Inhambane

Sleepy East Africa
The whale shark ‘Mecca’
Dhow fishing boats

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Inhambane

Inhambane, Mozambique

Lying on Mozambique’s tropical east coast, Inhambane (pronounced In-yam-baan) is one of the sleepier destinations on your MSC Cruises’ South Africa cruise holiday. 

Those for whom ‘holiday’ means ‘relaxation’ will be happy sitting, drink in hand, at the harbour as they watch the local sailing boats, or dhows, glide gracefully into the port, which is home to one of East Africa’s largest dhow fleets.
Imhambane is also one of the best diving locations in the world, with regular sightings of giant whale sharks, turtles and manta rays. Bazaruto National Park, the largest sea park in Africa, is to the north, Manta Reef and Gallaria nearer by, while Tofu Beach to the east provides the closest diving, and is also known as the whale shark Mecca of the world.

One of the oldest coastal settlements in Mozambique, dhows have traded here since the eleventh century. The first European to visit was Vasco de Gama in the late fifteenth century, who took an instant liking to it, and named it Terra de Boa Gente, which means ‘land of the good people’. You’ll see why as you peruse the stalls in the local market, or mercado, munching away on cashew as you take in the colourful array of spices, vegetables and sea food.

Over the years it grew to become a major trading centre, but then declined in the twentieth century to become today’s dreamy town, where for sightseeing you can take in the museum, the mosque, or the cathedral in the old town, where a rusty ladder leads up to the spire.

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    Mozambique

    Indulging in the shade of a baobab
    Indulging in the shade of a baobab

    A holiday to Mozambique means getting to know an authentic part of Africa which also has a strong Portuguese influence.

    It is a land which can mutate in just a few kilometres, from its white sands with the coral reef of the Indian Ocean, to its plateaus and mountains which almost reach 3000 metres, or to the legendary Rift Valley, the cradle of the human race, which lies in the centre of the country.

    Here, the population is cheerful and hospitable. The territory is shared by colonial cities and villages made up of huts, baobab and mangrove forests, unspoilt archipelagos and great natural reserves. Historically belonging to the Portuguese, on a cruise to Mozambique you will be struck by the charm of its inhabited colonial towns with palaces, fortresses and churches which are a medley of African, Arab and Indian influences.

    What strikes those who arrive by sea, however, are its 3000 km of coastline, which include some of the Africa's most beautiful beaches. It is a picture of a typical tropical holiday: white sands, crystal clear waters and palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. There are also islands to explore, real gems like Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina, or Inhaca. Places where divers and snorkelers alike will find plenty to do and see. The island’s marine life will make for some interesting excursions too with dolphins, humpback whales, dugongs (sea cows) and green and loggerhead sea turtles.