16 June Inhambane City Day
Borders: Sofala & Manica to the north, Gaza to the west, Indian Ocean to the south and east.
The most represented ethnic groups are the Tsua (Tsonga) and the Chope.
Population Density: 19inhabitants/sq.km
Main products: cashew, coconut and tangerines.
Traditions: The "Timbila" is both a name of a percussion instrument and the name of a dance. The instrument, the "marimba chope" is similar to xylophone, and has keys, made out of "muenje" wood. They are hollow calabashes of varying sizes under the keys, which serve as a sound box.
The second oldest city of Mozambique where the Portuguese anchored a few centuries ago.
Inhambane is also kneed for it's great variety of habitats. It's home to over 40 different butterfly species and more of 500 species of birds. The area around the Inhambane Bay in particularly with is various mud flats and the extensive mangrove swamps, is popular with bird watchers. There is a population of 250 greater flamingos, and on the outgoing tide whimbrels, turnstones and many other waders work the mud flats. The mangrove near Barra is home to egrets, purple-banded sunbirds and mangrove kingfishers. The stretches of dune forest that remain along the coast harbour the lilac-breasted roller, Burchell's coucal and grey and olive sunbirds. The Bazaruto Archipelago offers a most rewarding birding experience, like the ospreys, fish eagles, olive bee-eaters, marina Trojans, flamingos and numerous seabirds and waders are a common sight. An immense variety of both hard and soft corals flourish in these waters, providing a diverse and productive ecosystem which gives protection and sustenance to thousand of marine species, which includes many brightly-coloured tropical fish, sea horses, triggerfish, wrass, many species of game fish like the king mackerel, various species of kingfish, marlin, dorado, wahoo, bonito and yellowfin tuna, sharks and rays, including the gigantic manta ray, while large numbers of dolphins and whale sharks are also found in these waters, particularly in summer months. Green turtles are the most common ones, with leatherbacks and hawksbill turtles being spotted on occasion. Dugongs are still seeing in the vicinity of Linga Linga, Pomene and the surrounding of Bazaruto Archipelago.
Quissico or mostly known as Zavala, another beautiful place with a small town which makes it so extraordinary, with a few small restaurants and basic accommodation, where you can have a break and enjoy the view of the amazing lagoons. Most of the buses do stop for lunch there. You can also stay in town for a night break at the Pousada de Zavala, very basic with affordable prices. There are a few places nearby that you shouldn't miss for anything. The beach is just 11 Kms of dirt road right after leaving town, going north, that goes right between the too biggest lagoons. The beach is absolutely amazing; it will make you feel like you are in paradise. You must take everything with you, to these places, since there is nothing there. There is a kind of a campsite there now and you can get there by tractor or 4x4 for a small amount of money.
Zavala is also the hometown for the Chope People, great Timbilas Musicians.
The Sunday Timbilas Festival happens almost every Sunday afternoon, directed and organised by one of the most famous player's, Mr.Venancio, and includes between 18 and 23 musicians, and sometimes 50 dancers and singers. You must try to go there and feel the great power of the people on the ground. He also teaches Timbila playing and makes beautiful instruments all out of local materials, including sneeze wood, mafureira, gourds and beeswax. For a small amount of money that you must discuss beforehand, he and his sons, who all play also, will welcome you at their home and introduce you to one of the most exciting and complete music in Africa. This music is one of the oldest known music in Africa, at least five centuries. Timbila is a traditional musical instrumental of the Chope people. Ask for directions at the Pousada, if you get out at Quissico Village. The only buses that will drop you at the door are the normal ones, but you must ask the driver. If are driving, then 27 Kms after Zavala, start looking out for the yellow "Chopi Music Centre" sign. His house, painted in white is about 100m on the right side of the main road.
Between August and October, depending on the weather, the Festival Of Timbilas occurs, in which all the orchestras from the area get together, about 10 different groups, in Quissico Village. During the Festival that normally lasts about 2 days, this city gets so crazy and it's very difficult to find accommodation, so in case you do want to enjoy be prepared to camp. For the exact dates, please ask us.
