Inhambane and Tofo
The sleepy town of Inhambane was once a key trading centre in southern Mozambique. But the days are long gone since Portuguese galleons plied these shores for ivory and slaves. A neat, attractive town it’s now best known for its handful of good restaurants, Art Deco cinema and 19th century Catholic church. Most visitors stop only briefly, however, on their way to the popular beach resort of Tofo to the east. Tofo Beach, and the adjacent cluster of cottages at Tofinho, attracts a steady stream of sun and sea devotees. This chilled dive and surf hotspot is a firm favourite with backpackers, but there are also some stunning upmarket guesthouses and lodges, spread up and down along the coast.
Credit: Sava Dunes
Tofo’s beaches and nearby resorts are some of the most popular in Mozambique. There’s plenty of space so it rarely feels crowded – just Christmas and Easter can get full. There are chilled bars and beach restaurants, and excellent seafood, especially the fresh prawns. And for surfers, the Indian Ocean swell throws up a couple of solid point breaks, one off the main beach and one around the corner in Tofinho. The main attraction, however, is undoubtedly the diving, and the off-shore snorkelling trips where you’ll swim with huge whale sharks and manta rays. Tofo is considered one of the best places in the world to see these giants – especially the mantas which can have wingspans over seven metres wide!
Diving with manta rays is possible all year, but as the reef they frequent is around 24 metres deep you’ll need an advanced dive qualification to see them. Whale sharks are most common from November to April, and for them boat-based snorkelling trips are best. There’s a bustling little market just off the main beach, selling fresh fish, groceries and drinks. There’s also an excellent selection of local crafts, paintings and souvenirs, though you’ll find the prices in Inhambane slightly cheaper. There is no bank in Tofo, and no way to draw cash, so bring enough with you as few places accept cards.