• inhambane • mozambique • manta reef • community projects • wildlife •
city of Inhambane and the surrounding beach destinations offer
visitors a variety of opportunities to fully experience and enjoy
this tropical paradise. From the unique history and culture of the
city itself to the pristine beaches and reefs that are the main
attractions for tourists visiting the area, Inhambane is an
incredible holiday destination. Recent improvements in
infrastructure and easier accessibility to the region have seen
Inhambane grow in popularity not only as a holiday destination for
visitors from neighboring countries but also as a known
international destination for scuba divers and adventure travelers
from all over the world.
being one of the largest driving forces behind the local economy and
with jobs in the tourism sector providing employment for thousands
of people, there is a renewed focus on encouraging environmentally
friendly and sustainable tourism and many cooperative efforts are
underway involving both the public and private sectors.
The city of
lnhambane has a rich and colourful history, having served as a
strategic trading port for gold, ivory and slaves over the
centuries. From Arab traders who began arriving as early as the 9th
century to trade with Tonga chieftaincies along the bay, to the
arrival of European traders and explorers from the beginning of the
16th century, Inhambane became a mosaic of the various cultures,
religions and societies that brought their different influences to
was the furthest point south along the coast of east Africa that
Arab traders ventured, and the region, identified as the Sofala
coast by Arab cartographers in the 10th century, has retained many
of the Muslim influences from this period. These can be seen to this
day in the use of traditional Arab & style dhows which are still the
main from of transportation for the local population living along
European contact came in 1498, in the form of the famous Portuguese
explorer Vasco da Gama, whose experiences with the local Tonga tribe
led him to describe the region as the "terra de boa gente" in
Portuguese, or the "land of the good people". It was also from this
first encounter that Inhambane took its name, when these first
Europeans were told in Bitonga to "Come in out of the rain" (Bela
khu Nyumbani) and so Inhambane was named.
first Jesuit mission to east Africa was established in Inhambane in
1539, it only lasted for sixteen years and sporadic contact with
various European nations continued for the next 200 years. Ships
from the England, France, the Netherlands and Portugal continued to
trade in the area and it was eventually the Portuguese who
established a permanent settlement in Inhambane in 1728, with the
construction of the first permanent fort completed in 1729.
permanent settlement of Inhambane, the Portuguese also introduced a
merchant class to help handle trade in the region and this merchant
class consisted of Indians who remain an integral part of Inhambane
to this day
Province offers world class diving all year round with sites and
locations suitable for all experience levels, from novice to the
technical diver. Inhambane is recognized as the only place in the
world to have permanent Whale Shark and Manta Ray populations and
boasts the largest recorded numbers of these species. Various
species of sharks, including Bull, Dusky and Spinner sharks are also
common in the region. The Smalleyed Stingray, the largest species of
stingray, has been positively identified in the waters of Inhambane,
and currently this is the only place in the world they have been
seen on scuba. Add to this such creatures as the Bow Mouth Guitar
Shark, Leopard Shark, Large Groupers, Moray Eels, Mobula, Marlin, 5
species of turtle, schooling game fish and great macro including
Harlequin Shrimp and Sea Moths just to name a few.
Dive sites vary
enormously in Inhambane, from the wreck of the Dutch Liner, the
Klipfontein, in 55m of water, and deeper exiting reef dives, to
9-15m reefs packed with colourfull marine life.
and October, Humpback Whales can be seen migrating North for
breeding and calving before returning South again. As well as
spectacular to see from the boat, the lucky will get a chance to see
them on scuba.
With so much on
offer, make sure you check out what is available in the whole
Land of the Good People, is a city located in
Mozambique, lying on Inhambane Bay, 470 km northeast of
Maputo. It is the capital of the
Inhambane Province and according to the 2007 census has
a population of 63,837, growing from the 1997 census of
54,157. It is a sleepy historic town known for its rusting
colonial architecture and has been popular with tourists in
recent years. The settlement owes its existence to a deep
inlet into which the small river the Matamba flows.
Two protective sandy headlands protect the harbor and form a
sandbank. The town of
Maxixe is located across the bay.
Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on
the East Coast of Mozambique.
Dhows traded at the place as early as the 11th century.
Persian traders were the first outsiders to arrive to
the area by sea and traded
ambergris and also traded at
Chibuene in the south. The area became well known for
cotton spinning and production by the Tonga tribe.
Sometime before the
Portuguese came to this town, the Karanga had invaded
Inhambane and formed a number of local chieftains which
dominated over the Tonga cotton workers and the rewards of
trading with the Muslims went to them.
Vasco da Gama rounded Africa in the late 15th century he
pulled into Inhambane to replenish stocks and to explore. He
took an immediate liking to Imhambane and named it Terra de
Boa Gente or 'Land of the Good People'. In 1505, a ship sent
Francisco de Almeida was shipwrecked south of the town,
but the Portuguese gained an initial meeting with the
Karanga chiefs. Later, their sons landed on
Mozambique Island to survey the situation. The
Portuguese eventually established a permanent trading post
at settlement in 1534. Inhambane was then chosen as the
Jesuit mission to East Africa in 1560.
The port gradually grew as a
slave trading centre particularly in the eighteenth
century under mostly
Indian control. It was destroyed in 1834 by
Soshangane, but grew rapidly in the second half of the
century as a town of
Portuguese East Africa, from which period its old
cathedral and old
mosque date. However in the 20th century the status of
the town declined and the economic situation worsened as
Maputo (called Lourenšo Marques before 1975) became the
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
museum and a
market and is known for its nearby
beaches of Tofo and Barra. The central market located
along the main boulevard called simply "Mercado Central"
offers numerous foods, ranging from a colorful array of
cashew nuts. 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.
Barra beach (Ponto do Barra)
Notable sites in the surrounding district
of Inhambane include the Praia do
Tofo, Praia dos Cocos, Ponto do Barra, Ilha de Benquerra,
Scuba diving in Inhambane is particularly popular in
locations such as Manta Reef and Gallaria. Giant
Turtles and other marine life are regularly seen and
there are many professional scuba diving operations
throughout the province. Many tourists are under the
impression that they can dive from Inhambane itself.
The closest diving to Inhambane is
actually at Praia do
Tofo - 22km from Inhambane City.
Tofo is known as the
whale shark mecca of the world.