My wife and I have had the great privilege of visiting or living in 9 countries in Africa. Throughout all of our journeys we've prioritized finding a beach where possible. The reason for this is because beaches are a kind of physical manifestation of freedom and tranquility to us.

In western media the words: freedom, tranquility and serenity are often not used in the same sentence with the word Africa. All too often American media paints Africa (especially sub-Saharan Africa) as nothing but conflict and despair. That depiction is mostly incorrect.

Let's take Benin, for example…

Ouidah, Benin

No place can escape its past. Even now in the Western world crowds are pulling down and defacing monuments to its violent past. Africa's past is certainly no fairytale but the painful past of a continent or nation need not sully our ability to appreciate its beauty today.

Ouidah, Benin was the slavery gateway of central western Africa. In fact, Ouidah's beach was infamously called: The Door of No Return or La Porte du Non Retour (fr).

That's the past. What straddles this unfortunate monument now are hundreds of kilometers of some of the most pristine beaches anywhere to be found.

A fishing boat on the near perfect beach near Ouidah, Benin
Perfect sand near Ouidah, Benin.

Togo and Benin are especially renowned for perfectly white sand beaches.

But we don't have to stop at white sand…

Limbe, Cameroon

Cameroon has been called Africa in Miniature and for good reason. Packed inside of this one country is the geo- and bio-diversity of a whole hemisphere. Western Cameroon, for example, is kind of an ancient volcanic wonderland. It wasn't that long ago (2012) when Mt. Cameroon erupted and leaked a stream of lava down into the ocean between the little towns of Batoke and Bakingili.

The volcanic peaks that form Cameroon's rocky, alien backbone descend into the Bay of Guinea like an ancient dinosaur fossil.

One of the side-effects of all of this volcanic activity is: black sand. This black sand is one of the hallmarks of Limbe (Victoria), Cameroon.

Here's a sunset off the Limbe shore:

Sunset in Limbe, Cameroon
Sunset in Limbe, Cameroon.

In the photo above you can see Cameroon's backbone of ancient volcanoes quietly sinking into the restless sea.

Enough Limbe poetry. Cameroon is the home of another somewhat unique beach…

Kribi, Cameroon

As you move south along the Cameroonian shore, you eventually hit the town of Kribi.

The beach of Kribi is kind of known because it is one of the few beaches in the world where a waterfall tumbles almost directly into the ocean.

For many years Kribi was our main source of solace while we lived in Cameroon. Although Kribi is not as visually appealing as Limbe it is a pleasant place to spend some time if you find yourself in Cameroon.

a fisherman near Kribi, Cameroon
Fisherman near Kribi, Cameroon.

There are so many other breathtaking beach spots in Africa that I could show . My wife and I have volumes of photos of the Seychelles, for example. The Seychelles are arguably one of the most beautiful beach locations in the world.

There's far Western Africa. Morocco has hundred of miles of beautiful shoreline.

Need we mention South Africa? South Africa is simply one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Its beaches are also renowned. Maybe another post is in the offing! I think so.

Nan and I would have planned and pulled-off a trip to some far-flung place by now. 90 days is a very long time for us to stay put. I've steered clear of the coronavirus (so far) but I've definitely caught the wanderlust bug. That bug usually makes me dream of Africa. I guess that's what's prompted this post.

Once COVID-19 eases its grip on the world why not plan a trip to enjoy the freedom, tranquility and serenity of Africa?