One hundred and ninety six kms from Xai-Xai is the turn off to PRAIA DE ZÁVORA. The half hour drive can be difficult without a 4x4. Deep-sea fishing specialist, they have Bar&Restaurant. At the beautiful beach, a self-catering bungalow for 4 people costs 350Rds, camping is possible at 40Rds per person. Meals are organised on request and served under the shade of the coconut-fringed bar. There is excellent sheltered snorkelling and good fishing all year round.
In Lindela Village, where there is a police stop, at the fork before Maxixe you must turn right to go to INHAMBANE, for another 30Kms.
On the road to Inhambane you will see signs for Island Rock, Paindane, Jangamo Beach.
Praia da Rocha or Island Rock is still very untouched with largely unexplored reefs to scuba dive, whale sharks to swim with or just visit the undersea caves. There are few facilities, and you will need a 4x4 to go their thru and winding road through an indigenous coastal forest full of cycads.
Paindane, with is 24 km of sand road to this magnificent beach, with some of the best inshore snorkelling and scuba diving in the country, that requires a 4x4. A wide variety of marine life can also be seeing there. This place gets very crowded during South African holidays.
They have camping facility. They have chalets that can accommodate 4/6 people
Jangamo Beach, also known as Guinjata beach, absolutely stunning, where the diving is very famous, which includes the world famous Manta Reef. Lodges and camping facilities.
If taking the Inhambane fork, the turn off to Baia dos Cocos or Coconut Bay, is opposite the fish factory, situated on the outskirts of Inhambane. The ideal place for the ones that want to stay away from the crowed resorts, and love the water sports where you can do at this beach with is high dunes lined with coconut trees, has great indigenous plants species. Camping is possible, but few facilities are available.
You can also get to these places by walking south down the beach from Tofo. It's an incredible walk.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, is still on his development stage, and is giving some hope for the future. It's a project of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa governments, that incorporates a 70.000 km2 of Mozambique land, including the Zinave National Park, the Kruger Park (20.000 Km2) and 7.000 km2 of Zimbabwe land that will create one of the biggest conservation areas in the world. At the moment there is no facilities there, but you can go thru there into Kruger Park, with a 4x4. Take the road to Panda, just outside Inharrime Village. You will have to take almost everything with you.
Inhambane, also know has The Land of Good People, is one of the oldest cities in Moçambique, 1534, one of the oldest settlements in Southern Africa with its different Arabic and Portuguese influences. The architecture is really something to see, like the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Conception, with a fine clock tower, that was built more then 200 years ago. Next to the Post Office, you will find and unmarked building where the slaves are kept until they were sold during the slavery era. The Mosque, with is ornate old walls, built in 1840, is situated on the beach front, on Marginal Ave, is another place to visit and you could ask to see the 380 year old Koran that is housed there. Other place to be visited is the Museum, on Vigilância Ave, where they have lots of artefacts, like musical instruments, agricultural utensils used on the rural areas, and lots of nice photos from the colonial times.
There is a Backpacker in town, Pensão Pachiça, on 3 Fevereiro Str and try they pizzas. They also have dorms. Other options for accommodation in this lively city, besides the Hotel Inhambane, a bit over priced, is Clube Ferroviario, on Samora Machel Ave, a bit cheaper, where you can find rooms, the only problem is they are full most of the time. This town has a extraordinary nightlife with some clubs and discos like Jamu, Zoom, (only open on weekends) and Gaia are some of the late local places, where you can go to play some pool or to enjoy the disco on the weekends. Another interesting place to go is the cultural house, "Xipheto", where you will find the local artists and the intellectuals for great conversation about the city. They also serve meals. There is some good and cheap restaurants like Ponta Final, next to the Expresso bus stop, Tic Tic just in front of the Bakery, the best and nicest bread in town, and Maçaroca really good seafood but not very cheap.
Everybody goes to TOFO, TOFINHO or PONTA BARRA.
There is public transport, which you can get at the Bus stop near the Central Market.
You will find different accommodation and camping possibilities at the beach.
Diving Courses also available there for reasonable prices.
BUSES (no extra charge for your luggage)
From Inhambane, they only go Southwards: next to Ponto Final Restaurant.
