Five Best: African beach houses

For surf, sand and style these ocean-front villas are a shore thing
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The Independent Travel

Vamizi Island Lodge, Mozambique

This lodge comprises a dozen luxury beach villas set on a stretch of white sand. Each stands on stilts to minimise damage to the environment. Hand-carved screens in place of windows help keep things cool, while sleek marble showers, four-poster beds and private terraces set a decadent tone. But the real draw is the wildlife. Over a hundred species of birds, four species of turtle and giant coconut crabs inhabit the area; offshore there are more variations of coral than on the Great Barrier Reef.

Vamizi Island Lodge, Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique (00 258 272 21299; www.maluane.com). Villas for two start at US$1,120 (£622), including all meals and most drinks and some activities.

Saadani Safari Lodge, Tanzania

Set in Saadani National Park, the nine tented cottages at this luxury East African lodge offer guests an unusual combination of beach, bush and river. From elephants on the beach, to hippos, flamingos and pelicans in the river estuary, and dolphins and turtles just off the coast, the different habitats cater for most wildlife-spotters. Less energetic types can relax by the pool, stroll along the sand, snorkel off the beach or snooze in one of the alfresco beds strung along the beachfront veranda.

Saadani Safari Lodge, Saadani National Park, Tanzania (00 255 222 773 294; www. saadanilodge.com). Cottages sleep two and start at US$480 (£267), full board and including one activity per day.

La Gratitude, South Africa

When La Gratitude was built as a summer holiday house in 1917, the selling point was its proximity to a 12km stretch of pristine beach and a 180-degree view of Walker Bay. It remains the same today. Now run by the granddaughter of the original owner, the house was revamped in 2004. The arts and crafts structure remains intact, but the kitchen and bathrooms have been updated, and a pool and outdoor Jacuzzi have been added. It's a perfect family party house, which can sleep up to 10 guests and boasts a large garden and an outdoor barbecue area.

La Gratitude, 185 11th Street, Voelklip, Hermanus, South Africa (07834 531261; www.lagratitude.com). Rental starts at R3,000 (£215), including daily maid service.

Alfariji Villas, Kenya

This breezy, laid-back trio of villas is located overlooking the Indian Ocean on the south Kenyan coast.. Each sleeps between four and eight guests in seriously plush style. The villas are a popular add-on to a safari. While the original property, now called the cliff villa, has its own swimming pool, its newer neighbours, the garden and beach villas, share one. Activities include golf, scuba diving, tennis and boat trips.

Alfajiri Villas, Diani Beach, Kenya (00 254 733 630 491; www.alfajirivillas.com). The beach villa sleeps four and starts at US$500 (£278) per person, including transfers, all meals and most drinks, a personal butler service and some activities.

Villa La Diouana, Morocco

This luxurious 1940s villa is set near a 17thcentury kasbah and ruined royal summer palace – as well as a beach. Its four en suite double bedrooms (one in an adjoining cottage) mix traditional plastering and intricate woodwork with panoramic windows and contemporary styling. There is also a roof terrace and a large walled garden. The neighbouring lagoon is a good spot for sheltered swimming and the local village has a good reputation for its oysters.

Villa La Diouana near Oualidia, Morocco (07810 543 951; www.33degreeslatitude.com). The villa sleeps six and rental starts at £950 per week including breakfast, or £1,250 with the cottage, which sleeps two.

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