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Inhambane Mozambique

An intriguing history, exotic culture and splendid natural resources give Inhambane Province its unique charm.

Sunny skies and endless, palm-fringed beaches, washed by the warm, blue waters of the Indian Ocean make this place a true holidaymakers` paradise. A comprehensive range of marine-related and other activities are offered at the many resorts and lodges where a variety of accommodation is available. Coupled with the upbeat mood of the friendly people with prospects for a brighter future, its no wonder so many visitors are flocking to enjoy the magical allure of Inhambane Province.

Popular with South African, Zimbabwean and international tourists before the onset of the 17 year-long civil war, the region is now seeing a huge resurgence in the growth of tourism as visitors rediscover the white sand beaches, mangrove estuaries, wetlands and prolific bird and marine life along the coastline.

The natural vegetation of the coastal plain is dune forest, much of which has been replaced by millions of coconut palms, planted by the Portuguese and local Bitonga to supply the thriving copra trade. The balmy climate and countless palms give visitors the impression of being on an island rather than the mainland. A drive along the coastal EN1 road reveals a number of fascinating inland saline and freshwater lakes, cut off from the sea by high, forested dunes. The islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago also have some missive dunes, freshwater lakes and patches of natural forest, but it is the unspoilt coral reefs that draw people to the coastline and islands alike.

The terrestrial environment of Inhambane Province is both varied and interesting, but it is the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean that lap the 700km-long coastline of lovely, white sand beaches and the idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago that are its greatest asset. An immense variety of both hard and soft corals flourish in these warm translucent waters, providing a diverse and productive ecosystem, which gives protection and sustenance to thousands of marine species. The coral reefs here are unaffected by the bleaching that has devastated many of their Pacific counterparts but they are extremely delicate and easily damaged by physical contact. Marine life includes many brightly-coloured tropical fish, sea horses, triggerfish, wrass, many species of gamefish, sharks, and rays (including the gigantic manta ray) while large numbers of dolphins and whale sharks are also found in these waters, particularly in the summer months.

The shores of Inhambane and the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago are blessed with numerous world-class beaches. Many are palm-fringed, with wide expanses of powdery, white sand, washed by the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Featuring broad bays, sheltered lagoons, rocky headlands and wide deserted expanses they are a sunbathers` dream, created for relaxation. Some of the best-known are in close proximity to the city of Inhambane, and on the islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra and Magaruque. Take the normal precautions when sunbathing or swimming. Slow down your pace of life. Do nothing. Leave only your footprints.

The warm, clear waters and abundance of sea life that inhabit the coral reefs make this area a paradise for divers. Snorkelling and scuba diving are the best-developed activities and spearfishing is also catered for.

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