is a 400km stretch of the southern
coastline of Mozambique
, centred on the substantial town of Inhambane itself. The coastline is characterised by broad open beaches, backed by large partially vegetated sand dunes and broken by substantial mangrove inlets. The area is particularly renowned for its excellent diving.
However, the lodges in this area tend to be targeted primarily at South African self-drivers, sport fishermen and independent travellers, which means that they tend to be a little too simple for the majority of international guests, who are largely better served in the Bazaruto
area immediately to the north.
We divide the coast into seven sections, listed here from south to north ...
Xai Xai, pronounced 'shy-shy', is the 200km section of coastline to the north of the capital Maputo, centred on a town of the same name, capital of the Gaza Province. There is very little of interest in this section of coastline to interest the international traveller and no highly rated accommodation.
Inharrime and Zavora ... is characterised by a huge bank of partially vegetated sand dunes which are backed by a string of very substantial freshwater lagoons, whose presence means that the area is much more heavily populated and farmed than elsewhere. However the dune ridge itself and the beaches remain remarkably beautiful and untouched.Dunes de Dovela
... is a really lovely beach option, certainly our favourite in this region, but painfully difficult to combine in trips, it is a five hour road transfer from either Vilanculos or Maputo.
Jangamo and Guinjata ... is the stretch of the coastline which lies to the south of the better known Barra and Tofu area. Although there are now quite a few lodge options here, the place continues to feel quite remote, being accessible only by dirt roads for the last 40km from the main coastal highway. The coastline is characterised by a substantial ridge of partially vegetated sand dunes, although there are a few areas where palm trees reach right down to the back of the beach. The area is renowned for its diving and especially for large pelagics including manta rays, whale sharks and various species of whales. The lodges here are primarily aimed at South African self-drivers and tend to be rather too simple for international tastes.
Barra and Tofo ... are two settlements situated on the peninsular to the east of the town of Inhambane. Tofo is a reasonably pleasant if rather scruffy village at the back of a broad sandy beach, a place which has for many years served as a base for backpackers and the lodges here remain rather basic. Barra is the area which runs across the northern part of the peninsular and has a more remote feeling, more of an out and out beach location. Barra and Tofu are primarily aimed at the South African self-drive market and the lodges here tend to be rather too simple for the majority of international travellers, but we are occasionally asked to include it in trips, largely because of the high quality diving.Baia Sonambula
... is a reasonably pleasant lodge in the village of Tofo.Hotel Tofo Mar
... is a another decent option in Tofo.
Inhambane is a substantial town situated to the south of a large natural harbour, with the village of Maxixe on the north side being accessed by ferry. The town itself is pleasant enough, with some decent Portuguese architecture, including a lovely art deco cinema. There seems little reason to stay in Inhambane itself, most travellers head out to the lodges in the Barra and Tofo areas to the east or elsewhere along the beaches of this stretch of coastline.
Morrungulo is a relatively remote section of coastline comprising a single long beach, backed by palm plantations, coastal scrub, mangrove forests and small scale agriculture. However there is little in the way of decent accommodation options.
Pomene is another relatively remote section of the coastline is centred on the 200 square kilometre Pomene National Park, a coastal reserve of some significance, comprising forest, open scrubland, extensive mangrove forests and beautiful tropical beaches. However, once again, there is a real shortage of decent accommodation options, the two lodges here being largely focused on fishing.