Shaded spots go early at Cape Town's crowded Camps Bay, where locals picnic and play in the strong Atlantic waves. Look for the flagged bathing areas for safer swims for all the family. Festive cafes sit adjacent to the sands, which are dramatically set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountains.
Beginner surfers flock to the wide swath of sun-kissed sands known as the Golden Mile, where the Indian Ocean washes against South Africa's eastern shores and the country's third-largest city. The Golden Mile stretches 3.5 miles and encompasses North Beach, the Bay of Plenty, Dairy Beach and Snake Park.
Couples and families stroll the undeveloped sands of Essaouira, skirting soccer players and kite surfers. The strong northeastern winds that sweep the palm-fringed playground make it an ideal beach for wind surfing. Most popular beach spots include Cape Sim, Sidi Kaouki and Mouley Bouzertoune.
This Indian Ocean group of 100+ islands is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, including the popular white powder of Beau Vallon on Mahe and Anse Lazio on Praslin. The stunning pink sands and boulders of Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue lead many to call it the most gorgeous beach on earth.