Top 5 places for swimming in Africa

5 Places to Enjoy Africa’s Clearest Waters

Think about it, in all of Africa, there are endless places to swim on some of the very best beaches highlighting world class resorts on an extended and beautiful coastline. Africa’s southern seashore extends for miles from the tip of Somalia on the East Coast to Cape Town in the Deep South and then up to the untrodden west coast of Angola and beyond, north to the Ivory Coast. 

In this blog, we focus on the magnificent beaches and fancy coastal resorts from sensational Tanzania and Zanzibar Island to Namibia’s wild and rugged Skeleton coast in a huge u-shape of magic, bliss, remote wildness and scenic wonder.   

Holidays in Africa offer all the thrills of environmental beauty, outdoor activities, cultural enlightenment, and a wealth of fascinating history. We know there are hundreds of places to swim in clear waters in Africa, from coastline to coastline and inland in lakes and dams and rivers. But here are our top 5 places to swim in Africa’s

  1. Segera Retreat, Kenya

Segera Retreat Kenya

Clear water runs deep in central Kenya, between the glorious Mount Kenya to the east and the Great Rift Valley to the west. Swimming in rivers, waterfalls and crysal springs makes hearets sings and bodies come alive. Take a tip from us, when you go to Kenya again you should really head towards the Laikipia Plateau to a flawless retreat called Segera. 

Because this is a stunningly diverse and seemingly magical environment where you will find woodlands, grasslands and fertile riverbeds. Clear water flows from the Aberdare Mountains down to the Segera River in the south. Stand beside the cascading waterfall flowing from the Segera River, then seek the natural Ivy Springs in the Valley of Kiseregai Creek which attracts herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, warthog and myriad other species throughout the year.

The water is clear at Segera Retreat thanks to the owners’ commitment to the ongoing conservation of this region and its natural resources.  Wild game roams the 20,000 hectares of the nature reserve where travellers become part of sustainable tourism in action. 

At Segera Retreat, water is the lifeblood for all wildlife and guests and the lodge lives by the 4 Cs – conservation, community, culture and commerce. Feel renewed with hope when you leave here. 

We love the enticing outdoor hot tubs on private decks of lavish eco villas – warm and inviting to swim in! What about the huge swimming pool and a pampering spa where water flows as treatment for all your aches and pains too?

  1. Lake Victoria, Kenya

Kenya's Lakes

Have you ever dreamed of swimming in the clearest waters of Africa’s Lake Victoria? Kenya is renowned for several clear water lakes, brimming with fish, algae, frogs, and mind-boggling biodiversity. Dating back as long as 40 million years ago, Kenya’s Great Rift Valley is made up of some of the oldest and largest and deepest lakes in the world. This means that Kenya is a fundamental part of the African Great Lakes region which run through Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. These lakes are an integral part of the massive East African Rift that follows the Red Sea in the north down to Kenya, Uganda, and the fringes of South Sudan. The Great Rift runs along two separate branches that only join in Southern Tanzania along its border with Zambia. These are called the Western Rift and the Eastern Rift valleys.

You would have heard of the hugest African lakes, Lake Malawi (the world’s eighth-largest freshwater lake by area), Lake Victoria (the second largest freshwater lake in the world by area), and Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth). It is unbelievable that Knya has 64 lakes and 8 of these are linked in a chain in the Rift Valley but only two of them have fresh drinking water. The water evaporates so fast from these lakes that the minerals and salts intensify, and no water ever flows form the lakes.   

Get out there to see these water visions and then treat your kids to a Kenya island holiday at Mfangano Island Camp where joie de vivre awaits on Lake Victoria. One of our top 5 places to swim in clear fresh water, this is the perfect family holiday destination complete with plenty of watery lake activities – fishing, birding, sundowner cruises, water sports as well as rock art hikes. You can choose to spend the whole day just lazing in the sun while enjoying the freshest fish dishes and other delectable fares. 

  1. Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

Did you know that Lake Malawi is the 9th largest lake in the world and the third largest in Africa? It is also the second deepest lake in Africa and is filled with fresh clear water that runs through the East African Rift system, stretching more than 482km. It is hard to believe that Lake Malawi takes up more than a third of the country in water with a total surface area of about 30000km2!