Oliveiras Expresso leaves every day: 06.00/11.00 (Maputo)
TSL: same time (Maputo)
We don't advice this company.
Cross the bay to Maxixe with a boat. In case you have lots of luggage, they will charge a little bit more. They operate from 05.00-22.00h.
Ask for the bus station, on the walk straight into town and you will see all the buses parking behind the Petromoc Petrol Station. You can get a bus from 07.00h until about 16.00h. The early morning buses are always better to take, since they are normally the express ones, so in better conditions.
From Tofo, take the early Chapa (local), around 05.00h in the morning into town, that leaves from the market, our just overnight at Pachiça Pensão in town.
There is Chapas running all day until about 18.00h going to Inhambane. To Tofo from town, they run until about 17.00h.
Hospital Provincial de Inhambane on Eduardo Mondlane Ave right at the entrance of the city after the markets. Emergency phone: 197
Police, on Vigilância Str, behind Tic Tic Bar.
Post Office on Samora Machel Ave Opens 07.00h - 21.00h
BCM on Acordos de Lusaka Ave
Austral Bank on Independência Ave, only place to cash Master Card. You will have to go inside the bank.
BIM on Acordos de Lusaka Ave, the only place with an ATM machine at any time of the day.
Internet (Escola de Informática), very fast, on Eduardo Mondlane Ave.
Imigration Office, only in Maxixe. They normally take 2 to 5 days to have your visa passport back. You should have a photocopy of your passport and visa stamped by the Notario. Notario is on the road that goes by the Catedral, behind the Governor Office. Do not over pass you visa time. They fine per day of over stay.
Dino's Bar right on the beach front, the best bar in the beach town. Opened till late. Close on Wednesday.**
Concha Restaurant or Aidinha's, on the beachfront. Nice Bar&Restaurant. **
Fatima's Nest - run by Fatima's, in between the sea and the lagoon, on top of the sand dunes, just 10 minutes walking from the bus stop at the market. Bar & Restaurant, pool table, tennis and other games. Kitchen facilities, and a bonfire every night. The surf is just about 15 minutes walking at Tofinho. Snorkelling is right in front of the Bar. Special rates for the ones doing the dive course.
Bungalows overlooking the sea, dorms, that sleeps 3 to 4 people, fixed tent, for 2 people and camping.
Surf Boards, Body Boards and Snorkelling equipment for renting.
The Restaurante Ferroviario has got good food, but disgusting atmosphere. **
Hotel Marinhos has good food and very good service. **
Tofo on Line, Internet Café.
DIVERSITY SCUBA, run by Garry& Jo. Look out for the signs at Tofo Beach.
TOFO SCUBA DIVING, run by John and Nick.
Special prices for big groups.
All diving company's are very professional and will make sure that you are having a great time. They all charge same prices, besides the ones for big groups.
In Tofinho you can also stay at Blue Roof Backpackers, the right place for made surfers.
No kitchen facilities.
Other things to do in Tofo, you could go for a walk towards Tofinho Beach, know has Surfers Paradise, where a shallow reef ledge skirts the sandstone headland and at low tide advanced surfers who can handle the steep take-off have the chance of getting a ride of a lifetime. On the way there enjoy the small pools on low tide, where all the fishermen's waiting for they lucky moment, the woman's catching oysters gives a nice feeling of the place. The Monument of the Fallen Heroes, few yards away, where the political police during colonial times use to throw the locals into a sea cave to be drowned by the rising tide, that didn't agree with the system. A very small triangular monument on a hill just inland still holds some human bones recovered from this cave. A spectacular blowhole near the tip of the point can give a raw display of power when here is a large swell running.
Go for a walk to the Light House, or even Barra. You can always take a Chapa (local bus) on the way back.
