South Africa

South Africa isn't just about great game reserves and safaris; set amidst this stunning natural landscape are also some of the finest beaches in the world. Whilst it might not be on every beach lover's bucket list South Africa shouldn't be overlooked with its turquoise waters and pristine white sands; it's a beach destination that doesn't always receive the praise it deserves.

Boasting 3,000km of coastline lined with thousands of beaches from the famous Wild Coast in the east to the sun-drenched bays in the west, summer holidays in South Africa can be about both exploration and relaxation. And what's more is that many of these pristine beaches are also backed by breath-taking coastal hikes.

If it's long, unspoilt sandy beaches you're in search of then look no further than the West Coast. The Cape Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and the nation's capital, Cape Town, forms part of this. Here you will find many great beaches including the popular stretch of sands at Clifton Beach. There is also the exclusive Camps Bay Beach which is backed by views of the Lion's Head mountain and Twelve Apostles. For something a little different there is Boulders Beach, home to a colony of penguins and at Grotto Beach there is some of the best whale watching to be had anywhere. Also along this coast is the Western Cape known as the Garden Route where you'll find popular Plettenberg Bay with great beaches in Robberg and Lookout backed by spectacular mountain views.

Durban is the main city on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline with South Beach and Durban's Golden Mile being the places to be along the golden sandy shores. Margate sits on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal and is a great family beach with its golden sands, palm trees and rock pools.

On South Africa's Eastern Cape you'll find a wide range of different beaches; from family friendly sands around port Elizabeth to the dramatic shore of the Wild Coast. Hobie Beach in Algo Bay has calm, clear and warm waters that make it the beach for watersports, while fascinating shipwrecks and rich coral reefs sit beneath the surface. This coast is also home to Jeffreys Bay, which during June and August produces some of the best surf on the planet.

In this region you'll also find the Wild Coast. Here are stunning secluded beaches that are backed by milkwood trees. Perhaps the most popular is here Mdumbe Beach near to Coffee Bay and is an unspoilt gem, often quiet and empty except for surfers on the beach.