Tofo and the town of Inhambane are two of Mozambique's top coastal destinations, located in the Inhambane Province. This tropical, coconut palm-growing region of southern Mozambique is known for its pretty beaches, intriguing history and rich marine life.
Tofo is one of the best beach destinations in Southern Africa, famous for the manta rays and whale sharks along its shores, amongst many other sea creatures. Tofo boasts a long stretch of sandy beach, ideal for lazing in the sun and swimming in the warm Indian Ocean.
Diving and snorkelling are the top activities at Tofo, especially for viewing the high concentrations of whale sharks and rays found in the area year round. The coastline is dotted with coral reefs where a rich array of marine animals and tropical fish can be seen in the clear, warm waters.
Scuba diving at the nearby Manta Reef offers excellent sightings of big marine species and large manta rays in particular. The area is home to one of Africa's largest whale shark populations, with numbers peaking between October and March when huge schools congregate. The local diving centres offer scuba diving trips to view the rays, whale sharks and a host of other sea life. Whale sharks, dolphins, turtles and other animals can also be viewed on snorkelling boat trips, called Ocean Safaris.
Another unforgettable highlight at Tofo is the massive, annual migration of humpback whale occurring between June and November. There are whale watching tours that take you out to sea to get a closer look at the majestic whales.
Tofo Bay is a popular surfing spot with nice waves for beginners. Surfing lessons and surfboard rentals are available at the watersports centres in the village. Tofo is also a good place for windsurfing and kitesurfing, with rental boards available too.
Dhow boat trips in the traditional sailing vessels of the Swahili Coast are another interesting option. Fishing enthusiasts can also take deep sea fishing trips to catch an array of big game species offshore.
Watersports enthusiasts can also go parasailing, jet-skiing, paddle-skiing or kayaking in the bay. Land-based alternatives include horse riding outings along the coast and on the beach at Tofo, as well as lessons. Quad biking is another activity on offer in Tofo. You can hire a quad bike or take a guided quad biking excursion to beaches and rural settlements in the area. Then there are 4×4 trails to off the beaten track beaches and hamlets, and guided cultural excursions to nearby villages.
Formed in the 10th century, Inhambane was once a major port centre on the trade route, and still hosts one of the largest fleets of traditional dhows on the East Coast of Africa. The town is characterised by a mix of divergent influences, with elements of African, Arabic, Indian and Portuguese culture, architecture and cuisine coming together.
Today the historic town of Inhambane features old Portuguese buildings, the crumbling remnants of early 15th century colonialism. The central market and taxi rank area is the hub of activity in town - great for people watching and a feel for life in Inhambane. The bustling markets sell fresh produce, fish, other local foods and a variety of interesting curios. The capital of the Inhambane Province, the town is a charming destination and convenient base for exploring the scenic region.
This compact Mozambican town is easy to explore and navigate on foot. The scattering of interesting historical and architectural sights are worth visiting, including the Old Mosque which was built in 1840. Another sightseeing highlight is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception built some 200 years ago by Portuguese settlers. The church features a clock tower offering sweeping views over the town and surrounds.
Other attractions include the Old Railway Station building, the Old Mosque, the Inhambane Museum, Hotel Inhambane and the Governor's Palace. The peaceful waterside setting and tree-lined streets of the historic town make for a pleasant visit. The Mercado Municipal (main market) is worth visiting, as is Avenida Acordos de Lusaka - a pretty street with food outlets, shops and banking facilities.
About 450 km's from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, it takes around six hours to drive to Inhambane. Inhambane is located next to an estuary with the town of Maxixe on the opposite banks, a ferry taxi ride away. Most travellers visit Inhambane en route to the nearby beach destination of Tofo or Vilankulo and the Bazaruto Archipelago to the north.
Use the Google map to explore Inhambane & Tofo.