Lonely Planet sums up the best short trips in a new book .
In its latest book, published this month, Lonely Planet presents the best day and weekend trips within three hours of 60 of the world's favourite cities. Here are some of the best African beaches that are a short drive from a major city:
Serekunda, the Gambia
This dusty urban centre is the gateway to a string of Atlantic beach resorts, where a suntanned mix of expats, aid workers and British tourists hit the sand and the dance floor.
1hr from Banjul by car.
Muizenberg, South Africa
Sitting pretty on the well-trodden route from Table Mountain to Cape Point, this re-generated beach town offers multicoloured Victorian bathing huts, surf breaks (Agatha Christie learnt to surf here) and ice cream.
1hr from Cape Town by car.
Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique
Join the South Africans who cross the nearby border to this tropical getaway with a long, wide and surf-pounded beach. Don't miss diving or snorkelling to see dolphins, sharks and whales.
3hr from Maputo by car.
This beach getaway is a favourite of backpackers and volunteers for its long stretch of white sand, relaxed accommodation and surf school. You can visit, while on a Ghanaian drumming and dance tour.
1hr from Accra by car.
The Portuguese must have had atmospheric weekend breaks in mind when they founded this 16th-century trading post, with its Unesco-protected old town, beaches and eerie vaulted cistern featured in Orson Welles' Othello.
1hr from Casablanca by car.
Senga Bay, Malawi
Reggae drifts down the beach and fishing nets dry on the sand in this authentic spot on Lake Malawi. There's a winning hostel and a tropical fish farm, which breeds the lake's famous cichlids.
2hr from Lilongwe by car.
Grand Popo, Benin
The birthplace of voodoo may not sound like an ideal place to decompress, but it comes with the territory in Benin, and this former slave port abutting Togo has sultry palm-fringed beach ambience nailed.
2hr from Cotonou by car.
Head up the Mediterranean coast to Africa's northernmost city, which is also Tunisia's oldest, most European city, with a picturesque old port and medina, beautiful beaches, an atmospheric corniche and great seafood restaurants.
1hr from Tunis by car.
Stone Town, Tanzania
Hop on a ferry from Dar to the "spice island" of Zanzibar, where glorious white-sand beaches surround Stone Town's warren of winding streets, markets, Swahili culture and Arab-built 17th-century fort.
2hr from Dar es Salaam by car.
Ile de Goree, Senegal
Once a slave-trading centre, Unesco-listed Goree Island is today a slow-paced escape from the Senegalese capital, where locals sell craftwork between the bougainvillea-draped colonial edifices, and kids splash in the harbour.
1hr from Dakar by car.
Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet's Three Hours From… © 2019; www.lonelyplanet.com