To not visit Inhambane City is unforgivable. This city has a different mystic that you can only feel when wondering around the streets. Go and try to discover new sites, discover the old monument's from the Portuguese time, throw away behind some building…have a look at the Mosque, and do not miss the central market where one can browse for curious, like the colourful capulanas, the woven grass mats and bags as well as wood carvings and fresh cashew nuts, fresh fruit, vegetables and various seafood. All the official buildings are at least a century old, like the Governor Building, City Council Building, Marine Building, Hospital, the Meteorology, and others. Always ask permission to take photos, since sometimes the security police on duty, do not allow you. Has usual, when buying something you most barge until you think the price is right. Most of the Indians shops have leaves hanging at the door, is to call the clients and that they are coming in to cause trouble. If it happen to be in town of trading hours, don't worry, just knock at the door, and someone will come to help you with your order. Siesta is very important, but like they said, be friendly and welcome visitors is even more important.
From Inhambane, you can also get a dhow or a speedboat to take you to LINGA LINGA point, where it use to be an old station whaling, on the continent in the other side of Inhambane, where people say that the dugongs still come for a visit. A place to stay is Lucio's, a nice backpacker, with traditional facilities with good prices. They do have they own transport that run's every Tuesday and Friday's late morning, leaving somewhere in between the Harbour and Pachiça Backpacker. Take water and some basics with you.
BARRA has got amazing scenery, exquisite diving, snorkelling, or even take long walks through the mangroves to see the bird life diversity, canoeing, horse ride, micro light flights, sunset cruises, or just sit and wait for the turtles.
There are a few places to stay, like the Light House Campsite, Barra Lodge, Barra Reef or White Sands.
They are not exactly a backpackers place, especially during the South African holidays; you might find those a bit too expensive and not really friendly. Most of the Lodges during the S.A. holidays get very crowded and don't really welcome backpackers.
Post Office, Immigration Office, Hospital and Police Station on the road behind the Hotel Dom Carlos.
Heading north, you'll find the turn off to Morrungulo, just 7km past the town of Massinga. At this time, the 13km road to Nelson Camp and Dive Centre is possible without a 4x4. There is local transport almost all the way to the Lodge. An amazing view as you get there with all the coconut trees. Also a famous spot for the fishermen's and scuba fundis, special because of Sylvia's reef.
Full self-catering chalets for 4, no bed linen, and camping. Really good reports on diving and snorkelling.
Pomene, just 12 kms after Massinga, thru the dusty little village of Rio das Pedras, where you will need a 4x4, for the next 55 kms, you will be ample rewarded at the arriving with the scenic beauty of this beach located within a marine reserve and a mangrove estuary. Pomene's Zambia and Africa reefs are two of the best dive sites well recommend by the experts in Mozambique coast. Another paradise for the Surfers with a long sandbar extends from the rocks down to the mangrove. Be aware of the sharks, a real threat to not be taken easily.
VILANKULO, one of the most famous stops by for tourism, in specially the backpackers for its vicinity with the Bazaruto Archipelago, has all the essential amenities. Vilankulos, a small town, still considered a village, has a few markets, some restaurants, an international airport, and a great old hotel, the Dona Ana, where you can still see the sumptuous of old times. There are as well, in case of need, Immigration officers, hospital. For other information you can always go to Paraiso Services, contact Maggie. Some good restaurants are the Ultima Hora, with a nice choice of food, Bar Ti Zé, esplanade, simple meals but worth a visit. Café Edson, only place with real expresso coffee. Na Sombra, a restaurant that also offers basic accommodation.
There is an Immigration Office, a bit expensive to extend your visa, Post Office, Hospital and a Police Station before the T-junction.
Supermarket SEA next to Municipal Market.
There is only a Bank Austral and BCM Bank in town, and normally are the ones with the best rate to exchange cash money.
In case you have a mechanical or electrical problem with your car just ask at the Restaurants and Lodges.
You can also phone internationally and locally from there now.
Other places to stay in town:
Baobab Tree Backpacker, nice set up, with bungalows with double beds and mosquito nets, dorms and camping. They have started overland trips to the interior of Mozambique, Transfrontier Park and Kruger Park.
Zombie Cucumber Backpacker, on the road behind Tropical, just open for New Year 2002 a very cool place to relax, they have dorms and doubles, with mosquito nets, very good info, Bar&Restaurant, but no camping facilities
Vilankulo Campsite offers good facilities, tent for renting and bungalows and camping. *
Casa Josefa with thatched bungalows, camping. Running water. *
QuiosqueTropical rooms for 2 or more. Basic conditions.
