Africa is a huge continent where holidays 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 clearest waters:
When you go to Kenya again you should really head towards the Laikipia Plateau, between the glorious Mount Kenya to the east and the Great Rift Valley to the west. Because this is a stunningly diverse and seemingly magical environment where you will find woodlands, grasslands and fertile riverbeds. Here there is clear water flowing from the Aberdare Mountains down to the Segera River in the south. Go and 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 thanks to the commitment of its owners to the ongoing conservation of this region and its natural resources. Wild game roams the 20,000 hectares of nature reserve at Segera Retreat where you can experience really thorough, sustainable living. Segera lives by the 4 Cs – conservation, community, culture and commerce – and you will feel new hope when you leave here. Choose Villa Segera for a more romantic experience in exclusivity. The luxury and seclusion here are immeasurable and the views, breathtaking! This is exactly where you would want to spend your blissful honeymoon. Six large luxurious villas rise above a profusion of botanical life and from their raised wooden platforms you can gaze out onto the surrounding savannah. Swing beds below provide the perfect shaded midday relaxation while each villa includes in its décor original, individually selected paintings and other art from amongst Africa’s most inspiring artists.
- Kenya’s Lakes
Kenya’s lakes are brimming with clear water where amazing biodiversity exists. 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. Two of these are Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria, lying 30km apart but both scenically spectacular in their own ways.
Lake Bogoria is famous for its huge flocks of flamingos wading its shallow salty shores. It is a shallow alkaline lake boasting diverse birdlife and home to the rare Greater Kudu, buffalo, zebra and other plains game. Thankfully it was proclaimed a National Park in 1973. Look out for the incredible 200 geysers and hot springs spread out along the shoreline of Lake Bogoria!
Lake Baringo is a destination of splendid sunsets, mind-boggling bird life and a traditional fishing lifestyle of the Njemp fishermen, the same in more than 200 years. You can see where the lake came from when you look out at the huge basalt cliffs and volcanic mountains nearby and today this fresh clear water sustains incredible birds, hippos and crocodiles.
- 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!
This lake is famous for its white beaches actually, 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 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 as it is centrally situated along Lake Malawi and boasts some of the best scenery around. This incredible hotel is built in the old colonial-style architecture with white washed walls and spacious airy rooms.
A remote chain of more than 30 islands is calling you to experience the clear waters of the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Mozambique. Cruise around ‘Ilhas Quirimbas’ on a luxury yacht or traditional dhow, exploring the small, gorgeous islands and enjoying their luxury and hospitality. This is definitely the destination for the perfect Mozambique holiday where sea and sand are so untouched and the visibility unbelievable. Thanks to the Quirimbas National Park, healthy mangroves, sea grasses, sandy and rocky shores have remained important feeding areas for turtle, crab plovers and migratory birds.
Explore the clear waters of the Quirimbas when you go diving into the underwater magic of this world. Discover a veritable divers’ paradise where Bottlenose and Humpback dolphins breed. The fantastical and remote Quirimbas Archipelago is your seventh heaven. Enter the unique Quilalea Marine Sanctuary 55km north of Pemba by boat then swim, collect shells, watch whales and snorkel. Take a boat to explore the tiny and undeveloped Islands of Ibo, Quisiva and Matemo- featuring old Portuguese settlements with a rich colonial and Swahili history. There is evidence that the culture today is an ancient mix of influences from Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe.Snorkel the clear waters to your heart’s content.
One of the best and most exclusive island lodges is Azura Quilalea where snorkelling takes on new dimensions right from your private deck. Learn to dive or refresh your skills at the 5-star PADI dive facility then set off to discover many still unexplored dive sites. Fresh clear waters harbour pods of dolphins, humpback whales or nesting turtles in season – and are great for deep sea fishing.
The best part about a holiday in the Maldives is the clear turquoise water where you spend hours swimming and diving, wind surfing 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 where stunning thatched villas are perched on the lagoon and beautiful sunsets make your day. Go snorkelling with dolphins in the crystal clear waters and dine in style with ocean views. A game of tennis or badminton, water sports galore – or start yoga, Pilates or Zumba dancing before a session at the 24-hour gym. 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.
So many destinations in Africa offer clear waters in which to swim or merely to enjoy because they are so beautiful. Oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, Africa has it all. We bring you five places and hope they whet your appetite to visit this awesome region.