Surfers are forever traveling the globe in search of the best waves. There are dozens of beaches around Africa that can set you up for the perfect barrel or an intense point break that builds up a rush of adrenaline. North, South, East, and West African countries all have beaches worth visiting for surfers forever on the lookout for the next big challenge.
This article first appeared Nov. 5, 2013.
The Southern Moroccan village of Taghazout landed on the map in the 1960s, when hippies traveled there to set up beach communes. It stayed relevant for its incredible wave breaks. Named Killer Point after the many killer whales in the area, it has fantastic right-hands that surfers dream of, as well as several other nearby spots if you feel like exploring the area a bit. Anchor Point, known for its consistent waves and clean lines, and Boilers, one of the most challenging breaks in the region, are both accessible from Taghazout, and worth the trip.
For the surfers that prefer long and fast barrels, look no further than Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa, one of the premier surf spots in the world. Supertubes is known for the most challenging waves that offer the greatest reward. Rides can be up to 300-meters long as surfers cruise through some of the most perfectly formed tubes in existence. “J-Bay” is also well-known for its breathtaking beauty in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, just southwest of Port Elizabeth.
The Almadies portion of the Cap-Vert Peninsula has the advantage of being the westernmost point of Africa, allowing 260 degrees of waves around the area. It’s got one of the best swell windows in the world as waves flow in from the north, west, and south, offering a wide variety for varying levels of surfers. It has well-placed reefs that allow for perfect point breaks, and surfers continue to flock here year after year to experience them.
While Almadies has a variety of frequent swells, Senegal’s most famous wave can be found on N’gor Island, just 500 meters off the coast of Dakar. “N’Gor Right” has been featured in movies and remains one of the most classical surfing spots in the world. The area itself is charming, not too crowded and is known as an affordable but solid option for surfers.
For its well-known consistency, surfers flock to Long Beach in South Africa, about a 40-minute drive from Cape Town. While waves are more medium-sized than monstrous, it’s a great place for those looking for well-formed waves. Beginners that don’t feel like risking life and limb can take to the water. Waves break to the left and right, and the best swells are found during the summer when the southeaster blows through.
Robertsport, though little known, has become one of the best surf spots in Western Africa with world-class waves and unspoiled beaches. Swells from the south wrap around the coastline and create enormous waves up to 20 feet high, allowing surfers to ride 200 yards at a time on the peeling swells. There are five points on the Robertsport coast, but the best have to be Cassava Point and Cotton Trees. Though they’re a bit farther from town, they’re worth the trek once you get out there.
Along with Long Beach, Durban is home to some of the most consistent waves in South Africa. Its regular swells and good wind conditions throughout most seasons create consistently good swells for surfers. It also doesn’t hurt that the waters of the Indian Ocean are warmer than other areas of the continent, making your ride a bit more pleasant. New Pier offers a right and left break for the more experienced, while beginners and intermediates might want to look at other places in the area, such as Cave Rock, Dairy Beach, Vetchies Reef, and dozens of others.
With its world-famous right hand reef break, Tofingo Point is considered the best surf spot in Mozambique, as well as having some of the most beautiful reefs around. With swells suitable for beginners and advanced surfers, the warm waters and consistent waves make Tofinho a great spot to hit. The best time to visit is winter – June, July, and August – as the winds are more favorable during those times.
There’s a reason South Africa appears so often on this list, and part of it’s due to the wide variety of waves it offers. While beginners and intermediates might appreciate the consistency at Long Beach or Durban, the more adventurous (some might say crazy) would want to seek out Dungeons at Hout Bay, on the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa. Occurring only during winter storms, 15-to-30-foot swells break over a shallow reef only accessible by boat, and experienced surfers make a point to make it out there during prime times.
Last but not least, for those looking for a surf spot that’s off the beaten path, head to the Anakao region in Madagascar to seek out the Flameballs wave. While it’s more fickle than others, needing ideal winds from the southeast, surfers dream about the moment that it breaks perfectly and they’re able to ride the tube for more 300 meters. Early- to mid-afternoon are the best times to find it, and only experienced surfers should try out this area.