Indagare Matchmaker: Post-African Safari Beach Destinations

It’s hard to top a safari, but we recommend spending a few days relaxing in a serene locale after the staggering drama of days filled with game drives and meals in the bush. Africa has some of the most stunning beaches in the world, making the transition from wide-open plains to white-sand beaches quite easy. From the celebrity-adored hideaways in the Seychelles to the smaller but equally luxurious private island resorts that dot the Indian Ocean, the options for end-of-trip pampering are plentiful. But, selecting the best place to unwind is dependent both on where you are going on safari and the level of service you prefer. Here, we break down the key differences between seven of our favorite beach destinations in the region.

Contact us for assistance planning a customized safari and beach retreat. Our dedicated trip designers will match you with the destinations and properties that are best for you.

Benguerra Island, Mozambique

The second largest island in Mozambique is a secluded haven on the Indian Ocean. Opened in 2020 and great for both couples and families, Kisawa Sanctuary is the latest option on the island with a focus on sustainability. Embodying a more romantic atmosphere is andBeyond Benguerra Island, which delivers a castaway vibe with its 13 beachside bungalows. Down the beach from andBeyond, Azura Benguerra Island is the best option for families and travelers on a budget seeking rooms with easy beach access.

  • Where You’ve Been: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia
  • Who Should Go: Benguerra Island has a property for all travelers seeking a beachy end to their safari, whether they be couples, families or friends.
  • Top Activities: Snorkeling, catamaran cruises, scuba diving, spa treatments, picnic on a deserted beach, visiting local fishing villages
  • Keep in Mind: Benguerra is in a Malaria zone, and even though the highest risk of contracting the disease is during rainy seasons (December – February), it’s best to take anti-Malaria medication before your trip and to bring strong bug repellent. Indagare Tip: Off carries bug spray-drenched wipes which are easier to transport than bottles of spray.
  • How to Get There: There are direct flights to Vilankulos from Johannesburg (1 hour 40 minutes) and Nelspruit, near Kruger National Park (1 hour 15 minutes). It is then an 8-minute helicopter ride to the island (included in the room rate).

andBeyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar

Note: Mnemba is closed for renovations through September 2024

One of the most stunning private islands in the world, Mnemba has long been the destination of choice for sophisticated travelers looking to relax in unpretentious luxury. Here, rooms are stocked with a beach bag, straw hats and kikois and African sarongs (which make up the island's unofficial uniform).

  • Where You’ve Been: Tanzania, Kenya
  • Who Should Go: Anyone who loves beaches and wants to spend most of their time relaxing. Mnemba is a place for people to truly unplug.
  • Top Activities: Scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, windsurfing, whale watching (July-September) and torchlight dinners
  • Keep in Mind: Not quite three miles in circumference, Mnemba is all about relaxation and appreciating the beauty in nature’s simplicity, so those who easily get stir crazy might be happier at a larger resort.
  • How to Get There: You can fly direct from Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi airports to Zanzibar International Airport. From there, it's a 1.5-hour drive and 10-minute boat ride to the island.


A 115 island archipelago north of Madagascar, the Seychelles combine sandy beaches and coral reefs with dramatic mountainous landscapes—plus traditional Creole cuisine. The main island of Mahé is home to Anantara MAIA, with large private villas ideal for couples, as well as the Four Seasons Seychelles to satisfy families and loyal fans of the brand. Accessible by heli from Mahé is North Island, a private island channeling quintessential barefoot luxury, and a bit further away the wellness-focused Six Senses Zil Payson ideal for families and couples alike.

  • Where You’ve Been: Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya
  • Who Should Go: The Seychelles has an options for everyone, whether you're seeking a full-service resort, secluded beachside villas or a private island experience.
  • Top Activities: While the activities differ slightly by location and hotel, it is possible to do snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, surfing lessons, standup paddle boarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, beach sports, hiking, nature walks, yoga, spa treatments, visits to local communities and golfing
  • Keep in Mind: Many flights to and from Mahé leave late at night and North Island can only be accessed during the day, so visitors staying there may need to spend a night in Mahé.
  • How to Get There: Fly into Seychelles International Airport, which has direct flights from most major cities in Africa, making this an easy post-safari option. From Mahé, North Island and Six Senses Zil Payson can be accessed via helicopter or boat from other islands.

Thanda Island, Tanzania

The private Thanda Island, a five-bedroom villa on its own 20-acre isle in the Indian Ocean, offers the most luxurious way for a large family or group of friends to begin or end an East African trip.