How cool is it that this lake is famous for its white beaches, and its scuba diving and snorkelling and other water sports – so you may as well be on an island. Find luxury accommodation on the shores where you can settle in and spend every day in clear waters swimming, viewing incredible birds and the more than 1 000 Cichlid fish species endemic to the lake. Dive into the gorgeous clear sapphire waters of this natural phenomenon for some of the most rewarding adventures you will ever experience.

Why not book into the magnificent Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel, once known as the Grand Beach Hotel and the epitome of all things elegant. It is a great base from which to explore the clear lake waters as it is centrally situated along Lake Malawi shores and boasts some of the best scenery around. Old colonial-style architecture with whitewashed walls and spacious airy rooms. This hotel in Salima is located within easy access to kayaking and boat tours, hiking, snorkelling, bird and lizard watching among other fun activities on nearby Namalenje and Heaven Islands.

  1. Pemba, Mozambique

Azura Quilalea snorkeling

The gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a top diving and water sports tourist destination of note in Mozambique. We love the fact that there are a few awesome hotels in the bay on the very best beaches where you can swim and enjoy Africa’s clearest waters. In fact, diving in Pemba takes the cake: Look out for the rare, huge Sunfish, large Potato bass, Napoleon wrasses, dolphins, whales and turtles in the protective bay. Once known as Porto Amelia, Pemba Bay is the third largest natural bay in the world. Go diving or grab a camera and stock up on unique memories. The sea temperature in Pemba reamisn an avareatge balmy 25 degrees all year.  We have some great Mozambique dive packages!

Pemba beaches offer incredible swimming in clear blue Indian Ocean waters. Pangane is a small pretty beach with surrounding reefs that are easy to explore by boat, and wildlife viewing! Take a boat out at sunset and come across an elephant strolling int eh dune forests!

Tourists love another fabulous beach, even rated as one of the most deserted in the word – Guludo is the dreamy beach where the dugongs graze on the sea bed and you can be at peace, just you, the coconut palms and the fine white sands. Don your snorkel, mask and fins and drift around in crystal clear waters. 

And then there is our favourite hotel in Pemba, Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort, a stunning hotel boasting clear waters in a central saltwater swimming pool! Sit here at the fantastic bar and choose one of 3 world class restaurants serving international dishes for all tastes and ages. Linked to the clear water swimming experience is Mvua African Rain Spa, because rain means life, and this is a cosy retreat that captures the beauty and magic of rain and clear waters. Relax into an enclave of African landscape imagery and aura as you savour a unique and precious pampering experience.

When you are in Pemba enjoying the ocean waters and swimming day in and day out, think about the sailing and fishing you can do in the clear waters! Fishing holidays to this Mozambique port will reward anglers with opportunities to hook kingfish, dogtooth tuna, and wahoo. Go sail in a dhow with traditional fishing folk to see how the real thing is done.

  1. Maldives

Ayada Maldives

The best part about a holiday in the Maldives is the clear turquoise water where you spend hours swimming and diving, windsurfing and kite surfing, boating and relaxing. Spend carefree days on sun-drenched beaches and soak up the tropical sunshine in this fascinating archipelago that boasts 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 isles.  In this magical place everything slows down and nothing else matters – enjoy beach picnics as you swim and gaze over the clear waters. It almost seems unreal. When you dive, you will gasp at the sea gardens under the waters – the islands are blessed with unspoiled reefs teeming with unusual aquatic species.

Stay at the 5-star Ayada Maldives Private Island Resort and snorkel with dolphins in the crystal-clear waters. Big game fishing, fly-fishing, traditional Maldivian fishing at sunset, tour in glass-bottomed boat, venture over the equator, island hopping and picnics, dolphin spotting and snorkelling.

Our top 5 best places to swim in Africa’s clearest waters prove that there are so many destinations in Africa offering swimming in idyllic situations. Beaches, oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, Africa has it all. All you need to know about the very best beaches and resorts along Africa’s beautiful coastline.

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