Vilankulos Beach Lodge a luxury place. Offers diving, fishing and water sports, bar and restaurant. ***
Aguia Negra on the beach. Offers diving, fishing and water sports. Bar&Restaurant. Satellite TV.**
Be aware of thieves, as they are very quick, so keep an eye on your belongings. A suggestion is to not take anything with you to the beach.
Besides chilling out on the beach, you can go for amazing walks exploring the place. One hour walking southwards, you will get to the Baobab Bay with is mangrove, a place with lots of mystic. Locals say that their ancestors live there. Towards north reveals red cliffs and lagoons. You can also hire a bicycle near the central market which a fantastic way of wandering around this bustling town. Every first Sunday of each month there is a craft and plant market at the campsite along the beachfront. Or just take a dhow, an option is "Dhow Island Trips" run by Rodrigues, which are motorised dhows; you can find him opposite the Restaurant Tropical. He does trips to Magaruque Reef where the snorkelling is amazing, the to Benguerra Island and back to Vilankulo. He also does the trip to Gabriel Camp. Sail Away Dhow Safaris is a very good option and a great experience to see all the Islands. They have Overnight Safaris that includes everything, besides the beers. Day trips that leaves at 9am and back at 5.30pm, which includes the transport, park fees and snorkelling equipment. There are not many options on the islands for camping, besides Benguerua Island, at Gabriel Campsite, affordable and friendly. They also organize tours to the lagoons, to see the crocodile farm and diving. They have camping and huts.They also have a Bar&Restaurant with nice cool beer.
Santa Carolina, Bazaruto, Benguerua and Magaruque composes the Islands known as the BAZARUTO ARCHIPELAGO. All of them have an airstrip, so they are also accessible by plane. Big hotels are already there. Besides Marlin Lodge, the others don't welcome backpackers, and normally they charge an entrance fee to their premises. Red duiker, bushbuck, samango monkeys, fresh water crocodiles, are some of the inhabitants of the two big islands, besides a large number of species of birds. Fishing or snorkelling amongst the marine creatures that lives in the colourful coral reefs and in the warm blue waters those have made this island so famous and special are some of the water sports. But you can get lots of others. You mention and you must probably can get it. The Islands are a marine reserve, so there is a fee to be paid, do it in Meticais, and it's cheaper.
From Vilankulo you can go straight to Zimbabwe or Malawi, regular transport is available with Oliveiras or TSL buses. They normally leave very early, from the Municipal Market and from the bus station, so make sure you are there in time.
INHASSORO, the closest town to the islands of Santa Carolina and Bazaruto, where you can find transport by dhow our ski-boats, has ideal conditions for boat launching and a paradise for fishermen's because of the excellent game fishing in the channel between the mainland and the islands. It's a nice cosy place with is lovely beaches. Places worth to be seeing is the old hotel from the colonial time. There is a Hospital, a market and a few small shops. Petrol can only be found at the junction with the main road, and no banking facilities.
Only the Oliveiras Buses goes there, and only the normal ones.
Hotel Seta. **
The camping is good.
Complexo Salema Mufundisse Chibique, good food. Near the Bus Stop.*
Hotel Inhassoro, very basic with a Bar&Restaurant. *
You can also get to the Islands from here.
Lodges in Bazaruto Island: ***
Sabal Bay Lodge, diving and eco-tours available. Environment sensitive resort.
Bazaruto Lodge, dive centre and boat charters.
Benguerra Island: ***
Marlin Lodge, scuba diving, big game fishing.
Benguela Lodge, set in natural forest.
Magaruque Lodge, all kinds of water sports.
About 100Kms from Inhassouro, in the mouth of the Save river is Nova Mambone, with no facilities for tourism, and only local transport, has some of the most beautiful unexploited beaches, and the mangroves are one of the last natural prawn breeding grounds in the world. The channels at the mouth of the Save river, invites you to go on some exploration adventure by kayak or canoe. The unspoilt point of Ponta Macovane peninsula, another unexploited site has excellent fishing, but one can only go there by boat, or a very good 4x4, since the access by road is very, very bad.