a tranquil hideaway: think wide verandas for sipping sundowners, a rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking the sea, romantic four poster beds and a quiet sense of barefoot luxury.

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Best beaches for bookworms - Greystoke mahale

Lake Tanganyika


Another attempt to convert you to an inland beach break is Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika. Sat beneath the jagged peaks of the Mahale Mountains National Park, Lake Tanganyika is the stuff of mystical African dreams. There’s still a beach to relax on with an enthralling novel, but this beach will be surrounded by lush jungle habitats speckled with enchanting streams, waterfalls, and plenty of multi-coloured birds. Does it get much better than that? Well actually, it does! When you fancy a bit more activity, head out on a trek in search of the famous chimpanzees in a truly life-changing experience.

We really think that if you’ve travelled all this way, luxury is the only way forward when it comes to your accommodation. Roll in Greystoke Mahale! The undisputed champion of rustic opulence, here you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the land that time forgot.

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Best beaches for bookworms - north island lodge

North Island


If you’re looking for an exclusive and ultra-luxurious spot to read a book and forget about the world, look no further than North Island. Put all preconceived thoughts of luxury aside, this Seychelles resort really is in a league of its own. It’s a place to escape everything, a private island, so exclusive that it hosts just 11 villas. It certainly isn’t hard to find your own undisturbed reading spot on the beach, the tricky part is choosing which palm tree to settle yourself under! If you want to take a break from the books, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained: think days filled with kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling, and evenings spent enjoying champagne and canapes over a beach bonfire, prepared by your private chef of course.

If it’s good enough for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge…

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Best beaches for bookworms - princesse bora

Nosy Boraha


With white sandy beaches, gin clear waters and swaying palm fronds, Nosy Boraha is the Madagascan island paradise of your dreams. Not only can you use the peace and quiet to become fully engrossed in a good book, you can actually be in one! Well almost… It’s said that Nosy Boraha is the inspiration for one of the most famous novels of all time, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The author was inspired by stories from the 17th and 18th centuries when the island was home to more than a thousand pirates who used it as a base to intercept and plunder the ships travelling from the East Indies, laden with valuable cargo.

As well as exploring the island’s pirate past, there are hundreds of quiet spots to settle yourself with an adventurous read and block the rest of the world out. Stay within walking distance to some of the best reading nooks at the Princesse Bora Lodge, just a short stroll from picturesque Sainte-Marie Beach. And if you decide that even that little meander is too far, then you can settle instead in a hammock on your private veranda, bliss.

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