The picturesque town of Inhambane is situated along a beautiful stretch of Mozambique coast, 480km north of Maputo. The town itself has very good access to the Inhambane International Airport, and daily flights from Johannesburg and Maputo. There are also three flights a week connecting Inhambane to Vilanculos.
To drive from Johannesburg to Inhambane it takes approximately 11 hours (watch out for public and school holidays, as there will be long delays at the border). Once you reach the town, it is a further 30 minutes to the Tofo and Bara areas.
Visitors to Inhambane will undoubtedly be travelling a little further to these resorts. Flamingo Bay Water Lodge is one of the most popular, especially for honeymooners. It is situated on the Bara Peninsula along with a number of other Mozambique Beach resorts. There is also great self-catering and lodge accommodation at Tofo and Tofina
The settlement owes its existence to a deep inlet into which the small river, the Matamba, flows. This harbor was originally valuable for trade and hence the town’s importance grew. The town of Maxixe is located across the bay and can easily be accessed by ferries and dhows.
Inhambane ranks as one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique. Dhows traded here as early as the 11th century. Muslim and Persian traders were the first outsiders to arrive in the area by sea, trading pearls and, of course, slaves.
Vasco Da Gama landed here in the late 1400’s and took an immediate liking to the area. The Portuguese eventually established a permanent trading post at this settlement in 1534. Inhambane was then chosen as the first Jesuit mission to East Africa in the mid 1500’s, who then went on to establish a number of missions, especially in Northern Mozambique. Gradually the Muslim stronghold on local religion was removed.
The port gradually grew as an ivory and slave trading centre, becoming the most important trading post for the Portuguese in Southern Mozambique. A cathedral was built in the 1800’s which still stands today. In the early 1900’s, the status of the town declined and Maputo (called Lourenco Marques before 1975) became the main center of focus for Portugal.
The 170 year old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception is located in the old quarter of the city where a rusted ladder leads to the top of the spire, offering panoramic views of the city and harbor. The city is now home to a museum and a market and is known for its nearby beaches of Tofo and Barra. Motor and dhow taxis sail from the town to Maxixe. The town of Inhambane has one of the largest working fleets of dhows on the East African coastline!
Visitors to Inhambane are always impressed with the remains of the colonial architecture and the vibrant feel to the place. Great markets with fresh prawns, cashew nuts and especially good locally grown vegetables are worth a visit. The central market located along the main boulevard called simply "Mercado Central" is a must see.
A number of Indian traders still sell quality fabrics and goods in their shops - worth stopping for. There are lovely coffee shops and restaurants worth visiting – take a few hours to explore and relax. Try finding Pep restaurant: look for a really bright minty green wall along the main street. Inside, find a funny little courtyard with a restaurant that serves some amazing gourmet burgers and boasts a fantastic atmosphere.