  • Where You’ve Been: Tanzania, Kenya
  • Who Should Go: Thanda offers a luxurious tropical experience in East Africa, providing a Robinson Crusoe vacation on a private island with world-class luxury. It is a fabulous multi-generational trip venue as Thanda Island sleeps up to 26 people and welcomes children of all ages.
  • Top Activities: Jet skiing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, fishing, yoga, spa treatments, excursions with resident marine biologists and visits to local communities
  • Keep in Mind: Thanda is available only for full take-overs, at a rate of $45,000 per night (which includes helicopter transfers from Dar Es Salaam, as well as unlimited spa treatments), and there is a minimum stay requirement based on the season.
  • How to Get There: Fly on a scheduled plane from Dar es Salaam to Mafia Island, then take a 30-minute boat ride to Thanda. Alternatively, Indagare can arrange a private helicopter charter from Dar directly to Thanda’s helipad that is included in the hotel rate.

Time + Tide Miavana, Madagascar

The island of Madagascar is one of the rarest, most diverse and critically endangered habitats in the world and home to the beautiful, 14-villa Miavana private island resort. Here, species that are nearly extinct coexist, forming a unique ecosystem that is truly exotic.

  • Where You’ve Been: South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya
  • Who Should Go: Adventurous couples and families looking to experience one of the most precious, untouched island gems of the Indian Ocean.
  • Top Activities: Scuba diving, fishing, paddle boarding and trekking to see lemurs and turtles
  • Keep in Mind: Flights from Antananarivo to Diego Suarez are infrequent and travelers may be required to spend a night there at a mid-range hotel before continuing on to Miavana.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Johannesburg to Nosy Be and then take a 1-hour helicopter to Miavana. Alternatively, fly to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, then fly to Diego Suarez and the take a 30-minute helicopter to Miavana.

Kenyan Coast

An easy hop from Kenya's famed safari regions, the Kenyan coast is a convenient, relaxing add-on at the end of a safari. For ultimate luxury and an almost James Bonde-esque setting, takeover-only Sirai Beach House is the top pick, while those seeking an idyllic setting, delicious Italian food and an ultra-private experience might prefer Alfajiri Villas.

  • Where You’ve Been: Anywhere in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda
  • Who Should Go: Families and groups seeking either high luxury or a relaxing escape with excellent service.
  • Top Activities: Snorkeling, dolphin watching, scuba diving, windsurfing, dhow excursions (a tradition Kenyan boat) and golf
  • Keep in Mind: Neither property is directly on the beach, but each has at least one easily accessible beach nearby.
  • How to Get There: Sirai can be reached from anywhere in Kenya via the owners private monoplane as well as from Rwanda and Tanzania with the necessary border control stops. Travelers to Alfajiri can fly direct from Masai Mara or Nairobi to Diani Airport and take a five-minute transfer to the resort.

Far Flung Honorable Mention: The Maldives

The setting for many an "over-water bungalow dream," the Maldives has long lured travelers with its castaway charm, sandy beaches and excellent diving and surfing. For the sophisticated traveler (be it couples or families with teens), the private island resort Cheval Blanc Randheli is the top pick, while travelers seeking a buzzier scene with an emphasis on pampering and entertainment may be happiest at One&Only Reethi Rah. Of the two COMO properties (for fans of COMO Parrot Cay in the Caribbean), COMO Cocoa Island has a beach shack chic vibe that appeals to couples while the many villa options at COMO Maalifushi invites both couples and families. Plus, Four Seasons loyalists have the option of Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru with its abundance of active pursuits and location in a UNESCO Marine Biosphere. These are just a few of the Maldives many idyllic properties.

  • Where You’ve Been: Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya
  • Who Should Go: Couples and families who do not expect to visit the Maldives otherwise.
  • Top Activities: Lounging on the beach, water sports, spa treatments and surfing (at specific properties from July to September)
  • Keep in Mind: The Maldives are not the simplest add-on to a safari. Although geographically closer than the U.S., it can still take up to 24 hours to reach the Maldives from Africa. Those committing to the journey will want to spend at least four to five nights to make it worth while.
  • How to Get There: Most flights to the Maldives will connect in Dubai or Doha. From there, it is a four and a half hour flight to Malé Airport in the Maldives where travelers will take a boat or seaplane to their final destination.

This content was reviewed and verified by Indagare Senior Director of African Safari, Rose Taylor.

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